I wrote the following for a class I took a few years ago. It’s a bit rough and still unedited, but I’m posting it here because (a) it’s been a while, and (b) it goes hand-in-hand with the upcoming March edition of the Yet-to-be-Named Newsletter for the Chico Writers Group.
I learned to tie a new type of knot today.
I was fascinated by it. The straight line of one part of the cord. The rounded, looping curve of the other half and how it wound around the straight side as if hugging it. Continue reading
2009 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is over, 65,229 words later. Yes, it wasn’t the full out 90K words I intended on reaching (what the hell was I thinking), but at least it’s a good start. Continue reading
Each year I participate in National Novel Writing Month. And each year I donate to the Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit agency affiliated with NaNoWriMo. The money goes to supporting literary programs, libraries, and young writer programs worldwide. This year has been exceptionally tough for us. I wasn’t able to contribute as much as I normally do. But this year we have the option of asking for sponsors.
Today, Tuesday, November 24, 2009 there is a special 24-hour fundraising event. If you have a buck or ten you can toss into the coffer to help raise money for these wonderful programs, I’d be especially grateful. And if you do it within the 24-hour period via my sponsorship page (https://www.gifttool.com/athon/SponsorAParticipant?ID=1891&AID=777&PID=109076) I’ll write you in as a character in my current novel, iRON-ic Suicides, which is a dark comedy (and yes, I’ll be nice and not transform you into a writing pin-cushion). To watch my progress and learn more about this year’s novel, check out my NaNo page at: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/21182.
Next up: A site and blog revamp! Look for it soon (but not before the end of NaNoWriMo, foo’!)
“The Transcontinental Railroad”
Spear on my back, arrow in my right hand, and bow in my left. Lay ahead of me, the buffalo that roamed and feasted on the grassy meadow, the mighty kill. I kneeled down, then fell on my stomach, then went into a full out crawl. I pulled the bow up, aligned the arrow, and pulled back the string until my muscles couldn’t take any more.
The horn blew, the buffalo stepped forward, and then came the noise that echoed through the valley that my people often heard before the buffalo fell. I didn’t think it was possible, or true, until the buffalo fell. What followed was the laughter, heard far away, from the terrible machine that always passed and made weird noises like an extraordinary animal.
The waste of meat, bones, and the hide that was used to make my tepees. My family needed it, needed it all. The tepee needed patching due to the water wear, we needed more eating utensils, and I needed more weapons now that my father had risen up to be one with the bear in the sky.
The gold stake was driven nineteen moons ago. Since then the black smoke maker rumbled in the night. The buffalo had been disappearing since, and if the buffalo were disappearing, my people were to go along with them.
Three weeks before the driving of the golden spike:
I sit down on the log along with Kohla, my sister. The fire burns and rises up to point to the stars above. The sticks crack in a rhythm tonight, and the sparks rise and dance in the cold wind. I grab a rock of obsidian, along with another rock, and start rubbing them and sharpening them for better and newer arrowheads so I can hunt with ones that are sharper than my father’s old, worn arrowheads.
The shouting starts from the tepee behind me, I drop the obsidian and run to the entrance. There, in the middle Koluku, a friend of mine and tribe mate, stands with a wooden club. The light shimmers through the tepee, shining gold on the walls. I follow it to the red hair on the white man’s head.
The man was murmuring to himself with his hands on his shins and blood seeping through his fingers. I grimace. Koluku raises the club, and strikes as hard as possible. The man screams in agony, his hand crunched where the club struck.
I walk forward, raising my hand in front of Koluku’s chest. Crouching I stick my hand out to grasp the white man’s chin. I turn his head so he is staring into my eyes. Fear, hunger, pain, and shock is etched in his eyes, it sunk down into his brain. I let go and shoo Koluku.
I run out of the tepee and to the warm fire, and lean to the buffalo meat in the center. A handful is as much as I can take. I run back and grab the crippled hand of the white man and place the meat in it, then nod. His hand shakes and quivers as he pulls it to his mouth. The meat falls on the red dirt he sits on.
Tears form under his eyes then fall to the meat. He shivers tremendously, and then cries out in agony.
I walk towards the dead buffalo, my hands shaking as I put them on the animal’s back. The tears formed the same way they always do, the Irishman’s and yours. The tears fall on the mammal’s fur that shimmers in the sun, and ruffles in the wind. My legs aren’t broken, my hands are not crippled, but the pain is the same as the Irishman’s. The pain of knowing your death.
This was written by my son, Z-dude, for his history class project. When I first read it, I was moved to the point of tears. What an incredible story, don’t you agree?