Another excerpt (I cannot write chronologically). It is not in second person. Again, this is fictional — the only thing from my life here is the fact that my bedroom walls are made of stucco applied by my grandmother in the mid-70s — but they were originally a garish purple, not blue. In any case, I know what they feel like to the touch.


>She felt surrounded by waves, deep blue waves which
>did not resemble any kind of blue water
>she had ever seen before.
>
>But what matter. They were waves of stucco, painted an
>intense, luminescent blue, like a rippling
>pool of water lit by lights from deep below.
>
>These waves swirled around the room and coated surface
>like licks of peanut butter. Not light
>and airy, and certainly not something she could swim
>in. But she could feel like she was
>swimming in that room.
>
>Touching the walls, eyes closed, she could feel the
>texture. The smooth smears of dried stucco,
>the round bumps and sharp ridges, and the cracks that inevitably
>formed in an amateur stucco job from the
>late 1970s.
>
>Yes, if she could ignore the cracks then she could
>pretend they were not mere bedroom walls.
>She could, instead, project onto these surfaces the
>fantasy of a sea unlike any that could ever
>exist, save in her mind.
>
>And upon that sea were her many, many maps — National Geographic maps, fantasy fiction maps, historical maps — of worlds
>real and of worlds beyond the real.
>
>These were her projections.
>
>This was the frame of her chosen world.
>
>She could venture beyond the room and into the rest of
>the house if need be, but the doorstep was
>where she stopped.
>
>She had not left the house, physically, in three years
>or so.
>
>(There’s a technical term, if you want to get
>clinical. I don’t).

>But she could say she had been all over her world, and
>had traveled far, if only vicariously, along
>the waves of imagination.
>
>And very few ever entered *that* world.

The challenge with NaNoWriMo for me is that I am a constant self-editor. I can pick and pick and pick and PICK at something mid-flow, killing it (and word count accumulation) in the process. I have to stop editing and just write! until my hand joints ache. And then begin again tomorrow.

But, for the moment, let’s say a little revision makes a huge difference in the flow. An experiment, involving quick little changes which hold power to create an entirely new character and voice.

How about that rarely used second person perspective? As that inner voice, the one which refers to the self as “you”. It can be self-accusing and self-destructive, or positive and affirming. It is “you”, but not “you” in that a person can treat that inner voice as a detached stream of conscious without always being conscious of it.

I’ve found her:

For a minute there, I lost myself.

Do you think that quote means anything to anyone? Ring a bell, somehow, maybe? Does it tell anyone anything at all about you?

Nope.

Because they aren’t your words. You can’t say that you’re original: someone voiced it for you. Someone else wrote it, set it to music, sang it, recorded it. Cutting-and-pasting, plagiarizing with the thinest veneer of citation, that’s all you’re doing. Here, here’s the snippet — sing along if you care:

For a minute there, I lost myself,
I lost myself,
I lost myself . . .

“Karma Police,” Ok Computer, Radiohead, 1997.

Doesn’t really say much about you. It’s not about you, see. Maybe it tells someone that you listen to Radiohead, that you like them enough to know and quote the lyrics, and that you “feel” these words speak to you and, maybe, speak for you. Again, not original: doesn’t everyone feel that a song “speaks” to them personally every now and then?

What makes you different?

What makes you this “I”?

Never mind the song was written and performed without awareness of your existence, never intended to be your mouthpiece, or your personal communication with the world. So why do you quote it?

Still.

Sometimes, a singer’s words and whine can say so much more than you ever can with your own damn voice.

Sometimes, clamping headphones over your ears and blasting it into your head will say all that you ever needed to say, or hear.

Sometimes, closing your eyes and opening your ears, if only wide enough for the song, can be the your favourite little numbing narcotic.

Gimme the beat boys
and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll
and drift away . . .

Singing to yourself again, are we?

Well, none of it is about you. Not completely, not entirely.

For instance, you’ve always been lost and you always will be. For the longest minute, maybe. A forever, for you, my dear.

Don’t look so disappointed.

And because you borrow someone else’s message, and interpret it as you choose, you just subsume your own voice and replace it with a neat and tidy little lyric or ditty. And you’re not really saying anything at all, not at all.

Nothing.

Nothing?

Nothing.

You’ve lost me. Again.

You’ve lost yourself.

I am not here. I never was.

I wrote it in twenty or so minutes, no edits aside from formatting. This is fiction, keep in mind. Working title: Vicarious

For a minute there, I lost myself.

Does that sentence mean anything to you? Maybe ring a bell, somehow? Does it tell you even a little bit about me?

Because they aren’t my words. I can’t say that I’m original: someone voiced it for me. Someone else wrote it, set it to music, sang it, recorded it. I’m just cutting-and-pasting. Sing along if you know the song.

For a minute there, I lost myself,
I lost myself,
I lost myself . . .

“Karma Police,” Ok Computer, Radiohead, 1997.

And it doesn’t tell you all that much about me, does it? Maybe that I listen to Radiohead, that I like them enough to know and quote the lyrics, and that I “feel” these words speak to me and, maybe, speak for me. Maybe, you might wonder, I felt “lost” at some point in my life . . . but who the hell doesn’t?!!! Again, not original: doesn’t everyone feel that a song “speaks” to them personally every now and then?

Never mind the song was written and performed without awareness of my existence, never intended to be my mouthpiece, or my personal communication with the world.

Still.

Sometimes, a singer’s words and whine can say so much more than I ever can with my own voice.

Sometimes, clamping headphones over my ears and blasting it into my head will say all that I ever needed to say.

Sometimes, closing my eyes and opening my ears, if only wide enough for the song, can be the my favourite little numbing narcotic.

But it isn’t me, not completely, not entirely. The message is just me-ish.

For instance, I lost myself for more than a mere minute. For the longest minute, maybe. Maybe just a small space of time, but a forever for me.

And because I borrow someone else’s message, and interpret it as I choose, I just subsume my own voice and replace it with a neat and tidy little lyric or ditty. And I’m not really saying anything at all, not at all.

Nothing.

But aren’t I?

Am I making sense to you? Do you get me and what I’m trying, maybe, to say? Am I losing you?

Because I think I’ve already lost myself again.