The Song on Benhá River began simply enough: a single dockhouse perched on four columns half it’s height. One man and his two sons carved the holes in limestone thigh-deep at lowtide—chest-deep otherwise—during a spring and part of a summer. The clear flowing water made it easy to see how slowly their efforts progressed as the white limestone billowed from the holes in a straight line to the sea. Later, posting the timber columns was an adventure that began with cursing and screaming amongst the three men, but turned jovial when the first column—nearly sunk—rocketed out of it’s mooring with the man atop like a cork from a bottle. He splashed to the surface several boat lengths away after his short flight. Before his sons could ask if he was unharmed he pointed at the oldest, smiled, and yelled across the water, “You’re next!”
Then as he saw the column flowing with the river out to sea. “Shit. Hook the tree!”
166 words on day 496
At the end of yesterday’s post I noticed I was one word off of having my word count match my day count. I wanted to say something about it, but that would have marred the coincidence. So here I am today asking, “Did you notice how I wrote 494 words on day 494?”
I did. It felt kinda cool.
Yesterday I told you I’d be plotting more later that day. I didn’t plot so much as brainstorm. Wrote down my three elememts and spawned related words and concepts from each. Writing down related ideas helps me find unexpected connections between the elements while also exploring the greater depths of the elements themselves. Often I sense an idea has deeper details but can’t articulate them because I earworm the element.
From this I came up with a surprising number of common links between dermatographia and my river-place. temporary, fragile, unique. Then, because I knew I’d get hung up on it later, I tried to work out a name for the river-place. I got close but wasn’t overly satisfied with the results: Song of the Benha river. Which typed better than I expected just now. And it’s ironic–not telling why.
I’d hoped yesterday to explore the sacerdotal element in a way that gave my priests some possiblity for goodness, but as I’ve thought about it since, I don’t really have the time to make every element the good guy and find a new bad guy. So: priests bad.
251 words on day 495
This morning went oddly and I find myself writing later than I’d planned.
A friend has challenged me to a writing duel. I think it’s mostly self-serving on his part, but since it gets me writing to a deadline I’m happy to oblige. C, if you want to avoid spoilers then you should stop reading now.
I’ve served up three inspirational tidbits (http://www.evernote.com/pub/palisade14/notes): the word ‘sacerdotal’, a picture of a woman’s legs exhibiting dermatography, and another picture of a cluster of floating docks and pontoons clinging to the side of a heap of jungle in the middle of an Asian river somewhere near the coast. He wanted reality, but I’ve made it challenging not to drift into the fantastic to incorporate all three.
Sacerdotal: of or relating to priests or a priesthood : priestly. The secondary definition includes the intimation that priests are required intermediaries for speaking to the Divine. So far I’ve poised this element in my thoughts as mildly ominous. These priests may arrive with plans to spirit my MC away or barter with her family to take her away. I’d like to at least consider some more positive role for this element, but I’ve not come up with one that doesn’t seem lame. Plus I need conflict.
Dermatography: skin writing. Turns out this is a physical aliment rather than a mental one; I was surprised to learn this. I suspect this is partly why I’ve latched on to the priests as nefarious since this one became neutral. I’m thinking my MC will discover she suffers from dermatography. That she will live in a community small enough that no one has ever experienced or seen it. Or if they have, they haven’t shared such experience. Thus far I think she’ll find the dermatography interesting and something to conceal but not something to be terribly worried about until the priest arrive. Or something else sours her complacence. I’d like to make this magic, but I’m tempted to challenge myself not to–partly because I can’t figure out how it would work and partly to make things harder (maybe).
Islands in the stream: I’ve written to this inspirational photo before though I can’t find where that ended up. Or maybe I haven’t yet. Either way it didn’t stand out. I like pictures like this because they smack me in the face with their foreign, but backhand me with their reality. A small city of cargo containers and pontoons clinging to the steep sides of a hill in a river is just too crazy not to compel writing something. Even something bad. I’ve only considered this as my setting, but I could set it up as a destination or a goal of some kind. Maybe the MC lives inland and needs to get to this river-place for some reason. This bit worries me the most so I’m going to do a maquette for it tomorrow or later today extra.
494 words on day 494