Sunday, 15 November 2009

Nanowrimo Days 14 and 15 so far

November 14, 2009
Day 14 of Nanomwrimo

I feel like Susan does. This is such a bad novel that it seems silly to continue investing time in it. At least my novel structure is such that I have a thread of autobiographical writing journal running through it as well as the distorted third person "memories" where I fill in the unknown with imaginary bits and the purely fictional parts in which the narrator interacts with the ghostly dream beings.

And ... I am going to lose another few days of writing time from the 19th till the 24th ... I will likely continue by hand during that period as I fill my handwritten journal with the experience ... but those words will still have to be committeed to the computer for actual counting. I have a feeling that I will not be reaching the 50,000 word goal ... but that's okay!

Grandpa's arrival last night was heralded by the dogs. Kenya had decided to move downstairs, and something startled her into barking. Remi leapt off the bed and stood for a long time at the upper hallway window emitting that deep deep bark of his ... the very male bass bark that comes from the very depths of his being. For such a cowardly dog he sounds very ferocious. And stubborn. No amount of discussion from the warmth of my bed could convince him to shut up, so I went to the window and brought him back to bed. Usually he accommodates me in bed. He always feels light. Not like Kenya at all. But last night he leaned against me and didn't relax until Grandpa left.

"Your bed is sandy, for god's sake, woman. I can't believe you are descended from me ... or from Marie for that matter."

"Maybe I'm not," I said with some acerbity.

He looked startled. "My god, you might be right," he said. "That bitch might have deceived me entirely. Fooled all of us."

"Do you suppose you could go find your real grand daughter, then, and let me sleep for a change? I've got a lot going on in my life right now."

He laughed. "No," he said. "You're my blood. Too much like me at your age not to be."

"You were never my age," I reminded him.

"I stand corrected. You remind me of myself as a kid. Had no respect for my elders at all. But they loved me anyway."

"You've lost a lot of your charm over the years," I said.

"But back to business. You wasted another whole day."

"I didn't waste it. I was busy from morning till night."

"But you are still no closer to the truth."

I shook my head. What is it with these men? Completely self absorbed. Well, not Danny. At least not Danny now that I'm no longer living with him. What a generous thing to do. I couldn't have even considered this trip without his help. I feel as if I am hemmorhaging money for the house as Peter works here day after day, week after week. It's not as if he is spinning out the job in order to make more money; he's not. He's simply working steadily away doing what needs to be done the right way this time. He's had to correct all kinds of mistakes made by the original builder. My cedar siding may end up being what holds the house together. He told me yesterday that the guy from the hardware store where both he and Mike bought what they needed, told him that he'd delivered drywall one day and found himself at a drunken party. A drunken party I was paying for.

Grandpa interrupted my murderous thoughts.

"She could certainly charm the pants off a man."


"And she was able to worm her way into the hearts of women too."

"So, she was a lesbian?" I asked, a little startled, by this new insight.

"A what?" he growled.

"You know, gay."

He looked baffled.

"Did she like women?" I asked.

He drew back horrified. "Good god, no. She was a bitch but she wasn't depraved."

Now it was my turn to feel horror. The man actually thought it was a greater sin to be gay than to be a murderer or someone who used people ... or someone who abandoned her only child.. What kind of stock did I spring from?

I had to remind myself that his thinking was commonplace during his era. Rampant till quite recently in fact ... and still too common even now when the rights of minorities were engraved in constitutions and civil rights bills.

I thought about Peter, my dear gay closeted friend who killed himself in the sixties because death was preferable to life. Pat and I will, I am sure, mourn Peter again next week.

"I meant," he said, "that she could fool them into believing anything she wanted. My mother was more gullible than most; she was an old woman, after all, but marie managed to convince other women that I should be killed."

"Probably wasn't too hard, Grandpa. You did a lot of loving then leaving. Nothing as bitter as a woman scorned and all that."

"We had fun together and then it ended. Simple as that."

"Nothing is ever that simple," I stated flatly. "Too bad you didn't live long enough to learn that simple truth."

"You really are a prude at heart, aren't you?" he said.

"No, but my father lived well into his eighties and he finally understood that throwing people away is not a good practice; that everyone has faults that balance their virtues." I thought about the incompetent dishonest builder who had cheated me. Yeah ... even him.

"What about Mark?"

"What about him?"

"He's married."

"Yes he is ... but he's been in a dead marriage for the past twenty years ... "

"So wouldn't it have been better to love her and leave her?"

"Yes," I conceded, but he's still dealing with that Catholic guilt ... all those rules about marriage."

Grandpa laughed; it was not a pleasant sound. "Bull roar."

"What do you know about it?"

"He's very comfortable right now. He has a wife who takes care of the paperwork ... taxes ... bills ... the stuff he can't be bothered with ... the stuff that doesn't get done because he's busy writing poetry and saving the world."

"I know but ..."

"And he doesn't have to live with her and the daughter who is such a miserable selfish slob. He can live out there in his beautiful little escape house. He's got a pretty nice set-up."

I knew he was right. And now Mark had me filling in all those blank spaces, and not even kicking up much of a stink as he became more and more married.

"You're hardly the person to ask for relationship advice, but what do you think I should do?"

"You have to decide whether you want to play as long as it's fun, or whether you want a man who can be really and truly all yours. That is not going to be Mark. He's too much of coward, and he does nothing unless he's forced to. You gonna force the issue?""

"I want the whole thing," I said, "but I don't want to live with anyone."

"I know the feeling ... but you never get to eat your cake and have it too," Grandpa said quietly.

"And I don't like giving people ultimatums."

"I'd bet anything his wife has no such qualms."

"So you'd tell him to choose."

"Hell , no," said Grandpa. "I'd enjoy the ride. But I'm not at all like you as you point out every time you criticize my behaviour."

I didn't say anything. He had just summed up my basic inability to make a decision. My heart or my head, maybe, but more the fun loving part of me versus the the more adult person who had almost crowded out that child."

"Your grandmother would have insisted on a wedding ring and then killed him for remaining true to himself. Find out what she told those women."

That was when Remi moved further down in the bed and gave me breathing room.

9:51 a.m. another 1361 words ...

November 14, 2009
10:30 a.m.

Was that Grandpa? The avenging angel or hand of fate or whatever it is that keeps on killing people that hurt me?

"Hardly," a woman's voice floated into the room bringing with it a frigid blast of air, air colder than the air outside today. "Paul was an ass but he never killed anyone. Gutless."

"Nana?" I asked.



"Word has it you been lookin' for me."

"I have?"

"Yeah. You wanted to know who pulled the trigger."

"Did Marie pay you a lot of money?"

"Hell no, I did it for the sport."

My god! "So are you the one who killed those people who hated me?"

"Good lord no. I don't even know you. Why would I care what happened to you? I doubt if any one of us butted into your life. That's something humans do, not ghosts. We like our peace and quiet."

"Like Mark," I said. "Peace not passion."

"Yeah. Except that dude ain't dead yet. He likes his passion too."

Seems everyone knows him pretty well, I thought. "His horoscope on his birthday said he was going to break free in the coming twelve months."

"Girl, you really are clutching at straws, ain't you? First avenging angels looking out for you. Now horoscopes! Sheesh. They told me you had some brains. I wouldn't have bothered leaving home if I'd knowed I was gonna be talking to an idjit."

"Why did you kill my grandfather?"

"I had no connections to him. It was a safe sure way to commit murder."

"But why? He didn't do anything to you."

"I was just the last link in the chain. Marie was very smart. She knew that the only way to do it was to ask a woman."

"So she asked you."

"No. She didn't know me."

Now I was really confused.

"You killed a man you didn't know for a woman you didn't know, and money had nothing to do with it."

"I told you; I did it for the fun of it."

"Did you kill a lot of people?"

"No ... just him. Wanted to find out what it felt like, and knew I wouldn't get caught."

"You said a chain. Who else was part of the chain?"

"Use your brain if you have one, woman, and don't go thinkin' you'll find the answer in a horoscope."

And then, as suddenly as she'd appeared, she was gone. I was beginning to realize that the trick to triggering these visitors with their elusive clues was to think about Grandpa and his/our quest.

Another 394 words and I am going out to walk dogs ... This afternoon I'm going to a pottery show with Tammy and Carlos and also paying a visit to Wallack's for art supplies. I'm going to buy Japanese brushes, rice paper, tracing paper, graphite tracing paper, acrylic medium and gesso ... and a birthday present for Mark.

November 15, 2009
Day 15 began at 7:45

I stayed over at Tammy's last night. We bounced around town in the van running errands in the Market and at Wallack's before we hit the Ottawa Potters' Guild show. I love that show, but I always spend more money than I intend to even when I limit my purchases to tiny precious items and keep my lusting for such things as Chandler Swain's garden women (one was called Queen of All She Surveys) and some gorgeous black and white bowls by Lisa Creskey quite separate from my credit card.

Remi and I slept in the pink room, a womb that Jesse created when she was still living at home, and Kenya slept with Mandara a hallway away. The two resident cats appeared not to sleep at all. Every time I got up, they were bouncing around in the dark.

I dreamed, but not about Grandpa or murder. I dreamed I was in a Frenchie's, a secondhand store in Nova Scotia. I tried to snag two children's rocking chairs but before I got them to the cash someone filched them. A woman gave me seven long sleeved t-shirts she'd been mauling in one of the bins (half for her and half for me). I got hold of a doll's cradle but it required all kinds of repairs that were likely beyond my skill level. Then Mark appeared and, although we remained in the store, the focus changed from bargains to lovely coincidences.I guess I was thinking about my Nova Scotia daughter's househunting in Nova Scotia ... and about Mark ... when I fell asleep ... and perhaps wishing I were wearing a top of some kind.

We slipped out of the house at 6 a.m. and drove back home through dense fog that forced me to drive much more slowly than I usually do. I was a little worried that the hunters whose parked vehicles I passed every so often would scare deer out onto the road, but perhaps the fog made it easier for the deer to remain hidden in the thickets.

I will be calling Nolan to tell him that I will be arriving at Heathrow at 10 on Friday morning. Danny's money has not reached me, but my oldest daughter recognized how important it was for me to see Pat and she sent me some money electronically. I feel blessed and surrounded by people who care ... not just about me ... but also about Pat's need to see me ... and mine to see her.

I found myself thinking about Grandpa and Nana and wondering whether anyone, besides Paul's mother, really loved them. Both died rich, but who loved them while they were alive?

I tried to picture a chain of women reaching from Nana to Grandpa. Eva would surely never have been one of the links in the chain. No, I needed to work on the women most likely to be connected by Betty and Nana. All the piano women? Women Nana knew from the home for unwed mothers? Maybe I should be working backwards from Betty. Who was Betty? One of the strippers? She sure sounded tough enough.

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