Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2013
The ironies of this decision are multiple. I drive from O.C. on Saturday morning to U.C.L.A., the round trip consuming about 3 hours. The class itself is 3 hours. That's six hours that could be spent writing. While this is a price obviously, anyone driving in Los Angeles probably needs a minimum of one hour. The distance-time equation is warped on the streets of L.A. There are about 30 people in this class. All of us probably expend the same time, energy, and cost of this whacky commute.
The second major irony is that I am a compulsive structuralist when it comes to writing. I plot out the story several times, then further plot each step, and within each step, each scene. I need to know the purpose of the step, and how I an going to achieve it. Of course, this level of "knowing" is in outline form, and I let the creative possibilities "just happen" within the structure. But NaNoWriMo gives primary importance to "word count" -- an average of 1,667 per day to reach goal. The only way a writer can do that consistently is to sling words madly. I'm reminded of quip from Ronald Regan: a little boy opens the door to his room to discover it is packed with horse shit from floor to ceiling. "There must be a pony in there someplace," the boy says.
I am that boy, and this UCLA/NaNoWriMo is my horse shit, and I am only doing this because I want the pony. The "catch" is that I cannot find the pony without abandoning my sacred compulsions.
I'm convinced this exercise is just another tool. It has nothing to do obviously with a completed, readable novel. That result might be reached with multiple rewrites in the months that follow, but the experience is really "aversion therapy." I see this challenge as doing the very thing you most fear by immersing yourself it the conditions you have done everything to avoid.
I'm sensing that one of the important lessons I will learn from this experience is to trust myself as a writer. I am to learn that perfectionism and criticism get in the way of freedom to explore, experiment, and discover. When I begin shoveling away at the great heap in December, maybe the old sound of "nay" will become the a sweet sound of "neigh."
Posted by Employee Rights Attorney Frank Pray on 10/20/2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
He felt the energy running though his feet and legs like a raw tiger current. He wanted a woman, a fine fluid one, a woman with hips and legs that could follow his. This woman was unimportant to him except this: that she would carry the energy of his movements into and away from herself. She would be the other polarity of a charge found in the complexity of the guitar's codas.
She sat at table, a tequila and lime before her, careful to drink only the smallest sip. She wanted a man with the confidence to send a charge though her nerves and veins, the heartbeat of the tango. Her hair was moonless desert night black, pulled tight away from her face in a circular bun at the back of her neck. Her dress too was black, and also tight, working like an artist bold single stroke to trace the lithe and firm contour of low back and long legs. She looked on the dance floor like it might be a scroll on which to write legends. Her face was thin, hungry with the unsatisfied yearning of youth. His face was scared, roughened by the sun, with a large square jaw, and wide eyes women wanted to explore at casual encounters.
He knew, and when she heard the first music, and saw him extend his hand at her table, his pose relaxed but ready, she knew as well they would dance through the night. She took his hand. He bowed, and they went onto the floor, his hand just under her shoulder blade, hers along the outer edge of his other arm, standing close, they were, from the first step, one body, one mind, one heart, one expression of feeling. They were the dancers.
Her caretaker came just then, and removed the ancient picture from her hands. 'It's time for your bath,' she told Isabella. She rolled the bowed over old woman down the hall, a long rail at each side for those few who could walk. "But, Reinaldo is waiting for me," Isabella protested. "Oh dear, that poor man. We'll just have to leave back at the dance floor Isabella. If he's the kind of lover you say he is, he'll be waiting for your return."
Posted by Employee Rights Attorney Frank Pray on 8/20/2013