Posts tagged ‘750 words’



I’ve gotten a few “wtf dude?” reactions to yesterday’s post, on Facebook and directly. Basically I noticed that most of Bloomberg’s defense of Stop and Frisk (“it makes the city safer”, “we do it according to how much crime there is, not the race of the residents”) didn’t refer to the actual civil rights violations at all, and could be used almost word-for-word to defend (say) Stop and Punch, or Stop and Kill.

So there we are.

(He does claim, not very convincingly, that it is only done when there is reasonable suspicion that there is some crime going on. Sadly that also doesn’t differentiate it from killing.)

Gah! But anyway, here are another 750 words.

A set of steps leads up from the water’s edge to the house. All around, the swamp is noisy and fragrant in the night. She turned the key. He ate the last of the peaches, sitting alone looking at nothing.

Sitting in the back of the flat-bottomed boat, watching her pole through the salt-grass and between the silty hummocks with practiced strokes, I saw the house for the first time just at sunset. It was, and is, a sprawling chaotic structure, growing over the years in a comfortable haphazard way, concerned mostly with not sinking into the saturated ground, but also with accommodating the varied and equally fragrant waves of inhabitants.

He is tall and bearded, she is small and compact, with large breasts and a round bottom. They both wear flannel shirts and blue jeans.

I took with me only a string-bag full of oranges.

She has used him, he realized; used him as a foil, a wedge, a handy tool to extract from the world around her one more victory, one more step up the ladder that she thought would lead her to wherever it was she was going.

I am a creature of narrative, Yolanda, just as you are a creature of vision and image. Where else but here could we possibly have met?

Someone opened the front door and came in. From the sound, whoever it was just stood there for a long time, after closing the door again, shifting from foot to foot, perhaps reading the limericks on the wall.

Of the ten doors opening from that hallway, only two were unlocked. Of the ones that were locked, there were keys to only three. Entering the others would require a fire-axe, or perhaps a ladder against the outside wall, up to a broken window.

Jacob is here. He has brought his new wife. In the evenings they sit with the rest of us after dinner for a few minutes, saying little. Then they exchange a look and go upstairs to their bedroom. Herman rolls his eyes.

The tempo of her life changed every eighteen months, when her son finished a tour of duty and came home to rest and recover. This had been going on, it seemed to her, since the beginning of time.

“What do you want?” she asked. But there was no answer.

By the end of the summer, my calves were strong and well-defined from going up those steps. I held the wooden stake in my hand like a club and looked out over the water, waiting for the ferry to appear around the headland. What mistakes we make, I thought, when we try to change things.

By the time I had the fire burning well, the yard was full of the sound of a hundred children singing the song about Anansi the Spider. Just as the sun set, they all tried to get through the doors at once, clattering and laughing and cuffing each other.

“There was a time,” the old woman said, “when no one here believed in the undead. But that was a long time ago.”

As I pushed the right earpiece of my glasses back onto its broken stud, hoping the red candle wax would hold a little longer this time, one of the nosepieces cracked and fell off into my lap. I really should have made that telephone call sooner.

Bert and the Doctor decided to hike up to the top of the mountain behind the apartment building, and do the mushrooms there. They would lie on their backs on the rocks, they decided on the way up, and get high under the open sky. Bert didn’t always like mushroom highs, but they were better than no high at all, and they could afford them. Also the Doctor was a big fan; he said the mushrooms put them in touch with deeper parts of reality.

There is a box half-buried in silt at the bottom of the lake. The wood, soft and rotten, let the water in long ago. The papers that were in the box have entirely dissolved and their fibers and molecules drifted out to be part of the lake water. The two gems, an amethyst and a star sapphire, are coated with fine mud, and thoroughly in darkness. The last person that had ever seen the box before it sank to the lake bottom died fifteen years ago. That is how time works; gradually everything sinks and is forgotten, to make room for more things to rise, and for awhile to be remembered.


Were there doxen in the orphad?

So my 750 words yesterday were largely spent directing obscenities at call-directors, voice-response systems, office staffs whose main interest is to foist you off on to some automated system as quickly as possible so they can get back to whatever it is that’s more important than your phone call, and other hazards of modern life.

Wasn’t somehow eager to share that with the world. :)

Today’s is based on a rather obvious thought; enjoy!

Sometimes, when the frillocks were in swarrow, they would go down to the warrilling with a clite and a few brantills, a leftover gandrich-seed or two, and just lie down out there, between the yammows and the spee, and look up at the clear orphad learint.

He was a yonderbay then, and she was one of the mannon. This was before sponding, before the hotast of renamtion, and they were still jacosens, flechlings without toggol. From that onch of the warrilling you could hear the spallton far below, and the bront moving the polifract of the plennons, back and forth.

It was hard then, it is still hard now, even with the sponding, to be a mannon and a yonderbay, to taste fortella with your cattin, and know only yot and blunk. But they had clite and brantills, and they had a taffrock full of eske now and then. And altogether it was not so bad.

Once, sometime between slomitch and fereen, a yal-sotterer came to the mannon petruch, and set up an elaborate claylel, full of martrice and praste. All of the brantlings and gropestants took big flaylillies of pordim from it, carrying them to hosteria in their shining greflucettes, their croffen dangling in the lobest like hamillias.

What does a yonderbay do in the ommit of a claylel? Down by the spallton, he knew the grosten were bantilling, the bront full of volker, the prenning feth. Martrice smells of clotember, it is like an androne or a fetten, a cloving of hybernum. But all things pass, and in the pretrim they were again blode and fornot among the yammows, and the learint full of treblong, and feelty was onch.

The old zennaches in that prale tell phetoches of armber and ghralefect, where strong shiny hamberelches fight and win in the torrends of cly, always coming away with their nobiles intact and their yarmiles quelching. Everyone knows these are hommor, and not a theodor to the brong, but on a red slorotnoe, with the spee trilling, no one cares.

With the hotast, they say, we all became bronches. But what is a bronch but a gropestant with no croffen? Lying there, all atrenchant, what came to them but the sparency of slimendiates, between the feld of the yammows and the aple gramt of the trochan flechlings? How could their oblamorch be any more spotie than the brootch? Would a gandrich and a horridge full of pnorum be more venocasey? Would a taght vernidge the glim?

In the cruffet of cly, the high ponoty of sgrillate takes a ferrow from the olean of taggy-elding, and thereby comes to glamtipory. But on the way from defk to brule, what passed below the devvit of bramburny was only pordrim, of the amacie of a great teocycline, not a perry or bramblette. So the yonderbay, between his own defk and the glefidge of carrue, called to farradge, and the mannon to a hertiach, and the ploner was enfugled.

At least for that enmelton.

We must, each of us, take the grapstem. However tonet or copplestan, the grapstem is the only brootch of the hybernum. The bamblies of Tomosk may have built a crennen to the orphad, but we can only perenck at their delb. My hybernum is not yours, and hers is not his. Grapstem and hybernum, we are each a ponoty of our own petruch, and there is no allent in the alb.

But that is no frennen! One of the mannon craling to a yonderbay, or a crafling on twipe, are all the same perring. It is to our great fontena that our hanteliver has no erositian. If the enfoliation of the ormery were pliatiste, where would the candiskey be? And what a penner would plat the eske.

So best we should leave them, with the frillocks in swarrow, down by the saduka warrilling, and take our own parrist from the monnow of farifort: do not congravior only for the best grandiole in the bonty, but also the androne of slomitch. Not the paretrine only, but, if we can, every porwhillion that effortates an orng, and every sleemind on the brellaw.

And what came after? Were there doxen in the orphad? Did all of the mannon come and brallerate their clotesks in the obstanty of phlie? That I must leave to the paratale of your own famsy chamerska; my allent is all too spotie. But I think of bright harrens taking sloderbent in the sponding ormery, and it gives me toggol.

I note also that the 750 Words site is apparently going to start charging money soon. I can’t decide whether or not it’s worth it to me to spend even the small amount that they are talking about charging; I guess I will find out! I am amused, though, to note that this fact, which one would have thought would be rather important, isn’t (or isn’t prominently anyway) mentioned on the site itself, but instead on their weblog, which seems to be on tumblr, which is otherwise used primarily to repost other people’s postings of kittens, sunsets, porn, and so on.

I just thought that was kinda funny…

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You’ve also got to get them in the right order…

750 wordsSo there’s this 750 words site, which is a very simple (simple enough to be confusing, really) site designed to help wannabe writers (raises hand) get into the supposedly healthy “writing three pages a day” habit that has, on dit, been recommended by Various Famous Writers. Friend Emily mentioned it on Facebook and I signed up on ummmm Saturday, I did 750+ words that day, forgot all about it yesterday despite the helpful reminder email, and then did 750+ again today.

It’s different from, say, NaNoWriMo, in that 750 words a day isn’t nearly 50,000 in a month (more like 22,500), and it’s open-ended. And on the other hand you can’t be lazy one day and then make up for it the next.

Here is what I wrote today; what I wrote on Sunday feels a bit too personal and/or embarassingly bad :) to post in public at the moment. It is, probably predictably, about the process itself.

I’m not sure that what Real Writers have suggested in the past really meant just writing three pages of absolutely whatever sprung to mind, including grocery lists, the word “cheese” repeated over and over (like, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese), or even pure internal monologue like this.

Is that really something that helps develop writing skills? Or develope them, for that matter? (stet)

I can see this sort of totally uncensored, totally unjudged activity being either helpful or unhelpful, really, and I which is more likely is probably an empirical question. Contingent. Possibly different for different people, even, although it’s all too easy to suggest that for any given thing that might otherwise have a Right Answer.

There’s that scene in the L-Word where whatsername Jenny is talking to the creative writing teacher who has basically trashed her stuff, and what the teacher says is that she is just writing things that actually happened to her, perhaps thinly disguised, and Jenny agrees and/or admits this. And the teacher says that she won’t be a writer until she stops doing that, because just writing what actually happens is something else, she uses a word like “chronicaler” or “diarist” that’s clearly intended to be derogatory, and also says something sort of twee-paradoxical about things that actually happened not being true, or not being reality or something.

Awhile back, quite very awhile back, I used to (for some probably-small period of time) pick a word at random from somewhere (given how long ago, probably from the hardcopy dictionary or something), and then write some amount about that word, whatever first sprang to mind. (I wrote it with an actual pencil, on actual atomic paper, in an actual physical D-ring binder notebook, as I recall; how archaic, eh?)

Once Anne, childhood Anne, read a bunch of my writing (brave of me in retrospect, and probably even at the time, to have given them to her to read), and she liked it overall, but thought that the “write some stuff about a random word” ones were sort of forced, or artificial, or missing something, or at any rate, I remember, not as good.

And that’s the worry here I suppose, or something like it. That just writing without worrying about what one is writing will lead to the habit of doing that, of equating writing with writing-whatever, wearing away at whatever habits or standards of quality that one might otherwise have, and which one might do better carefully cultivating then actively wearing-away at. (Hm, how would one avoid ending that sentence with a preposition? “and one might do better carefully cultivating them rather than actively wearing away at them” I guess, but is that really an improvement?)

Not to mention actively developing bad habits. I don’t know if it applied to the pen-and-paper version, probably it did really in some form, but the temptation in this medium, with the word-count actively (but slowly) going up in the bottom-right corner down there as I type, is to always choose the wordier way of saying any given thing, to say the same thing over and over in various different ways even, to use N words when K would have done, for N greater than K.

One can just type and type and type, that is to say, making totally (or reasonably) coherent sentences (even though that’s not strictly-speaking required), while still not saying much of anything, or saying the same thing over and over.

And is that a good habit to develop? That is probably not a good habit to develop.

We walk out into the fields to harvest the pages. They grow on tops of the page-stalks, and also on the second-highest cluster of leaves, or cluster of what would be leaves if they were not pages. Below that level, the leaves actually are leaves, green with veins in the typical way, if somewhat more squarish than the typical leaf on any other kind of plant.

(See, the “on any other kind of plant” didn’t really need to be in there; there are things besides plants that have leaves, but the reader would have gotten it without that hint even.)

When the pages are ripe, they snap off of the stalks easily, with a slight tug just off of straight. Not too much off, so as not to tear the paper. And not too much straight, because then it may resist and not come off, and you may have to try again, and that would be inefficient.

And no one wants to be inefficient…

It’s funny that I have (or at least pretended to have, for the purposes of word-count) these reservations about developing bad habits by doing the “three pages a day” thing, whereas I’ve never had that worry about NaNoWriMo, where the lack of internal censor just feels freeing. Maybe because NaNoWriMo is so much an all-out infrequent event, whereas the other is intended to be an everyday every-day habit. Or something…

(Astoundingly, even the combination of being linked to by Salon and writing this exquisite political satire has not yet led to international fame; but we soldier on…)