A day with the family, seeing my nephews and nieces, my brother, his new wife (fiance?), and my sister and mother all in Salem was one of the biggest emotional boosts I could have hoped for.
I’m wary of putting pictures up of any of the children in my family but just getting to hear Baby Alex’s voice and watch him as he “planted” every “flower” he pulled up from the ground was a treat in and of itself. The girls, Ava and Aubrey are getting bigger and their wits are getting sharper every time I see them. It’s a strange feeling knowing that this is the next generation from the brother I grew up with and how they are essentially smaller versions of us at one point.
And before anyone asks, no. I’m not having kids of my own.
The main benefit of nephews and nieces is they are kids I can love but that I don’t have to keep.
The princess of the Eastern Shore is soon to be heir to one of the wealthiest kingdom in all the land. With the fastest merchant fleet, they have access to the most profitable trade routes but their armies are weak. The king implores the princess to marry one of the princes of Iron Hall, a kingdom with a fierce army and defenses.
The head cook, who has worked for the many nobles and kings, sends his apprentice to find a pig, knowing that the princes of Iron Hall have an appetite for porcine flesh. But the only pig in the kingdom of the Eastern Shore seems to be a frail little shoat, in a failing farm, on a dying stretch of land at the edge of the kingdom.
I did manage to get a thousand words down today, at the college. But now that John has finally convinced me to put an air conditioner in my room, the main discomfort of working in a virtual hotbox is no longer going to be a problem. It feels great in there and it’s possible I will get more writing done as the college library isn’t even sparing the AC.
Also, my whinging about Bechdel test was for nothing. I knew that if I gave myself time and focused on the story, I’d solve the problem I was making for myself.
When the story is finished I will be looking for artwork to include in a mock-copy. My first go-to is going to be my sister-in-law, Minneka. And if you go to Thicket Things, you’ll see why.
I learned about the Bechdel test, ironically, from a man giving a Ted Talk. For those who are not in the know, the Bechdel test is really simple. To pass it, a story must have,
1: Two or more female characters.
2: The female characters have to talk to each other.
3: The conversation can’t be about the man or men.
By these simple rules a lot of stories fail or pass the Bechdal test. But failing it doesn’t mean you are anti-feminist and passing it doesn’t mean the work is flattering to women.
My main concern was that as I was planning out the plot, I was worried that the princess in my fairy tale wasn’t an active part of the story. She has to marry a prince as is often the case, and in the typical rule of three scenario, she is rejected by the first two princes to come along. And thus far the only way to make it acceptable in my own mind, was to have her be the one to give the first two the heave ho.
All this is a moot point right now but it’s something to think about.
There’s no use in mourning words that have yet to be written. I can’t go to prison for the children I didn’t have in life, so why should I be held accountable for things that have not been done.
This project is one that I would like to do in the hope of making a little bit of money. It will require the help of others but all of that will be moot if I don’t finish the story. The Ups may or may not come from finishing this leg of the project and there will be Downs aplenty if I don’t make any progress.
Wednesday the 14th. Wednesday is Salem College Library day and I will make my stand on that day with the help of caffeine and air conditioning.
I managed three paragraphs today. I don’t know if it’s the lack of caffeine, or the fact that it’s warmer out but the library hasn’t turned on the air conditioning. I have to make the hard decision of knocking off early for the day and focusing on other things.
Writing at the Salem Public Library just isn’t an option. They have word processors with a longer time limit than the Internet computers but the difference between there and the Salem University Library is like comparing Penn Station to a rural bus stop in the dead of winter. One is significantly busier than the other and also full of crazy homeless people.
It’s not a failing. Some writing is better than nothing. It’s just the challenge of getting a character from point A to point B and not always having the clearest idea of how to do that. Or having too many ideas and not always knowing which one to focus on.
But make no mistake the book is getting written.
My book opens with a bedbug scare in a thrift shop. Some people might not understand why that should be especially jarring. Others are sweating and checking their pulse by now.
The scare comes in the form of an anonymous caller who says that his wife may have donated some things that came from their house while it was infested. The caller quickly hangs up the phone but Olivia, the owner and manager of Keeler’s Mission is understandably nervous.
You see, the shop runs entirely on donations and most of those donations are clothes, as well as other household items that the 21st century pest likes to call home.
Originally I planned for a much longer chapter but after introducing the reader to the store level of the shop, I decided to end it at the point where Olivia alerts the head of her furniture department to a pending meeting. As she leaves, she takes note of an unusual bronze statue that was donated to the shop a couple of days earlier and also notices that it appears to have sold rather quickly.
The statue provides a brief respite from her worries but when she hears that it was the backroom supervisor that accepted the donation, she remembers that the backroom itself is full of places for a bedbug to hide. That’s where the first draft of chapter one ends for now.