Monday, August 11, 2014

CTC29 day 11

The prompts this month have led me to think deeply about my writing. I'm learning a lot about the craft of writing (of course!) and about how and why I write.

I don't think I've ever written a mentor character. Even when I've run role playing games, I've avoided having a character who's a font of wisdom and advice. I don't have a problem with the archtype itself - I've really adored the mentors in books I've read. I think it's more that mentor character don't come to me intuitively. Having to write one for today's prompt feels like a solid writerly workout :)

Today's bit of fiction is not connected to anything else. The two characters only exist in my head, although they seem to be making themselves comfortable there. I do want to write more about these two.

"This isn't a book, or a fairytale. I'm not the magical old lady turned fairy godmother to tell you how to build a castle out of the piles of shit around you."

"But... your books..."

She snorted a laugh. "My books are wordy ledgerdemain! Yes, each novel has a happy ending - because I know when to stop. Finally getting pregnant after so many years barren - everyone's happy! Baby showers and painting the nursery, and not a word about late night pacing with a colicky baby that just won't stop crying. No mention of the terrifying illness that child never really recovers from, or the teenager who runs away, or having to decide if the adult your child has become is really going to stop drinking this time."

The young man goggled at her as she sagged back in the armchair. He'd never seen her like this. At conventions and workships she always found something to smile about. In person and in her books she managed to find the silver lining in the darkest of times.

She rubbed the heels of her hands over her eyes and cheeks. "I'm sorry, you certainly didn't come here to hear an old lady whine." Looking up again, she hoisted a smile onto her face. "I wasn't expecting company..." she trailed off, looking more closely at the person sitting across from her. She took in his clothes - expensive when new, but looking slept in. She'd called him, "Young man," but now realized the emphasis should have been on 'young'.

"How old are you?" she asked softly.

It was his turn to shrink back into his chair. He couldn't bring himself to lie to his idol. "Fifteen," he muttered, then rushed on, "but that's not the point. I've read all of your books, watched your talks and workshops online. Your books are so good, so powerful... I want... I want to ..." Now that he was here, he didn't know what to say. All his carefully planned speeches flew away from him. He thought that, someone, she would understand even if he didn't know how to express his desperate longing to be understood.

"Let me make you a cup of tea," she said, standing.

"Tea helps?" he asked, looking half sceptical and half eager.

"Well, no - tea only solves the desire for tea," she said kindly, "but it is a pleasant distraction. Making and drinking a cup of tea gives you time to catch your breath, let your mind settle. Tea itself doesn't solve anything, but sometimes, while your body is busy making and drinking tea, your mind has time to offer a solution."

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