Tuesday, October 2, 2007

With Pinapple Chunks In It

"Already, she could feel light from the moon and stars soaking into her skin. Heat from the sunny day leeched out of her. Scars on her chest from the car accident when she was younger started to pucker and gooseflesh filled out across her skin. She would miss the scars, but there was no way to keep them. Besides, she could always get new ones."
-Starbathing (In Progress)

I managed some coffeeshop pages last night before the Rogues' meeting. Okay, well, page and a quarter. I would've gotten further, but D.B. showed up early. My lesser productivity is her fault.

Eventually, I was asked about the thesis - what am I doing? how am I doing it? cycle or collection? how am I tying it all together? Good questions from smart people, and I had no really good answers. Beyond saying I'm writing magical-realism short stories, I have a difficult time articulating.

There'll be stories, and they'll be connected - something to do with a family line, but since one of the very first stories contradicts that premise I still have some clarifying to do in my head. Then last night, my page and a quarter turns out to be part of a very short story about Chloe from the chicken heart story, only it's maybe forty years later. So, she's coming out as a connection, but since Albatross is a good two hundred or so years before her, how do I work that part out? Lots of questions at this point, but few answers.

It's like the first stages of jello right now. Eventually it'll be firm and pop out of that bundt cake shaped mold and be pretty, but right now it's just runny red stuff in a pan. The fact that one of the characters has reappeared is a good sign, though. At least there's the beginnings of coagulation.


Jenny said...

Ah, Ali...

Yeah, just write it. Trust it. It'll all work out. Tell people to leave you alone. (Except for me)

D.B. deClerq said...

Sorry about the interruption. It always happens to me when I show up early, too.

As much as I like planning out my work ahead of time, you have to trust your own process (I'm now quoting Deb--don't tell her). Just go with it. I'm sure whatever you do will be wonderful.

And next time just tell me to work on whatever is in my bag. I won't mind.

Shane said...

The cool thing about genetics is that if you go back far enough, most people are connected. Same could be said of characters.

My advice is to get a decent core of stories together without worrying too much about connections. Then, when you have only a handful more to go, reread what you have. Look for existing connections (like Chloe). Then start worrying about blending it all together. I'd be more tempted to create a few bridges or overarching stories with your last few entries than try and go back and insert too much, just for the sake of calling it a story cycle.

Ali said...

It's okay, D.B. I didn't mind (just wanted to make a fuss).

Yeah, at this point I think focusing too much on the connection could be counterproductive. I know it'll work itself out (or not) as I go and that forcing things won't help.

I just have to keep my focus on the stories vs. the whole big intimidating project.