Friday, August 26, 2011

The Noises I Hear

I live on a military base in a house up against an elementary school. Every day I hear the children playing in the school yard now that the new school year is started. I can hear the bell that rings every morning at eight thirty calling them to class. I can here the teacher's whistles as they line up their wards during physical education. I hear when the school day ends, but that is not all I hear.

My environment has changed. The only things I heard through the walls of the house I lived in growing up was the wail of sirens from police cars and ambulances, or the tuned motor of a car or motorcycle. There was the occasional sound of a plane flying over. Maybe a person making a U-turn in the front yard since we had no sidewalk, only gravel.

Now there is the whining of cargo plane engines. My husband sits next to me and tells me their names. He tells me why he knows which ones they are. It is because of a whine they make, high pitched and piercing. Its different from engine to engine. I lie in bed and hear them taking off and landing. The line is nowhere near my house, yet they are still loud enough to hear. They are loud enough for him to know.

There is the clack clack clack of a train over tracks that run through the base. I hear it at night mingling with the whine of the engines.

There is the Big Voice being tested. The bell that rings from the towers that run down the streets break through the walls as if it is joining me in the living room or bed room. The ringing ends and a voice crackles from the speakers. To hear this I must stick my head out the door and strain my senses, otherwise it is only static. When the towers ring I dream of worlds thought up in science fiction stories where an unnamed person speaks to the masses to make them hear. I hear, but I can't understand what they are saying.

These are the noises I hear.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sifting Through Old Stuff

My husband and I bought a 3-hole puncher this weekend. He needed it to organize some of his paperwork into binders, so we took a trip to Office Max. This purchase ended up being beneficial for me as well because I could finally put new drafts of my novel into my binder. In a paper-wasting act of organization, I proceeded to print out all 12 revised chapters to replace the ones that still remained in the black binder that sat on the corner of my desk. I can certainly say that it was gratifying, but what about the old copies?

I went through all the folders and holders I possessed to gather up the old drafts that I had lying around. It has been 8 years since I started my novel, and some of the drafts are years old. Over those years I have become a better writer and have repaired flaws that needed to be repaired. Naturally these old drafts were just plain bad. Yes, bad. I was shocked that I ever wrote that way and am glad that I improved. I couldn't help but think of my friends in high school who would nag me for my spiral bound notebooks so that they could read the new words I had scribbled down as my teachers lectured. I had never dreamed such a project would get carried away.

For years I just had fun with it. There are characters that are more caricature, now cut out and forgotten. My main characters' actions have become more refined and realistic as I have gotten to know them better, and as I have gotten older. I became better read, so my writing style has evolved to become my own and less adolescent. My word count has shot up due to the cry for more detail and explanation from those who have read what I have written. I have introduced new characters that make the plot more complex. Old ideas have grown to become their own monsters. My work, my world has evolved.

Now its a serious project that I am constantly working on. Sadly I am a bit of a procrastinator, and have issues with staying consistent. One moment I am doing the much needed rewrite for chapter 1, and the next I am working on chapter 13. (That doesn't include the two short works I'm currently writing.) I have to prevent myself from going through all that I have just printed out and doing more revising. The perfectionist in my tries so very hard to deter me, but I am making progress. I have a goal to write more every day so that I can get all of Part 1 (now Book 1 due to length) finished so I can really grind at it. Yes, I have a dream about getting it published some day. Whether it will have to be self published or not is yet to be seen. I will continue to write, because now with the division of the parts, I have two books written and a third started. I can say I'm pleased with myself, and I have enough ideas for a dozen books.

I need a filing cabinet.

Now it is time for me to admit that this blog is being used as a procrastination tool. I must get back to that chapter 1 rewrite.

If you want a little taste of my work go to BookCountry, but I should warn you that there is a word count limit for nonmembers. My book is under Hands of Ash, and my short stories are "Principium" and "Red Autumn."