You may have maps. You may have reports from other travelers. You may have an idea, or a hunch. Most of all, you may have an unanswered question or the need to know what makes that odd noise at night?
The initial scenes don’t show up in any clear, diagrammatic order. One character pipes up. Another interrupts. A third spills out a story that may or may not show up in the final chapters. The whole thing’s a mess, except… except it’s a mess you’re not willing to slide into an unmarked garbage bag and drop off far from your regular disposal unit. (Saw someone do that once: drive up to units at both end of the esplanade for an even distribution of…somethings. At the sight, the mind twirls and chatters with questions.)
The current bunch of characters in the current proto draft come across as pretty travel-weary. No huge surprise – the writer feels somewhat weary for any number of reasons. All the major disasters bombarded toward the masses via the media, of course. But also, moments such as one yesterday when each of the three thousand six hundred seconds in a sixty minute coaching session stretched out toward infinity. True, some children are slower learners than others. Also true: some are so uninterested they can’t be bothered remembering they re-discovered 7 fits twice in 14, only two lines above this one. I detailed every grain of wood in the table top before me. Photographed shadows of an industrial sewing machine against the wall. Prompted with suggestions. Memorized the child’s pouting patterns. Eventually, infinity resolved into sixty minutes – and not one second more. I was out of there in record time.
One of the characters claims its her turn to grab center stage. Whether her improv will be an out-take or a keeper, I don’t know. I hear some writers plot out their forays into fiction. I had a boss once who wanted an outline to his speeches before I wrote them. Eventually, he accepted the fact he’d see the outline once I’d figured out the assembly of what he wanted to say.
As for yesterday’s slower-than-molasses one, she brought to mind the first lines in a poem by Mandelstam:
The stream of golden honey poured, so viscous,
slow from the bottle, our hostess had time to murmur:
‘Here, in sad Tauris, where fate has brought us,
we shan’t be too bored’ – glancing over her shoulder.
(You keep your wits about you as best you can. The full poem? on this page.)