log (2002/11/01 to 2002/11/07)

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Thursday, November 7, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

So here are Nartabee Silgilesh, the small slick one from the town near the tail, and Torcel Vellome, the granch from somewhere forward, sitting in a close warm room in a tiny house, or large covered niche, out in the open skin near the tail. Torcel's wound has been more neatly bound with medicinal exudate, and the two have shared their bag of food with the three others in the room. Tired, they lean back to rest, bits of the black sky and the bright stars visible through tears in the fabric above them.

Vellome looks at the image of the world at the back of her mind, and locates herself. Am I any closer, she wonders, to where I am going?

End of day seven: 14,350
Tomorrow's goal: 16,400

One of the fascinating things about the WriMo is how much you (I) learn about yourself (myself). What does it mean, exactly, that every time I reach a scene that requires more or less detailed plotting and character interaction, I have it take place offstage, and just show the aftermath, with the characters sitting around thinking about what just happened?

Wednesday, November 6, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

Is there water out here in the wild, she wonders? How common is food? The patch she has just feasted on is small; it will give her one more meal, or perhaps two, but it will have to rest and ripen for a long time after that. Will she find a mirror out here, grown naturally in the various untrained skin? She smiles at the thought.

Are there Innernesses out here? The thought startles her. She has heard of wild Innernesses, but only those that are tended and healed by Architors. She thinks of her own hidden Innerness, in a secret niche on the open skin, with a pool of water nearby, and patches of food, and a soft place to rest and to sing.

She will, she thinks, bring Na out here to live with her. With her and the child. They can write songs, and sing them, and tell each other stories, and if they are lonely they can walk to the town by hidden paths that only they know, and talk to the people there.

End of day five: 10,339
End of day six: 12,345

Oh, we're doing so well!

Tuesday, November 5, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

End of day four: 8,320
Today's goal: 10,300

So I resolved that I would not stay up too amazingly late last night, and I was doing a pretty good job; after getting to my wordcount goal I only fiddled around randomly on the Web for about an hour (if someone hadn't come by and erased all of metababy I would have been even better; as it was I couldn't resist putting back about fifty of my favorite pages and chatting a little about what might have happened).

Just before I got into bed I noticed that all the lights still on in the house were flickering oddly. I looked around, and looked out the windows, and went into the basement to check the fusebox and stuff, and everything was normal except for the lights flickering oddly.

Then some not too large time after I got into bed the microwave made the strange strangled bleeping sound that it makes when the power goes off, and I was awake, and it was very very dark. I stumbled around to find a flashlight without waking up M, and eventually found a couple and walked around the house making sure everything was okay and looking out the windows to make sure it wasn't just our house.

Eventually I went back to bed, but I didn't sleep terribly well, expecting some child to wake up at any moment and be scared that there was no light, and need me to take a flashlight to them. But that didn't happen.

(Everyone should, of course, have a flashlight under the bed in easy reach for events like this; but events like this are so rare that those flashlights never stay there.)

So today I'm incredibly sleepy, and I don't know how I'm going to get another two thousand words written. Maybe being sleepy will help. Being actually asleep over the computer keyboard probably wouldn't, though. (I actually skipped a meeting this afternoon, because I knew that if I went I'd actually fall asleep during it, and that would be embarassing. Actually.)

Voting this morning, it was nice to see three or four candidates for governor in favor of marijuana legalization in one form or another. The main third-party candidate actually sent me a flyer urging me to vote for him because he's in favor of medical marijuana, and of course the Libertarian and Marijuana Reform parties are in favor of recreational marijuana, and I found out after I voted that the Green candidate is also. Even among the Republicrats "Rockefeller Drug Laws" have become something that one promises to reform, which is a Good Thing.

The little boy rented SSX Tricky from the video store over the weekend, and he and the little daughter have been playing it constantly. It's a pretty neat game; extreme snowboarding in defiance of all physical laws, with both male and females characters to play (the starting female character is cool and confident and strong and all that good stuff; unfortunately she also has breasts the size of watermelons).

We were wondering what fancy snowboarding in real life looks like. Unfortunately it turns out to be run by an ancient secret society bent on world domination, but then what isn't these days?

Gotten lots of spam advertising Norton anti-virus and System Works lately? Apparently Symantec wants to know about it, presumably so they can beat up on the spammers. Which is a good thing.

Real manga comes to the U.S.! I recently noticed and immediately subscribed to the English version of Shonen Jump, an incredibly popular weekly Japanese Manga. The U.S. version will be only monthly, I think it says, and therefore have not as much material. Still, it should be fun.

Good lord, I'm sleepy.

Monday, November 4, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

Later, Ot learns that Na rests in upper rooms, under the stars. "Is that where you get your songs?" she asks. Na only smiles. In time, Ot learns Na's silences and her smiles, and that she is not only a writer of songs but a trainer of skin, an artisan who can make burls and mirrors.

Ot makes a few songs of her own, but decides that they aren't very good. So she rests on her back under the stars, and sings Na's songs to herself.

Currently: 6,755
Today's goal: 8,300

So I didn't intend to write a nonhuman-alien lesbian love story. I just realized sometime on the first day that since every individual can have a child, they must all be female. Fortunately the people of the Lizard don't seem to actually have sex, so I don't have to worry about the whole "porn vs. erotica" thing. Much.

I'll see if I can get the plot back on track today or tomorrow.

A reader writes:

So, uh, why did you name your character "sodium"?

Hey, you try to come up with half a dozen one-syllable names without any namespace collisions! It'll be a relief when we get out onto the open skin, where people have longer names. (My main character is of course Ot; Na is just the current love interest or mother figure or something.)

Non-novel links: from the Daily Illuminator, something new in the UFO line: Roswell Rods.

From I guiltily forget where: Structured Procrastination. Sounds like a good idea! Or at least the first few paragraphs do; I'll have to finish it sometime. *8)

A bolt stud writes:

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I would like to send you my client's web address, so that you can review their site. My client's hydraulic torque wrench, hydraulic nuts, and bolt / stud tensioners are the fastest and most efficient tools in the world.

Oooohhh, hydraulic nuts!

Sunday, November 3, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

Coming around a corner, she is facing two hooded Architors across a narrow room. She stiffens, tries to relax, speeds up, tries to slow down, walks past them, manages not to run. They seem to ignore her entirely, although she keeps herself from turning to make sure. She turns a corner, and another, and another. Then she looks around, and they are not there.

She cannot recall ever seeing more than two Architors together at once. People say that the Architors live in the Innerness, that they can travel to the stars, that they keep every third child for themselves (but En would have noticed that, surely). But mostly people do not talk about them at all, and turn away when they appear.

She is very, very tired, and although she would like to be further from the pair of Architors, she has to rest. She finds, pleasingly quickly, a dense and quiet room full of tangled vines and resting nooks, and going to an unoccupied one in a sheltered corner she lies down and twines her fingers over her belly, curls her legs under her.

It is odd to be resting under a roof, and at first she cannot quiet her thoughts. But she is so tired that they quiet of themselves, as tired as she is, and now she is staring up at the gnarled patterns in the skin of the burl that curves over her, and she thinks that it is really as lovely as the stars.

End of day three: 6,267
Tomorrow's goal: 8,300

Saturday, November 2, 2002  permanent URL for this entry

Ot watches Na slide into the water beside her. Where Ot's belly is the smooth continuous curve of youth, Na's is marked by the curved crease that says she has been a mother, has had a child. Ot thinks of Na going head-first into the Innerness, being swallowed by whatever is there, of the child tearing free from her belly, of the hooded Architor cleaning it and taking it away.

Ot has never seen a child, but she has read about them in the books her second mentor gives her.

"I am to have a child," she says to Na.

"I know," the other replies, and bends one of her arms around Ot's shoulders, stroking the grey skin with her arcing fingers. Ot sighs and relaxes, feeling the firm touch, the bones beneath the skin. She thinks, as she often does, that Na might be her parent. Most likely it was her first mentor who bore her, but no one but the Architors know, and Ot likes to think that it was Na, with her creased belly and graceful hands.

End of day two: 4,115
Tomorrow's goal: 6,200

Friday, November 1, 2002  permanent URL for this entry


Like everyone else, Ot has always at the back of her mind an image of the world. The image is small but clear, distant but entirely distinct. It is clearer than a memory, less present than a vision.

The world floats alone in the darkness. The darkness is a deep darkness, and far away in the darkness are the stars. The stars are fixed and unblinking. Between and among the stars move the other stars. Some of these are flashes of light lasting less than an eyeblink, some are long streaks of orange flame, and fifteen are faithful companions, moving in an intricate dance unimaginably distant.

The stars and the other stars dot the blackness both in the real sky, and in the background of the image in Ot's mind and in everyone else's mind.

The shape of the world, as it floats alone in the dark, is the shape of a huge lizard, its four legs splayed out, its thick tail curving gently upward, its great eyes closed and its mouth slightly open, the sharp white teeth barely parted.

I think I've set myself a pretty hard task this year. The characters are not human, the place they are is not a planet, there are neither day nor night nor seasons nor sexes. How hard is this going to be?

The thing to remember, like last year, is that I am in no boxes; I can do anything I want to, I need be only as constrained by what is already written as I feel like being.

So today was a Good Day by last year's standards, which I think are good ones.

End of day one: 2,109
Tomorrow's goal: 4,100

I did some of those words in the "bringing other people up to speed on stuff I already knew" part of a meeting (I was listening to all the other parts of the meeting, Steve, I promise!), and the rest while lying around at home, mostly just now after everyone else was asleep. I do not however want to get into the habit of staying up absurdly late to do my 2K a day. I can do it all during the day just fine, if I can stay away in my discretionary time from Metababy and Neopets and books and Perl scripts and...

We're off!


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