Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Getting Fictional: Writing as a team.

Popular. This has been popular. Popular enough that I have given it it’s own space to grow and become what it will.

This space will allow our intrepid fictionauts to travel where they will with their story.

I hope to open this space up to other writers as well who wish to write team-fiction or team satire or team-whathaveyou. Be inventive. Be creative. Be on the team. Send in your comments and, if you are intrepid and stalwart, we’ll make you part of the blog team and you will be able to post on your own.

Right now the team consists of Susan Dellert, Jason Ard, Craig Smith and me.

Read, comment, post. Want to get fictional? Join us.

Adamus

Let's Get Fictional Part Three

Seventeen minutes left in the weekend, and I have delivered as promised. Unfortunately I cannot remember my username. So, I am sending this directly to you this time.

I was driving home from Key West. That was quite a trip. The weather had been awful for days. It was raining when I left Morriston the day before yesterday. It had rained while my pick-up was loaded, and all the way to Miami, and started again before I left the keys. I love the rain.

White line fever was setting in again, and I really needed a cup of coffee.

She made the best coffee I’d ever had. I can’t stop thinking about that woman. She struck me as gentle, yet purposeful in everything she did, and intuitive, somehow. I never understood women.

I had tried to make small talk because she caught me staring. It’s a bad habit I have, staring. I had just never seen anyone like this woman before, and I haven’t since, either.

“So, you do a lot of gardening?” The answer was more complex than I had been ready to think about. Something about volunteers and saving money and corrupt grocers. I’m not sure I got it.

“How much land do ya’ll work, here?”

“Five acres is quite a large garden, what all do you have growing?” Again, the answers escape me.

I was never good at small talk either. That comes from not asking too many questions. That’s why I get along with my employer, I don’t ask. I just get the job done.

She had asked what I do for a living. The answer is always the same, “I make deliveries.”

She had let the subject drop at that. I was glad, most people don’t understand. They will continue with, “For whom?”, or “What do you deliver?” Those are always awkward moments. This is the part people don’t get, but I can’t really say, “my employer prefers to remain anonymous,” or “I don’t know.” Better to be silent than to tell a lie about what I do.

Truth is, I don’t know what I deliver, and I don’t really care. The work schedule is awful, and the people I have to deal with are often less than inviting, but the money is good. Really good. And I never say who commissions my work, nor the name of my agent. Better to never look a gift horse in the mouth.

I sure would like another cup of that coffee. I sure would like to go back to that little farm. I sure would like to see her again. But, I had no reason to even be on that county road in the first place, much less to show up at the crack of dawn again, for a cup of coffee and a good conversation. She probably doesn’t even live there, anymore.

The sign out front of that little truck stop on 326 was a welcomed sight. I pulled around back and stopped the pick-up between two rigs. It never bothered me to park where the truckers parked. I figured I had the same CDL they had, and someone else probably needed the parking spaces out front more than I did. Likely as not, I needed the exercise, too.
I stopped by the store before going into the restaurant. I needed some aspirin, and a pack of gum. I considered buying a soda, but I’d be home in an hour or so. I would rather get some sleep. I did buy a bottle of water to wash down the pain killers. Then I headed for a corner booth.

I sat in my usual spot, right by the front windows. I like watching the people come and go. Call it a past-time. Some people see me watching, most are oblivious. No one seems to care, either way.

I read the menu for the hundredth time. It hadn’t changed. Not that I would have ordered anything different than my usual. I heard the waitress coming, but I didn’t look up.

Every hair on the back of my neck stood on end as I heard an unforgettable voice from the past. “Would you like some coffee?”

Let's Get Fictional Again (Part two of our story)

Our story continues. And it moves ahead with a split narration as our heroine finds her own voice, provided by Susan Dellert, telling the story from her perspective to balance that of our hero.

Will there be a third voice? A third person limited point of view? An omniscient narrator to pick up everything our protagonists cannot see or know?

Or does our story play out in tandem?

Your choice.

And we need a title. Send suggestions please. And send them soon.

Part two by Susan Dellert


A pale pink light filtered through my eyelids as the sun entered my bedroom.

Mornings always hold such a mysterious promise of fresh beginnings mixed with the certainty of unexpected events. Taking a moment to enjoy the cozy cocoon of my sleep warmed sheets, I stretched languidly. Dressing quietly in the near dawn darkness I thought of the fields surrounding this old shotgun shack, awakening also, as the sun heated the night's dew from the crops. I made my way through the sleeping house without disturbing even the cats. The breath of spring greeted me through the open door as I walked toward the front hall. The moisture in the air beginning to cling to my skin as I pushed open the screen-door. I slipped soundlessly onto the damp grey boards of the porch, easing it to the frame silently behind me. The morning was so mild, the day so fresh, it felt odd to keep on my boots, let alone my heavy jeans. Each step off the porch and into the day took my mind as far from the house as my body, leaving the gossamer door behind.

The greenness of the Earth opened my senses and a gentle glow of peace filled my spirit. As the warmth of the soil and air passed through my bare skin I let my muscles relax. The sensation of calm glided up my legs and brought with it harmony. I sensed the Ancient Ones all around me, greeting me, as I greeted the day. Stretching as I arched back, reaching at each side for the distant oaks, I gave my face, my self, fully to the sun.

I slowed my breathing and tried to be perfectly still to hold on to the moment, but a movement at the end of my driveway flickered across my sightline. My ancestor's spirits evaporated and my thoughts shifted to the person walking up the long, tree lined path from the road.

It was too early for any of the volunteers to be arriving to work the plots, so I stepped back into the shade of the porch and awaited the arrival of today's first unplanned occurrence. As the figure approached it became clear it was a man, from the way he sauntered slowly with shoulders erect, to the firmness of his gait. I was at first, unable to make out any features of his face. He took his hands out of his jacket pockets as he came to the steps and when he looked up at me, the color of his eyes made it hard for me to focus. They danced with a golden amber as perhaps a wolf's or coyote's would. I realized he was speaking and pulled my mind from his eyes to his voice

"...and I sure would appreciate if I could borrow it," was how he finished. Not having a clue as to how he had begun his sentence, I decided to stall.

"I haven't had breakfast yet, would you like some coffee?" was the best I could do. The surprise registered on his face but was quickly replaced with a blush and a smile. Not waiting for his response, I turned and headed into the house. Holding the screen door open for him as an invitation, I faced him and looked again into those eyes and barely heard him as he spoke.

"Thank you," was all he said, as I put a finger to my lips. He silently followed me through the long center hallway toward the kitchen. The moist morning air smelled of herbs here, smelled of sunlight. I reached for a large blue kettle to make the promised coffee, filled it with water from the ceramic crock next to the counter, and, placing it on a front burner, struck the match and touched beneath the kettle, turning the knob and watching the flames grace the edge of the enameled bottom.

I worked, as I normally do, in silence, as if having him there were completely natural. As though he belonged. I made no attempt to engage him in conversation, making only occasional intense eye contact. That deep concentrated gaze said more than any words could. His eyes never left mine, his attention never left my face. Yet I felt at ease, having this unexpected visitor, who seemed not so much a stranger, watch me prepare a meal. And as he watched, silent as I, comfortable as I, the heady aroma of coffee filled the kitchen.

How strange, after so many years, to have this morning captured in crystalline perfection in my memory. Every scent, each breath, is replayed without hesitation as I recall our first encounter.

Let's get Fictional Too

About two weeks ago I started a story. After writing a few paragraphs, creating a bit of an exposition with our setting and a main character introduced, I asked you, the loyal reader to come up with ideas for how we were to continue.

To my great surprise, most of you wanted to immediately kill our just introduced character in a pique of now-for-something-completely-differentness or have her slowly tortured to death. I must agree with one of our readers: I can think of much better things to do with her in the early morning field.

And so the ideas came in as comments and emails. I must thank Connor for some off the best ideas so far. And not one of them had to do with dismemberment.

One of you, however, did much better and actually continued the story. Bravo!

Jason Ard picked up where I left off and brought to our story a new background and set of skills to inform his writing. And in a great direction it is going. I look forward to Jason writing more.

Our story starts off looking as though it is in third-person omniscient (mind-reading fly on the wall) and then it becomes clear it is in first person. Jason picked up on that and introduced our narrator to the world into what might be considered an embarrassing situation. His character is certainly one I’d not have thought of. Does he approach or doesn’t he?

That seems up to you. Let’s continue our story. Take a stab, (but not literally please) and send me a portion. Let’s make something unexpected happen. Let’s make something meaningful happen. Let’s make something fictional seem real.

You never know what we might do with it.

Read (and write) on.

She woke in the early April dawn to do as she did nearly every morning during the growing seasons: to walk outside into the air and look out over the acres, to walk lovingly, maternally, through the field to see what was sprouting, what was blooming, what was today becoming ripe.

She was a caretaker to this land, this small farm. Not far from Gainesville, this was a community garden, barely a farm, really, at five acres. She took care of the comings and goings of the volunteers, the implements, the irrigation, and kept watch always. In return she lived here, with a few others, in this small house, took what she needed from the land—and a bit extra to sell at the Saturday farmers’ market—and had her utilities and rent paid by the monthly fee charged to those with plots to garden. And each morning, overall and each row, she surveyed the land.

And like every other morning, she pulled off her covers, pulled on her dungarees and her socks, and silently padded out of the bedroom to the open front door, where she put on her workboots and opened the screen door to walk out onto the porch, carefully closing it behind her by hand so it would not slam.

Standing for a moment on the porch, she looked out ahead and to either side at the trees bordering the greened furrows. Three steps down from the wide porch placed her nearly at the foot of the field, to plant her outspread feet on the soil, stretching her arms wide, raising her palms, face, and chest to meet the rising sun, open wide to the world.

She was surprised, as she nearly always was, by the warm moistness of the barely dawn air. Recognition of such air, at this time of year, was not in her genes. Back home, in the mountains of north Georgia, she would walk outside, just as she did here, to feel the cool air shrink and pull tight her skin while the sun slowly warmed her, the air, the ground, all things. It was a curious but common juxtaposition of opposites she had grown not only accustomed to but comforted by; the quick contraction and slow expansion of her own skin, her body, and the world.

It was on just such a morning that I met her.



PART II

By Jason Ard

I had left my SUV parked near the end of the driveway, and approached quietly out of respect for the morning.

I had rifled the contents of the truck. Being my mother’s son, I had filled the truck with tools and gadgets. I did not bother to unpack any of the packages from between the seats. I knew those would contain frying pans, the inflatable kayak, the tent, and the fishing tackle. None of these would be of any particular help this morning, unless I wanted set up camp here on the side of the road.

I figured I had all the stuff I needed to avert any crisis of reasonable scale. My mother had probably invented the concept of Eagle Scout in a past life; she was always prepared. I strove to fulfill the image, but this situation would be like so many others in my past, and I was lacking the one crucial ingredient to make the only possible plan effective. Still, I consider myself a capable man, and all I needed was a little assistance, here.

I walked up the drive looking at my old, beat-up cowboy boots, and thinking of what I might say to whomever would answer the door when I knocked. Something polite would be a good start, “Good morning, I was wondering if you could help me?” Or, “Hi, I’m broke down at the end of your driveway….” Interesting how nothing really seems to fit when you’re running stuff through your head.

The smell of freshly tilled soil broke my thoughts and I looked up toward the house. There she stood, just off the porch steps, head tilted back and arms outstretched, as if she were a goddess greeting the morning sun. Was I really going to ask this beauty if I could borrow a jack?


Is he? Can he? What happens next? What would you do? Write the next part of our story and let's all find out what happens when we get fictional.

Let's Get Fictional

This came to me apiece, with eyes closed and head back, complete as it stands. It was only for me to sit and slowly type it out and then, to slowly wonder where it was to go.

I enjoy writing on assignment. I have embarked recently on the writing of screenplays and spent a portion of my last li’l ol’ movie playing script doctor. I had such fun with it I decided to stop playing with it and start actually doing it. Although, frankly, it still feels like play. That is a great thing.

And great and fervent play it has been, too. Twice a week, and often far later into the night than I might have believed it was or i would normally work, I have sat with Melissa and her script. In my blue room with coffee, milk and moonshine, space-heater humming next to my books. At Van Gogh’s CafĂ© when I should be paying attention to acting class, concurrent and even cospatial. Writing has lately been time-bending. Writing screenplays has been space-warping as well and I work in a dimension within a dimension. Talk about fun!

And so I discover the joys of helping another person’s idea come to life. But, below, is my idea. Or at least an idea delivered to me. But where to bring it next?

And so I am looking to you to judge. You tell me. What should happen next? Should anything happen at all? Should I hit the delete key or have her find treasure in her spacious back yard? What is to be done with this unexpected gift?

And maybe it’ll end up an assignment.

Oh Joy!



She woke in the early April dawn to do as she did nearly every morning during the growing seasons; to walk outside, into the air and look out over the acres, to walk lovingly, maternally, through the field to see what was sprouting, what was blooming, what was today becoming ripe.

She was a caretaker to this land, this small farm. Outside of Gainesville, a community garden, barely a farm, really, at five acres. She took care of the comings and going of the volunteers, the implements, the irrigation, and kept watch always. In return she lived here, with a few others, in this small house, took what she needed from the land, a bit extra to sell at the Saturday farmers’ market, and had her utilities and rent afforded by the monthly fee paid by those with plots to garden. And each morning, overall and each row, she surveyed the land.

And like every other morning, she pulled off her covers, pulled on her dungarees, her socks and silently padded out of the bedroom to the open front door where she put on her workboots and opened the screen door to walk out onto the porch, careful about closing it behind her by hand so it would not slam.

Standing for a moment on the porch she looked out ahead and to either side at the trees bordering the greened furrows. Three steps down from the wide porch placed her nearly at the foot of the field, to plant her outspread feet on the soil, stretching her arms wide, raising her palms, face and chest to meet the rising sun, open wide to the world.

She was surprised, as she nearly always was, by the warm moistness of the barely dawn air. Recognition of such air, at this time of year, was not in her genes. Back home, in the mountains of North Georgia, she would walk outside, just as she did here, to feel the cool air shrink and pull tight her skin at the same time the sun would slowly warm her, the air, the ground. All things. It was a curious but common juxtaposition of opposites she had grown not only accustomed to but comforted by; the quick contraction and slow expansion of her own skin, her body and the world.

It was on just such a morning I met her.