Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What does 500 words look like?

     I saw this link on a writer's list... write 250, 500, or 1000 words per day - pick a goal and go for it.  I am going to try for 500 on line and also keep on writing in my journal each morning for three pages... that would push my baseline goal up closer to 1000.  Do I need a goal to write?  Sometimes it is hard to settle down into the blank page.  I have been thumbing through Natalie Goldberg's Old Friend from Far Away:  The Practice of Writing Memoir.  I come back to Natalie because she really helped me with her one or two page journal prompts in her book Writing Down the Bones
     Am I a real writer?  I ask myself that question - even though I have written volumes of anotated papers for college and work... even though I have a bathtub-sized box of journals- some written in felt-tip black ink the size of an ant.  I took a four-week long Creative Writing Class at a community center and came away with this excitement about what I could do- with character development and setting... I get excited with the idea of researching things and imagining people.  I get kind of afraid too... what happens if I create a character and become afraid of what they might do? 
     One of my favorite ways to write is with free stream flowing ripples of ideas in stream of conscious scribble scrabble.  I am thinking about the muck at the edge of the canal that accumulates near the drain.  Canals- there was a newstory about two teenage boys who went out on a small craft and died in the local canals- they got sucked up.  How do canals work?  I guess I can google that - the computer can help us find out these answers.  Rushing waves- out of control.  I saw 3 kids near Murderer's Creek on Boyd Road- they jumped the fence and were poking reeds with sticks.  It is good to see children out and about playing in Nature. 
     Fluffs of cotton along the bike path.  Clouds change- heavy to light marshmellow fluff.   I get this feeling like I need to get out more and gather images, stories.  I don't really know people that deeply- so how can I develop characters? 
     I took a nap this afternoon... woke up with sunshine on the covers.  I took my son for a walk around the block this evening.  He ended up in my arms- he is about 30 pounds now - so is not easy to carry for long.  We walked by Dearheart's doctor- the veterinarian for our cat.  We saw a World War I memorial for the men and women from Contra Costa who served in that war.  California brown bear flags, wheelchair ramp metal that squeaked as we walked down the path.  We walked past the Hilton Hotel, parking lots, senior centers... I could see two elderly persons parked near the doorway- watching the world - the parking lot with the single basketball hoop, the movie theatre marquee sign with the mourning doves looking down- watching the movements of the people, tree sparrows, moths, and toy poodles. 
     Hard to believe- that was 530 words- I don't even feel like I got started writing.  Wake up walrus, wake up whale...

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