Friday, September 22, 2023

Trouble Every Day

So, I got a job where I could walk 50 yards to grab my cab for the day. After I took my car, I usually went back to my apartment and slept for a couple more hours. Most of the pickups at that hour of the morning were medical and not worth the effort. Otherwise, I cruised the valley, takin fares and making a decent wage.

Cabs had a 12-hour lease and, after I paid my $55 for the day, I walked to my apartment, keeping my cash in one pocket, my Charter Arms 4” .38 in my waist band. It wasn’t the best neighborhood. 

After that two-minute walk to my 450-square foot studio, I’d sit at my laptop and bang out more Powerball. From about 6:15 until one or two or three, write until my eyes burned and my head was spinning. Drinking PBRs and smoking Sour Diesel as I pounded out my novel.

At one point, deep into chapter two, I stapled pages to a wall, arrows and notes all over the place. It’s the chapter following Emma jumping off a cliff, delving into history—Gooch’s story and tales going back to pre-Columbian America. Here’s a piece:

Refuge for a handful of hardy Spanish settlers, Sephardim driven deep into the wilderness by friars aflame with the zeal of Torquemada. Isolated in those box canyons and alpine leas, herding sheep and goats, they dug in and irrigated fields, raising whatever endured the vicissitudes of an abbreviated mountain growing season. While there, the new residents endured half-hearted Indian raids and brutal winters for the opportunity to scratch out sustenance in the shadows of the Chi-Chis. When the men of the area took their schvitz and bathed in the hot wells, they realized that the maddest of them became brilliant while the best of them went crazy. With agua loca, a little insanity was well worth the price of a nice, relaxing steam and bath. By the time Pogo started promoting the springs for curative properties, there was no one sane enough to tell him he was crazy for doing so.

And another:

Gooch pounded his whiskey, thinking of ghosts and a long-past Saturday that had teased summer’s humming, the buzz of bees’ wings in the bells of daffodil blossoms. Kris had ordered him to help her with a tractor that had seized up the previous December, to be the nurse to her surgeon and hand her the tools she needed. He’d insisted on bringing his GI Joe, a fighting figure much like his father, to give orders and stand guard against any enemy soldiers lurking in the woods.

Gramps had the windows of his cabin open and was sweeping the dust of winter out onto his porch when he saw them. “You kids! Stay where you at!”

So yeah, that chapter was all over the place and not easily chunked for writers’ group. Workshopping it took half a year (and I really appreciate the love and hate from my fellow CPWW writers) but it came out as a way for to tell stories in parallel.

I can’t wait for you to tell me what you thought about how I told those stories.   

No comments:

Post a Comment