Something terrifying has happened. The loft where I write is full of characters. And not just the ones from the novel I am currently writing. Although they are front and center and are making a host of demands. Their biggest demand is that this is not going to be just one book but three! One of them is wanting a bigger role and another is complaining that I ‘m ignoring him and his angst. On and on it goes.
I suppose that is to be expected when you begin to write. It would be fine except… Except for all the other characters who are trying to get my attention. There is the girl with special powers (who by the way hasn’t even bothered to tell me her name). She has made it a point that I know the beginning of her story, at least four or five chapters worth, and is now telling me about a new power she thinks she has discovered.
There is the farm boy from the early 1900’s, and the little girl who insists that I tell the story of her first day of school. There is a huge ogre with a club standing over in the corner. He actually scared me at first, but so far he has been content to hang out, grunting and puffing and every so often heaving great sighs that emit a noxious grey-green vapor.
“Who keeps tugging at my sleeve while I am trying to write?”
“It is me, Mademoiselle. Vous allez écrire mon histoire,” says a young girl in a blue pinafore.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t speak French,” I say looking at her sad little face.
“And yet, you will,” is her reply.
The din is too much. I stand up, climbing first to the seat of the chair and then onto my desk. Stepping carefully, I try not to topple the piles of research papers.
“What are you doing?” someone asks.
“I am vertically challenged and I need your attention.”
As I wait for the room to get quiet, I notice there are more characters outside. They all have a look of expectation. What am I going to do with all of them? I guess it is a great problem to have, but it is overwhelming.
“Everyone, I need your help. I just cannot work like this.”
Murmurs of dissent begin to rise in the room and I know I have to do something fast.
“I promise each of you will get your turn. But, you have to let me work.”
More grumbling fills the room and I catch some of their words.
“Ain’t never gonna happen.”
“But mine is just a short story.”
The ogre in the corner is starting to look a little meaner than usual.
“Okay, okay. Here is what I’m going to do. You each will give me a brief description of your story. I will write it down and then you will promise to let me work. The sooner I can finish this story means the sooner I can come looking for one of you. If I can’t write, who are you going to get to tell your story?” Reaching down, I fish out a tablet of paper. The pile that it was in, sways and threatens to slide to the floor. I hold the tablet over my head. “Agreed?” I ask. As I climb down off the desk I hear the characters begin to consent to my terms.
One by one I quickly scribble what they want me to write. Slowly, the room begins to empty until only the little French girl remains.
“What is your story?”
“Je ne sais pas,” she says and starts to cry.
I have no idea what she just said, but she is obviously upset. Who would have the heart to ask her to leave? I know I can’t do it.
“Okay, you can stay here. But, you have to be quite and let me work. Okay?” I ask, hoping that she can understand me better than I understand her.
Wiping her eyes, she heads to the wingback chair next to the bookcase. I watch her sit, and pull the throw that was draped across the back of the chair over her. Soon she is asleep.
Now, finally, I can get back to work.
Word count for November 6, is:
1,800 words. Six day total 9,600.
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer