As part of the NanoWriMo initiative there is this Twitter account called NanoWordsprints that gives you boosts here and there to write, and in this case it’s starting to boost those who just entered the 1st of November, in the East of the world. I thought I’d join one of these sprints with stuff that is not part of my own NaNoWriMo novel, but just as a little experiment.
You see, my challenge as a writer was (a long time ago, when I thought I could still write) that as I wrote for the characters I had in mind, I realised that the people I really knew and my own things I actually did were far more interesting and weird than any of those I could dream up. This is partly why my character for the NaNoWriMo novel I was thinking about I borrowed from my son.
In this little 15-minute sprint experiment, this guy came up. Now if only I could draw, I could draw him, as I have him perfectly in mind. He draws a bit from people I know and a bit from me, I couldn’t escape that! My hope is that moving beyond a certain little number of words I will finally be able to detach from myself and my life completely OR at least do something useful and worth reading with the enormous baggage of experience I carry.
So, here’s the little not-quite-NaNoWriMo (because it’s not my time to start on the proper one yet) challenge: (1055 words, not edited, just spellchecked)
In the intelligence scenario that surrounds the most sarcastic thinkers of our age, I sit back and listen with a smug smile on my face. I know nothing, I tell myself, I know nothing of all your hoots and sermons and woo-hoos and all the gizmos and the gadgets and the latest news of the latest news, where latest these days means news of the past two seconds, because who would ever remember what happened before those three seconds? News just keep being transmitted and globalised and passed on at the speed of light, at the speed of tweets. You see the hashtag #sandy and it was as fast as the hurricane itself, it wouldn’t stop it was relentless and zooming across the screen. Whatever does it all mean, what is it for? How about stopping and taking a picture in instead of just liking it so fast on Facebook and then moving on and forgetting about it?
I am partly to blame and still I keep up with nothing. I do the same in part but still I know very little of very little, so how do people do it? Where do they find the time to “keep up”, to read all news to read the whole article? There is just too much information.
So I sit here smugly grinning and thinking “I have no idea of what you’re talking about besides what you’re just telling me”.
The wind blows the autumn leaves outside, it is a cold sunny and cloudy day and my black cat doesn’t know I am writing a 15-minute dash.
I sit and wonder, my name is Karl, and I have a moustache I am very proud of, curling up at the edges, and quite thick too.
My cat meows beside me on the window sill, she doesn’t care I am writing a 15 minute word sprint.
Yes, my name is Karl, I am a little overweight, well, a little more than a little, I have a bit of a tummy, though it could be argued that it’s mostly beer and to be a geek and drink tremendous amounts of beer is now considered cool, so my belly is cool. I have very hairy legs and a chubby sort of calf, one that could be argued could be sexy? Or perhaps not. It cannot be denied. I look more like a hobbit I suppose than like a romantic dream. My moustache is my only redeeming feature. That and my blue eyes, my friend Candy says. She says my blue eyes are so sexy she could make love to them, and to them alone. They are big and ironic and always smiling, and intelligent, she says. As though the rest of me really weren’t that intelligent I suppose.
I guess it could be said I am clever, in some way. But really, I have a talent for agreeing, disagreeing, and pretending I know exactly what you’re on about. People love to talk to me when I nod at them with my big twinkly blue eyes, twirling my moustache with one hand and the other hand holding a beer bottle resting it on my belly, my legs (usually with shorts, I do get hot and sweaty) always spread apart in funky shapes.
Occasionally one of the speakers will get my attention. My REAL attention. So I may sit up, listen closely, squint my eyes, concentrate, focus, and then realize it’s rarely as good as the initial promise, so
My son calls me from upstairs, throws down a bike light to me, an orange frog light. My daughter decides she wants to go bounce on the aforementioned trampoline, so I gave her some slippers.
so I go back to sitting down, nodding and twirling my moustache.
Most of the stuff you talk about isn’t really important. Most of the stuff you are so passionate about isn’t really important. Mostly, it’s just talk. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. You work as a pen arranger, you cannot possibly have an influence on world events, politician’s decisions (until you go vote, that’s your teeny weeny percentage of contribution you can make to making a difference, congratulations), and yet you seem to care nothing for each and every one of us sitting around you right now and you refuse to take an interest in anybody’s lives, woes, thoughts, but hey, the rest of the world and the rest of the issues that all make you feel so puffed up and important.
And so I listen and nod and listen, and I eventually get up, still nodding and agreeing, mostly, with only a little contradiction here and there
My white cat attacks one of the many leaves that are falling outside the window, I open the window for her.
just to keep you entertained and knowing that I am listening and actually care what about you’re saying, I pet my tortoiseshell cat as I lean on the kitchen counter and wait for a pause in your speech during which I can open the fridge door and get myself another beer.
I then go and sit down on my armchair, elbows upon knees, looking straight up at you whilst you carry on talking, say cheers to that to whatever you’re saying and swig down some more beer. Hopefully you’ll know that this is my clue for you to go, leave, get out. I have had enough of your chatter. I keep my eyes closed after that swig but then look up at you again slowly. You are still here, you are still talking.
I shake my head in a little nervous chuckle and then look up again. My blue eyes have taken on that cruel sharp tinge now, they are not so ironic anymore, they are
And I got interrupted by an article about a cat looking for a new home, such a pretty cat indeed! (By the way here she is, if anyone is in the Cambridge area and is interested) And then looking for back related stuff to make a payment to someone. And then to peel a carrot for my daughter. But I guess I could conclude here, as a snippet, a portrait, an I-wish-I-could-draw-act-of-frustration and living so close to two fabulous concept artists is SOOOOOO irritating, as I am so hopeless at drawing.
So, the conclusion, post sprint:
My blue eyes have taken on that cruel sharp tinge now, they are not so ironic anymore, they are tired, and cold, and murderous. You see them, you stop talking, you smile nervously, you pat me on the back, you say “anyway it was really good to see ya, mate”, and thankfully, you walk away, close the door, and I can sit back, relax, take a swig, and let my little cat JJ come and cuddle up on my lap.