Bartender: Drinks for Everyone!

Isn’t that what you say when you want to 1.) treat all your mates to a celebratory libation, and 2.) mark an important milestone ….?

Well, if we sat across from each other in the same bar or pub, then I would offer a round (or 2!). 🙂 This is Day 1 of NaNoWriMo. And I wrote 1,1123 words!

I’m sure there is a better way to write fiction, but I research and write in the same drafting session. That’s my process and it works for me. For now. 🙂

I just posted my word count on my NaNoWriMo Dashboard Stats. That felt pretty damn great!

So, I would love to share the entire first draft, but I think that asks a lot any reader — even the most devoted one. Instead, I will post the first few paragraphs.

Before I do, I want to share a thought regarding today’s Daily Post – Copycat. This term and concept just really stick in my craw. Charles Caleb Colton is attributed with the quote “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and I heartily agree.

We imitate when we are learning. Writers, artists, and many more do this quite often. We imitate the writers we admire. And if we keep writing, our voice begins to emerge. As long as we attribute and acknowledge this influence, then write on! Copycat is such a negative way to frame how we learn — in my humble opinion.

With my opening sentence for the NaNoWriMo challenge, for example, I tapped into one of my favorite writers — Jim Harrison. He opened his novella Legends of the Fall with a sentence that really spoke to me when I first read it years ago. “Late in October 1914 three brothers rode from Choteau, Montana to Calgary, Alberta to enlist in the Great War. . . .”

At any rate, here are the first few paragraphs from what I wrote today. 🙂

The Dim Twilight of Winter’s Night, Chapter 1 excerpt (working draft):

Late in September 1943 Mimo sat quietly in her granny’s quilting rocker. Aside from an occasional creak from the red oak floor boards as she rocked, her bedroom was very still.  A warm summer breeze through the windows caught the pink polka dot sheers trimmed with chenille ruffles. The cotton curtains swirled around each shallow gust. Pushing in, ebbing out.  At times, the dairy barns and corn fields just beyond Jane’s vegetable garden could be seen. At others, the distant sound of the cattle as they grazed.

For a moment, Mimo’s gaze drifted from her hands, which had been busy darning Earl’s socks, to the pastures below. Three of the heifers seemed to’ve discovered a sweet spot. Probably clover. But she wasn’t interested in the herd. Not really. Like the dingy fabric between her fingers, the view from Mimo’s window could only offer a momentary distraction. Nothing would erase the sight of her grand-daughter’s mangled face after the accident several days earlier. If only she hadn’t asked Evie to drive her in to town. She could have managed the Chevy. Somehow. If only she’d waited just twenty minutes longer before stopping by the train depot. Evie’d complained about the heat. They could have picked up chocolate ice cream at Handel’s.

But they didn’t. Instead, Mimo and Evie arrived at the depot minutes before the train arrived and then stepped out to the platform seconds before it derailed. The two women hadn’t enough time to duck out of harm’s way. If only Mimo had been the one standing closer to the tracks.

Mimo began singing quietly to herself. “I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder. The power throughout the universe displayed.” Her rocking increased. “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee. How great Thou Art. How great Tho—”

From the direction of her bed, a soft rustling sound interrupted Mimo’s song. She stopped rocking and leaned forward – as if to take a closer look – despite the fact she was less than an arm’s length away from the bedside. Where Evie lay. Nearly lifeless. Eerily silent.

Mimo held her breadth. Was Evie still breathing? Had she imagined the noise? But Evie didn’t move, aside from the rise and fall of her chest under the crisp sheets tucked tightly about her. Just as she had done for the past two days. Since the surgery. Mimo let her gaze slowly shift from Evie’s chest to her neck, then to her chin, around her jaw. Where the scar began. Still very red and very raw.

That railroad nail had ricocheted from the tie to the wheel to the platform where it’d grazed Evie’s cheek and temple as if pulled by some tormented, invisible thread. If they’d been any closer, the damage would have been worse. Evie would be dead. At least, that’s what Doctor Blossom said later when he began stitching up the flaps of flesh split open like a fish after its encounter with a filet knife.

It was all Mimo could do to slow down the blood as it pooled around Evie’s head where she’d crumbled to the wood platform. Mimo wanted to cry out for help, but all she could muster was a whisper, and that was to Evie. “Hush hush now, Evie. Everything’s just fine. Hush hush now.” But she knew the truth. Evie wasn’t listening. Evie couldn’t even hear her.



6 thoughts on “Bartender: Drinks for Everyone!

  1. Wonderful! The visuals are vivid and the atmosphere intense and lost, tinged with hope. Beautiful writing. I wrote my first 2,700 words today, but just wrote in hurry and put down what I was thinking. Thoughts/feelings portrayed fine but visually it’s crap! You really have a way of describing the story beautifully. Good job!

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    • Thank you so, so much. 🙂 I haven’t written a story (let alone a novel) in a long time. Actually, I’ve never written a novel. I think one of the “rules” with this NaNoWriMo is to write, write, write. Editing is discouraged until after the 50,000 words have been written. I’m trying to just capture the ideas and write without editing, but I didn’t succeed last night (or tonight). I edited and polished. So, that is totally amazing and awesome that you picked up the pen and knocked out 2700 words!!! Now I’m inspired even more. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing some of it on your blog. 😉

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        • The most important thing is that you are writing. 🙂 I don’t know how much I will continue to share (at least, not in the long form… ). It does take more time to revise and I think the first 2 days I focused too heavily on that. Hope the writing is going well for you!

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