Sunday, November 24, 2013

NaNoWriMo by Day 24

 My writing was zipping right along, a bit behind schedule but highly motivated until three days ago, when my dog and I both got sick with the stomach bug that was sending my students home in droves four days before that. Then while I was sick, it got cold and while I know that cold here, isn't what a lot of the country calls cold
 I also know my house here has like zero insulation so when the outside hits freezing, the inside hits 43* even with a fire in my wood stove.  So I was too sick to lift the logs we feed the fire with, and huddled under a mountain of blankets instead. Every time I had to run for the toilet the air in the house felt like I had plunged into an icy river.  Yeah, maybe I had a fever too
 But when I awoke on Saturday, feeling like food was on the agenda
there came a brisk wind that took the temperature from freezing to 80*
 and then everything went still and the grey whale migration came in close to land, so I didn't write the either.

 Instead my husband and I watched whales and chatted with tourists and then went to see "Catching Fire" and out for Chinese food.  Ok the food was a mistake, so I just smiled at the plate for awhile then had it boxed up and had soup instead - but it felt so good to feel good to be alive again.

 and today I am back at the keyboard, better writing than I could have done without the break anyway.

 These are two large rocks but the whales were hanging right beside them, spouting and showing a flipper or tail every now and then
So what have I been writing?

more about two boys 1901 years apart but both in areas with impending volcanic eruptions

here is a brief sample, unedited

"Marcus guided the Fortunatus family out of the boat at Naples. He was grateful to step onto an unmoving surface with the farmer and his wife and children. The farmer and his wife had both been seasick, or simply sick with terror but the children seemed to love the adventure of the nighttime boat crossing. And it had been more adventure than Marcus ever hoped to endure again. The Bay heaved and seemed to try to pushed them away from shore. The Air was clogged with dust and ash and smoke so that even in the dawn it was dark. Back toward vesuvius there was lightning and flames and both white smoke and black ashes blocking everything and roiling through the earth.
Once they were clear of the crowds he sought out directions to the artists home and hoped his Father was still waiting there. Then he gestured to the family to come with him. The older man hesitated again, clearly uncomfortable going uninvited to a stranger's home, but glancing at his children and the crowds of refugees convinced him to set his pride aside. The streets were covered with ash like snow.
It wasn't possible to move quickly through the crowded streets with the children and the few possessions that were meager enough and yet still weighed them down.
The crowds were in disarray, everyone was speaking, shouting questions, and not just in Latin but in Greek and other languages as well. Where people could, they searched the incoming refugees for familiar faces, and sometimes there were shout of joy at a successful reunion, and that gave everyone a more hopeful feeling. Still, many people milled about with no idea where to go now, or any hope left on their faces. The disaster had brought out both the best and worst in people, so some of the locals had come down to the harbor bearing extra blankets and clothing and food. Some had come trying to make a quick profit off of necessities they themselves had paid almost nothing for. There were fishermen and boat owners preparing to go for more survivors and there were thieves stealing from the overburdened and vulnerable crowd, knowing those burdens contained all the earthly treasures those refugees carried.
There were people spreading stories that they had no way of knowing if they were true or not, but the audiences they found believed them. If reality was this bad, of course it was probably even worse. At times the air would almost clear, the daylight could come through, and that seemed even more wrong somehow. The ashes falling and the smokey air seemed to tell the truth that the familiar mountain was now and forever unfamiliar and threatening.
Farmer Fortunatus, without a farm now, and still too close to the loss, to realize how fortunate the Fortunatus family had been, kept turning to look toward his family home, pointing up in the air, beyond the new crest of the mountain, to where he had been so comfortable in his old home and terraced fields. It had to still be there, because it always had been.
Finally Marcus and the family were pushing through the door, greeting Veruses master and then Marcus was grabbed into a strong hug as his father pulled him close and they wept on each other's shoulders.
Oy! Marcus, so glad you are safe, my boy. Your Brother?”
No problem, Father. The boat was full and I had promised to help this family, but Verus and Aemiliana were safe. They were there at the beach with us, and while he insisted I come ahead, they were waiting for the next boat. They will probably have smoother tides and better winds than we did. And they are together. I imagine they are right behind us, maybe already at the dock.”
I went down to the ocean when people began talking about the strange cloud, I wanted to find Verus but I had told him to go and I did not know where he had gone exactly, only why. He was going for medicine, he must have heard of the eruption and caught one of the boats as soon as it happened, but I wish that he had come back for me. He probably thought I'd be too old to help. No, I'm sure he only thought of getting to the girl.” Father began to tell his story, much relieved to know that his family was safe."

1 comment:

  1. Looking good!

    I also took a few day off--a weekend, by Jove! I worked out the next bit of story in my mind, and I'm ready to write again. There's a reason god invented weekends!