Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ah, Spring, the perfect time for a short short! (Even if it is a bit of a downer...)

Okay, I have succumbed to the stress of having too much going on. Until last week, I was running on fumes, with nary a finish line in sight. So what did I do? I got rid of one of them. Totally annihilated it:)

After a long talk with the hubby, I've decided to skip NaNoWriMo this year, for a few reasons. First, the novel idea that I'd settled on wasn't inspiring me the way a NaNo idea should. I mean, if you're going to run a marathon, you'd better be hugely excited about your motive, right? But this idea just wasn't cutting it for me. It was...okay. And that's it.

Second, I'd assumed a personal goal of 80,000 words in November as opposed to the standard 50,000. The theory there was that I'd get the entire first draft finished in November and avoid the post-NaNo slump that hindered me last year.

And third, like last year, I signed on for a prep challenge for October that was beating me down instead of gearing me up. And honestly, if I can't develop a 15 minute writing routine, how on earth could I plan to commit to 80,000 words (or even 50,000 words if I allowed myself to 'slip')?

So, I'm marking NaNo off my list of goals for this year, focussing instead on finishing my Certificate on a high note, practicing my toosh off for the editing accreditation exam in May and writing for peace and pleasure as I so love to do:)

Now, all that said, I've got a short short that I wrote for the WDC NaNo prep that, if I'm being honest, will probably never see the light of day. But I love it, even though it's still a bit rough around the edges and not far removed from the first draft at all. So I thought I'd share it here for your reading enjoyment. Feel free to comment or not. And if you hate it, then by all means, write something better and share it with the world:)

Seen and Heard
© Rebekah D. Hay 2010

The three porch steps are a blur under my feet. My heart is a wrecking ball in my chest. And then I hear the baby’s cry.

I was born in 1972 to a vacant shell of a mother and a drunk father who followed the stereotype to the letter. I saw red, swollen faces across from my Cheerios, and I learned the exact position to hold inside the closet with my baby brother so as to be unseen and unheard. And I knew the cry of a beaten child by heart.

This is one of those cries.

The door is already open and the police I am with try to hold me back on the porch. I understand where they’re coming from – this is a dangerous situation for all of us. But when that baby’s voice cuts off, nothing can restrain me.

I barge into the small house and am assaulted by the odor of infection and vomit. A skeletal boy cowers behind the sofa, out of his father’s sight, and I wish I could’ve shared my closet with him.

The baby gasps and readies for the next scream as the man raises his arm back up over his head.

The roar that escapes me is carnal, ferocious. ‘No!’

He spins to me, doesn’t pause to see the pistols aimed at him and punches me in my left jaw. My body flies across the tiny room, crunches against the wall. Dust and bits of sheetrock flutter down over me and I hear two shots ring out.

The man shouts over the baby’s cries as the police move to apprehend him, not caring to be gentle with his limp and bloody arm. I move toward the baby and feel soft crackles vibrate through my shoulder, the broken bones numbed or overshadowed by the need to calm and caress.

I lift the baby to my chest. He is soiled and hot as the sun. I hold him closer, gently as I can, and coo into his ear. I sing the song that used to calm my brother in the late hours of eternal nights. The baby screams louder, but I continue to sing, my voice breaking and tears streaming down my face.

Something touches my leg and I look to see the boy from behind the sofa clutching himself to me, watching his father being dragged out of the house in a violent burst of profanities. He looks up to me and his large, terrified eyes are a silent ‘thank you’.

I wish I could lie to him, tell him that these things never happen, that his case is the worst I’ve seen. But I can’t.

I can only sing.


K.M. Weiland said...

I love the whole idea of NaNo, but, realistically, it's not for everyone - myself being one of those people. I much prefer to give myself and my muse the creative space to write a little at a time, on a regular basis, rather than just pounding it all out in one month. Less exhilarating that way, maybe, but also less stressful!

Rebekah D. Hay said...

Yes, it is very exhilerating, but completely exhausting. And really, it's probably not the best way to develop a working relationship with your novel - by the end of November, all you want is to be as far away from it as possible:p