March 15, 2013

NaCreSoMo #11: Scribbles (Part 1)

I've been busy. Flying. Moving. Sleeping. Doing those things that people do when they aren't, you know, on the internet. I've also been revising, lots of revising, staring at the page and deleting words, adding words, shuffling words for hours and hours and hours. So I could be lazy and block out the days I've missed because I've been, you know, revising.

Instead I cracked open The Ocean at the End of the Lane and read a few pages and now I can't sleep, even though I should sleep, have to sleep, because sometimes things you read grab hold of you and wake a little fluttering itch inside of your chest and make you want to write and write and write.

So I'm going to try this thing. I haven't been posting any large excerpts from my WIPs here, and I will continue not posting excerpts. But I put up some drabbles of poetry a few days ago, and now I'm going to attempt something that could probably be best described as flash fiction. Confession: I don't write flash fiction. Second confession: I have no idea what's going to come out onto the screen. I have no plans. And that's part of what this is about--letting words sprawl onto the page and grabbing hold of the most interesting of them and polishing out the rough edges until you have something akin to something real.

This is the first draft. The start-and-don't-stop draft. The no-holds-barred, everything-hanging-out draft. It would probably be better termed the rough draft, the discovery draft, or the zero draft. This is what it looks like when I leave everything in.

(ETA: URGH I am itching to revise RIGHT NOW, as I figured out what the story was about halfway through the piece... But, as this is a series on what revision looks like, I cannot. Alas. Treat yourselves to my haphazard words. Take comfort in the fact that this will be better next time around. I'm going to sleep.)


I don't know why I'm awake right now.

Only that it's cold, and the air nips at my nose in such a way that it takes a moment to realize that I am, in fact, feeling sensation. That the clinical knowledge of "cold" doesn't cover what I'm feeling right now--that I'm feeling right now, at all. I'm cold. My nose is frost-bitten. And suddenly, in sharp contrast, I realize that the rest of my body is warm.

Cold. Warm. Is this what it's supposed to be like, when I wake up? I open my eyes. Nothing. Have I forgotten how to see? Close. Open. Close. Open. Maybe I've forgotten how to work the muscles in my face, after such a long hibernation. But no--it is simply that my eyes need time to remember what it means to process the world. Black gives way to gray gives way to color, muted brown, a graying blanket. I am in a room.

They said that when I was summoned I would be as one with the Lonely Ones, the Night Seekers. That I would wake in their arms and we would delight in each other's company, in our triumph over the end of days. That we were alive while the rest of the world crumpled into ash. But I am alone in this room, and there is dust caught in the creases of my eyelids. I do not recognize where I am. I cannot lift my arms to raise myself up.

There is a sound in the room, a slight whistling, a sudden hush. Out of the corner of my eye I see an open window, a curtain that shifts as the whistling starts again--the wind.

Why won't they close the window? I was told this place would withstand any force of destruction thrown at it--but anything can get in through an open window.

I could be poisoned already. Dying of radiation and I wouldn't even know it.

I could be dead and I wouldn't even know it.

I've been lied to, it seems. Betrayed. Promised eternal life and left to die.

But there is something there, at the window. An arm thrown up to cover a face. A body petrified in the morning light.

I shift my gaze across the room, what little of it I can see while lying on my side. A smile spreads across my face, mocking me for my stupidity. The dead do not betray. But neither do they keep promises.

The others lie scattered around me, their bodies telling stories of a mass extermination. They did not leave me. They died...and only I remain.


  1. I think Blogspot ate my comment…

    I had a dream like this once, in which a radioactive bomb went off and killed me and a bunch of friends…except we didn't actually stop moving just then. Instead, we knew we had about two weeks to live out, so we started by making ourselves useful and cleaning up the radioactive courtyard. After that, it was just sort of waiting to die, though, feeling our physical and mental processes shut down.

    I'd like to turn it into a story some day, but I'm cautious about doing that with dreams now because of the temptation to make things follow the dream too closely even when the story doesn't make sense.

    I like this vignette a lot. For someone who doesn't normally image as they read, this feels very vivid to me. (Also quite Rebecca.)

    The one comment I have is that I'm not sure it needs the Proper Nouns. What they do is hint at a larger culture, a larger universe and context in which this story lives, but that context is never explored or capitalized upon. Using generic noun phrases there probably would have made it feel more self-contained. (Relevant:


    Oh hey, it looks like someone made a music video of your idea already: "White Light" by Nell. Even if the lyrics are actually about a relationship.

    1. Funny story: there was an exercise for class a few weeks ago where I actively tried to disguise my voice. The whole class wrote this exercise and then we read them out loud and guessed whose was whose. I wrote in a way that I thought sounded like NOT me at all... But the vote, when mine was read, was unanimous and obvious. Apparently I sound like me even when I'm trying not to at all.

      Thanks for the suggestion (and for the video). Not sure how I'm going to rework it next time but I guess we'll find out... :)

  2. Ooh, I'm very excited to see how this turns out as a revision project! I like the original, too, as it is, but to see it change will definitely be fascinating.

    And as for "sounding like you" (I creeped on your previous comment)--I have the sameeee problem. Oh well...

    1. I wouldn't say it's a problem, necessarily... Just annoying that I couldn't break free of it even when I wanted to! Egads! I'm a slave to my own voice!

      But all kidding aside, maybe it's a good thing to have cultivated a strong, identifiable voice? (My doubtful brain is doubtful, though. I tend to resist the idea of compartmentalization/classification, so it irks that I appear to be stuck with a very "Rebecca" voice.)

    2. Also, thanks! Glad to hear you liked it.

    3. I've only said it about you two so far but I don't think I'm familiar enough with anyone else's writing (except Candace's) to call it on anyone else.