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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Past Life - Chapter 3, scene 4

(Latest installment. To read the story in order, go to the "Writing - Past Life (story)" category)

Crispin had run out of options. It didn't seem to matter how many times he ran through the variables he always came to the same conclusion. Either he should continue coming to the Portal Gardens in the hope of meeting Jeff again, or there was some piece of information that he was missing. But how do you know what you don't know?

Once again, Crispin walked around the walled gardens; They were peaceful, set high on a hill in one corner of the mesa; a mesa on a mesa. He walked between the olive trees casting their dappled shadows on the grass. The stone seats, where once people would come to meet, were empty as, indeed, they were every day. Few people came to the Portal Gardens anymore.

At the far end of the garden, opposite the garden gates, stood the Portal building its self. It was a tall, slim, octagonal structure with a pointed roof. It's windowless walls were covered with a shiny cladding that glistened in the afternoon sunlight.

Not for the first time that day, Crispin considered entering the building. Perhaps Jeff was inside. Perhaps something had happened to him. But the Portal building was taboo; only on special occasions was anyone allowed to enter. It was part of the old law. Jeff had often invited him in, to the room where he worked on the upper floor. Crispin recalled the large wooden desk where Jeff sat to write and the red, leather bound book in which he wrote. That was before; before Jeff had vanished.

Now, with the gardens deserted, no one would know if Crispin were to enter the building. There could be no repercussions and, in any case, a breach unobserved was hardly a breach. Indeed, he had already ascertained that Jeff was not in the building on one of his many prior visits.

Crispin's mind returned again to the red, leather bound, book. Jeff's instructions had seemed strange: One day someone would come looking for this book. He showed Crispin where it was kept, in a carefully concealed compartment of the desk. This, Jeff had explained, was secret knowledge known only to himself and Crispin. It was not to be shared with any one else except when Jeff had died. Crispin found it hard to imagine Jeff dead.

Jeff had explained that many people would come looking for the book, but there was only one person that Crispin should allow to know about the book. That wasn't a difficult instruction except that Jeff could not tell Crispin who that person was.

"You will know them when you meet them", was all that Jeff would say.

Jeff had not turned up at their regular meeting place for nearly three months and Crispin did not know why.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's NaNo time ...

NaNo time? No, that’s not small increments of time. Though perhaps it is – is a month a sufficiently small increment of time in which to write a 50,000 word novel?

“National Novel Writing Month” shortened to “NaNoWriMo” and further truncated to “NaNo” is upon us. The name is, in fact, somewhat incongruous - it should be ‘International Novel Writing Month’ as people from around the globe will be taking part (last year, 119,301 took part, writing a total of 1,643,343,993 words). NaNoWriMo is now in its eleventh year and was only truly national for one year, when the first 21 people took part in the USA. By year two, there were 140 participants and it had already crossed the borders of the USA. I participated in my first NaNoWriMo in 2006 (year 8) with another 79,812 people.

This year, both my Son and daughter are participating, so it’s becoming something of a family thing. Lift off is midnight Saturday night as we tick over to the first of November. Then, its fingers to the keyboard for a month of literary abandon.

Find out more at:

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