Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Lately, every post here needs to read, "I'm still alive." As a writer, potentially. Notwithstanding the ravages of class projects to grade, academic papers that won't die, sinus infection, child-related events that must be attended.

But this potential "I" is still alive and perhaps a period of thriving is upon me. Even though it is undoubtedly a terrible idea, I intend to write my 50,000 words this November. Perhaps I will set a personal goal of 60,000 so that I might be permitted to fall short. As far as I can determine, only in young adult or juvenile fiction would 50,000 words count as a complete manuscript: let that be my guide. My copy of The Hero with a Thousand Faces is in the mail!

In the past few days I have despaired of being able to complete a book set more than fifty miles from Beloit, WI, because it seems that my ability to travel is so limited. But that is truly untrue and just signifies cowardice, indecision, and general pusillanimity. (That last word is hard to spell and hard to say.) In fact, I do have the resources to trip along the route of my heroes' journeys; all that is required is a bit of creative fiction about my intentions, or at least some minor concessions to academic pursuits in my pandering, and I can make at least one extended visit, and perhaps two shorter visits. I am drawing the line at a ten day faculty seminar because after that I would probably be inclined to hole up in a bar in Warsaw for a week. What I need is a plausible long-term project that never has to be finished ... Perhaps a history of the Gypsies in the Slovak lands. That would put me just in the right place and the project is potentially endless, and even possibly valuable.

But what shall I write for NaNoWiMo? Since I have done so little actual writing of prose so far, though a great deal of planning, almost nothing related to Karpatia is off-limits. I did want to include dogs, I decided that this week when I went to a Newfoundland pulling contest. The story I'm liking is Bloehm's, starting in the parking garage in Bratislava, transported to Poland, joined up to the Wedrowniczki as a scout, sees something she's not supposed to see, imprisoned in Weiliczka Salt mines, escapes with younger child and dog (Casimir), and begins the trek southward along the Salt Road back to Bratislava.  This story ends with their capture and "detention" at Spissky Hrad by the Rromii -- Bloehm does not let on that she is Rromii by adoption, if not appearance. The rule of the In-Between is that nobody leaves.

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