Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Awards, And A Shitty Novel Excerpt

You know what?
You guys fucking rock.

Once again, I’ve been awarded with a couple of very fine awards, and because of this, I’m happier than a pig in shit (or milo, unsupervised, with no muzzle on).

I got this beaut from Adrienzgirl over at Think Tank Momma.


And really, I couldn’t think of a more accurate award. I AM bad-ass. And how do I know this? Because I was sitting in the tub on Sunday night and I remember thinking to myself, “It takes a special kind of woman to read the SAS Survival Guide while taking a bubble bath.”

I’m not even making this up.

So thanks to Adrienzgirl for this bad-ass award. From one bad-ass to another, I salute you (in my pants).

I was also the recipient of this lovely little gem from Travis over at I Like To Fish.


Am I a scribbler?
Perhaps, before everything went all techno and we used to use things like pencils and paper. Jesus, you guys, remember pencils? Hand-writing essays? Having to trek to the god-damn library on a Tuesday night to research a report because there was no such thing as the internet?!?!
Aaahh, those were the days. But you know what? Scribbler or not, I’ll take it, ‘cause mamma likes her awards.

And as a thanks for receiving these two wonderful awards, I’m going to really put myself out on a limb for you guys.

Like, seriously out of my comfort zone.

Although I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo, (underachiever, anyone?) I fancy myself a writer with loftier aims than educating physicians on proper ways to treat hospital-associated diarrhea

(again, I’m not making this up, people. This is my life)

So I’ve been ever so slowly working on a novel, which I’m finding that A) I’m not suited for, because my writing style changes drastically from day to day, and it reads like the author has multiple personality syndrome, and B) I’m my own worst critic, because I’ve probably scrapped three times what I’ve kept.

Regardless.

Below is one short excerpt from my book. Go ahead and read it, but I warn you, I’m sensitive as shit about it, so if you try to make a joke about it, I’ll probably cry.
And then hunt you down.
You know that saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?”
Yeah, that kind of applies here.
Constrictive criticism?
Okay.
Telling me that a third grader can write better than me?
Not okay (and probably hazardous to your health).
Are we all clear on the rules?
Good.
Here goes…

When she steps over the doorframe, the air hits her face like a cold, wet blanket. It seeps past her collar and wraps itself around her legs and slings itself under her nose so that each breath is icy and smothering. It makes her eyes water and her head ring and she instantly regrets the decision to leave the reassurance of her bedroom.

It has become winter overnight. Or, what seems like overnight in the timeless chasm of her grief. When she buried her husband, it had been a brilliant, dazzling autumn day, much as it had been on the day he collapsed. The sky had been a bare, raw shade of indigo, and the leaves, freshly liberated from their limbed captors, scurried on the pavement ahead of crisp breezes. The weather had tormented her, joyous and playful when she was suffering so wretchedly. She was indignant; outraged at the lack of empathy displayed by nature. The affront seemed intentional, and she seethed with insult. Now, it is as if the entire earth has been stripped of its life by the rain that taps persistently on the windows and renders the ground spongy under foot. Her porch is strewn with dead leaves, most from the maple that guards the front walk, but others—aspen, birch, oak—that were at one point ensnared by the rough wood while riding the wind. They lend the impression of a porch ill used and long forgotten, of silence beyond the windows, and of mourning deep within.

The tandem wooden rocking chairs balance as they always did, about three feet apart, and tilted slightly towards each other, like lovers indulging in a scandalous secret, afraid that others might hear of their desires and indiscretions. They had sat in these chairs often on gentle summer nights, rocking mechanically, sometimes full of conversation, other times barely speaking. These chairs have born witness to their most fanatical dreams and ridiculous banter, their loving, casual caresses and their heated lively debates, ever pitching, forward and back, warming placidly to their rear ends and shoulder blades.

Sitting in these chairs, one is afforded a view the front yard. Beyond the porch rail, an expanse of tentative, spotty lawn descends gradually to the little-used street, potholed and all but forgotten by the township, save for thrice-weekly deliveries from the mailman. Their drive is little more than two parallel ditches that tend to puddle in low spots and threaten to steal the traction of tires during rainy spells. The truck sits impassively, barely used since that day, serenely enduring the rain that beats incessantly on its pocked and dented frame. Dark slate hints at a walking path towards the front porch. It is losing a battle against the roots of the maple, and is thrust at awkward angles where the root system is expanding to meet the nutritional demands of a flourishing tree. The steps of the porch are worn and sag a little more each year. One is held aloft on a brick; a yet unfinished project.

It is in one of those battered rocking chairs that she now lowers herself, carefully guarded, as if the chair might bow under her weight. Without thinking, she begins to rock. The chill is invasive and she wraps her arms around herself, rubs her shoulders half-heartedly, and wishes she had brought out a blanket. A brown leaf scratches across the boards in front of her foot, and instinctively she reaches out a toe and crushes it against the wood grain, the skeleton crunching satisfyingly against the planks.

She tries to remember the last time they had sat in these chairs together. Her brain is slow to ignite, but she finally unearths a time, earlier in the season, when the air was still soft and kind, where they had shared a glass—a bottle, in the end—of cheap wine and talked about the varied, inconsequential frustrations of his job. He was having a hard time keeping his men to task; wondered if others in his field dealt with the same level of incompetence that he endured day in and day out. He had been bristled and agitated when he first sat, rocking hard and bitter until the first glass blunted his sharpest edges. By the time they stumbled to bed, he was pliable as a kitten. She had listened, sympathized, even offered a quick suggestion or two as he hashed through the day’s minutia. That night, like so many nights, she was his confidant. She was his compass. And in return, once his blood had slowed and his speech had thickened, he courted her. He cooed out praises and spoke hotly of past moments of pleasure. His touches became firm and insistent, and, heads heavy with alcohol, they retired to the bedroom to satisfy the urges that had crept up between them.

And there she sits still. The same chair that she had occupied on that night of drunk romance and hasty pleasure.
And still she rocks.
And still she breathes.
But the chair beside her sits immobile and empty.


Yep.
There she is.
Copyrighted and shit, although the concept of someone stealing this passage is utterly ridiculous.
(See how I’m fishing for a compliment here?)
So now that that’s over and done with (and I've just lost half my readers because they no longer respect me as a writer or even as a person), let me pass on these bad boys.

I pass along the scribbler award to the following people for updating every single mother fucking day, and we all know that shit is hard work.

My Masonic Apron
How? Why? And Other Abstract Questions
The Daisy Chronicles

And I give the bad-ass bog award to the following people for being…well…bad-ass.

Island of Reality
Brick City Love
Stacie's Madness

[Sidenote: I had a dream that I showed up at Stacie's house because I happened to know her address. So I introduced myself and we ended up hitting it off. It was a weird dream. Stacie, if you're reading this, I apologize for stalking you in my dreams, although you seemed very nice and we probably could be friends if I wasn't so busy dream-stalking you.]


Okay, I hope you all enjoy your awards.That’s it for today. Have a good one!

11 comments:

Travis said...

People who write like you are the reason that I always want to wad my shit up and flush it, which is where it seems like it belongs most of the time.

I don't know how you can call that shitty. It was frickin awesome.

I can't ever get a firm grasp on adjectives. They elude me.

Anyway, no criticism here at all. I thought it was great! Keep it up!

And you totally deserved both awards. I too, am badass.

anya said...

Thanks for the award! Although I'm wondering why I didn't get the bad-ass one....?? :)
You're a wonderful writer - so descriptive. Good for you.

adrienzgirl said...

You are so silly Lily! Thinking that anyone is going to bash your writing. You write like a champ, and I for one love it!

Descriptive wording is the key to success baby!

Congrats on your awards! You deserve them!

Mr. Apron said...

Lily--

Thanks for the award, and for being vulnerable and sharing your writing with the bloggyworld. It reminds me of a song by Andrew Calhoun, "Broken Feeder." You should pay 99 cents for it, or steal it, if you're feeling all bold and Napster-y.

The passage was lovely.

P.S. -- Yeah, C-Diff!

Ashley said...

That was awesome and I would love to read more.

Erin said...

I loved that passage. Your writing is very good, don't be so hard on yourself. Everyone thinks they write like shit except the people who actually do.

Ed Adams said...

Congrats.

I got nothing else.

PorkStar said...

Stacie? Badass? muahahahaha ok

jk

and I have her address too but I haven't shown up to her doorstep naked (yet).

Yeah daily updates have been the death of me and me porky blog, but im trying, dear, so i can get your attention, love and heavy petting.

And about your novel, it is truly beautifully written what you have so far, it trully is a very fine piece.

Keep up the good work, dear.

Elise said...

Twas pretty prose, m'dear. No complaints from me. Keep on scribbling!

phairhead said...

you should to NaNoWriMo next year. you'll get that novel finished

Emily said...

You are beautiful!