A Force of Nature

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600 words hit the floor yesterday. I was ruthless in my editing. Still correcting grammar (DUH! caveman me no use words good) and fragment sentences (bugger off computer, yes I do mean that). Not sure if the ending is what I want it to be yet ’cause I still haven’t had a complete read through without correcting this or that. It’s much closer than it was, that much I DO know. 600 words closer.

You know, it’s funny what can happen with writing. I’ve had this happen before: the characters get away from me. I let them open up their mouths to talk and suddenly they’re leading me away from the outline in my head and down another avenue altogether. The story I’m moulding was supposed to be about bullying, that’s the scene I grew it from. It isn’t about bullying. Bullying happens and it’s addressed, but as a side-line. The main story is the boy’s unresolved grief over his mother’s death.

Yeah, it surprised me, too. But once I started to prune away unneeded sentences, the core of the story got clearer and clearer to me. It was all there; the running theme of his mother’s death was in scene after scene after scene. Had to toss some lovely sentences. Had to insert a few words here and there. Had to reassure myself that it was ok for me to go of my outline, ok to let the story develop naturally. I’m not gonna twist a story’s arm to fit into this or that; if it lives and breathes and wants to be different, I’ll let it. My ‘punch’ line is not what I imagined it. I don’t know if that’s what it’s called; it’s what I call my final sentence, my wrap-up statement with a sting that’s supposed to be memorable and make the reader say ‘Aaaaah!’ with a satisfied sound. I think what I’ve got is a very powerful last line, especially if I’ve conveyed the inner struggle of the boy well. Right now I’m wishing I had an editor to work with, an objective reader (who has better grammar than me) to read it and tell me if I’ve got it. Being the Creator, it’s hard to see the flaws.

Oh! Side note. Found an organization here for English speaking writers and editors. Many offer translation services. I could hook up with one and get my stories translated. Problem, tho. Asking price for translation into Dutch is 12 cent per word, which is more than I’m currently getting paid for the English versions. Not happy about that. I’m back to waiting until I’ve got enough of the language to try, and relying on friends and instructors to help proof it and correct it. Ugh. In other words: it’ll be a few years before native Dutch readers get to enjoy my writing. 😦

So this is my week off from Dutch language school, and I’m doing my best to NOT be the student I was so long ago, to NOT leave homework ’til the last minute, and to keep working with my new language skills each day. *sigh* I’m watching Sesame Street (in Dutch, they pronounce it ‘say-sahm straht’). Some of it I get, some of it blows over my head. Yesterday, I watched Bert from Ernie and Bert sing a song that named his body parts and the piece of clothing he wore on each (this is my head; I wear a hat on my head). Wished I was recording it; learning that song would help me a lot right now. I battled with my homework, a fill-in-the-blank sheet that was way over my head; didn’t recognize most of the words in the sentences and I had to use google translate to figure out what was being said. Then it gave me stuff like this: st____lk and I’m supposed to know what vowel combination goes in there. Geez! It was back to google translate, trying vowel combinations until something intelligible came up. I filled everything in, but I think some of the sentences now read like ‘The  dog ran stinky in the butcher’s store’. Some nonsense I’m pretty sure is wrong, unless it’s one of those sayings in Dutch that just doesn’t translate. That DOES happen. In fact, sayings in native languages are the hardest to pick up on. The words themselves make no sense; you’ve got to know the story behind the saying. Case in point: I’m an old Western film buff. John Wayne is my hero when he wears a cowboy hat. So I’ve caught myself saying something that most people in the states will understand, but it was a conundrum over here (including Britain and Ireland): Time to get the hell out of Dodge. I know what this means; move as fast as you can ’cause the shit is about to hit the fan. Here, the only Dodge they know is the car. Think about it. Yeah, I’ve scoured that one from my daily phraseology (but I miss it, I miss it, I miss it!).

Yesterday’s swim was … Well, it was my morning swim. Amazed at how fast I’ve become a real swimmer, barely stopping in my back and forth up and down of the pool. Didn’t think I had the lungs for it, and I still cough phlegm at times. What do you expect? I’m a SMOKER. A soon to be 50 year old smoker. My heart rate increases to where it should when I swim but I no longer feel like I’m gasping for breath and barely making it. I’m in the zone. I get two pats on my back for my swimming. One comes from my quasi-friend in class, who’s missed about a month due to circumstances in her life. She was blown away that I could swim non-stop after class; when she left, I was still huffing and puffing and not doing too much. The other comes from an old woman I passed after class. She was using a walker – one of those four-limbed with wheels things; the kind I’m scared to buy and use myself. As I passed her, I heard her breathing: it was very labored. She was breathing hard, as hard as I did when I first began training. I didn’t speak to her (I did take a close look to make sure she was ok). I just thought: Wow. Listen to her breathe. I just swam for an hour and am now briskly walking and I’m not even taking deeper breaths than I would if I were sitting down. Yeah, she was older than me. Maybe by 15-20 years. Still. I’m intimately knowledgeable on older women who never exercise. They end up breathing like that.

I also got my ass down on the floor for my abdominals. Two days in a row. I’ve started a habit.

My purple nails are gone today; too much chipping and peeling. They were looking tacky. Weird not to have such dark little spots at the end of my fingers now. And my hands feel a little lighter, too. Yes, it was micro-grams of weight; I know. But I swear I could feel it: the base coat, two coats of color, and the top coat weighing down my digits. It’s like taking wrist or ankle weights off. The weight never felt that heavy, but when it comes off you feel the difference.

*sigh* And I’m still up too early, still running too fast, still not resting. I’ve made up my mind; Thursday night, after my big swim morning, I’ll take half a sleeping pill to really really rest. Feels like if I could get one 12 hour sleep session in a lot of my aches and pains might go away. My feet are…you don’t want to know how they feel. Let’s just say I don’t like walking too much right now. Not that I let that stop me. I never have; I never will.

…A reviewer of one of my live performance called me ‘a force of nature’. I guess that holds true in my private life, as well.

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