Frosty Friday greetings to you all, compadres. How goes it?
It’s a cool day here, and there are dark clouds lurking. I’m waiting for the hailstorms to start. We’re sitting in a little bubble of calm – the calm that prefaces, you just know, the biggest downpour imaginable. It’s my kind of weather.
Work continues apace on the dismemberment of ‘Eldritch.’ I’m down to something like 48,000 words now (from about 63,000), and – particularly over the past few days – the restructuring has been going really well. It almost seems easy, which feels dangerous. I have to keep reminding myself that the words I’m working with (from the old version of the book) are a fourth or fifth draft, so it would make sense that they’re reasonably okay. Because of the revamp job I’m doing, though, it feels like I’m working on a first draft all over again, and so I’m expecting everything to be nonsense. When it isn’t, it feels weird.
Does that make sense? Probably not.
I am losing so much of what I thought made the book unique, and it’s not easy to carve away at words I spent so long perfecting, and choosing, and polishing, and placing with such care. But, at the same time, the story is moving along so much more quickly now and despite everything I’m getting rid of, I’m managing to hold on to lots of the fun aspects of the relationship between my two main characters. Perhaps the reason that my carve-up job is working well is because this is the way the story was meant to be, all along; I should never have been afraid to get rid of the overarching narrative conceit I had been using. I now see that it was confusing and clunky and unworkable, and just because it allowed me to tell the story from the point of view of two characters simultaneously was no reason to keep it.
Sometimes, simpler is better. In fact, nearly always, simpler is better. It’s just unfortunate that this ‘simple’ change has meant the near-total evisceration of the book.
So, it’s Friday. Which means I woke this morning and the first thing I did was check the Flash! Friday website for today’s clues. (No, I’m not addicted. Why on earth would you say that?)
Today’s story elements were as follows:
The compulsory element to include was ‘Aging’ – as a concept, not the actual word itself. The distinction is, of course, vital.
The prompt image was this:
And so, after much panicked cogitation, I came up with the following small tale:
The Long Step
Pablo knew his time had come, at last. In truth it had come years before, but nobody had wanted to take his hand and lead him to the mountain.
Nobody wanted to say goodbye.
But is wife had been gone so long that only the oldest children remembered her. The sickness had eaten her, and she’d chosen to take the Long Step early.
Pablo had no dependents now.
And so, one morning, he took his silent leave. He dressed simply, bringing only his stick. He slowly climbed the mountain road, savouring the air and the sky and the birdsong, the tang of sore muscles, the thump-thumping of his old heart.
Finally, he reached the end. The Long Step beckoned, out into eternity.
One final breath, and then…
Peace enfolded him, like a closing eye.
Surprised, the women at the mountain’s foot ran to catch the floating baby, newly reborn.
‘Who was due to Step today?’ they asked, but nobody knew.
Good luck with whatever the day brings your way, and remember: even if something feels like it’s not working out, or you’re afraid you’re doing something wrong, don’t worry. You could be just starting out on a larger plan, and everything is going to work out just fine.
Wait and see.