Last week, I said that I like to spend time knowing my characters before I get on with the story. And this week has sucked in multiple ways (for instance, my blog-readers have decreased by about 20 a day. I guess I should feel grateful that I now know that my blog readers don’t dig it when I go all environmentalist or try to share my favorite cool internet stuff–or maybe you’re all just really, really busy, too?), but I’ll share another character sketch with you in a minute.
Our Sponsor: The Shitty Week
I’ve had a bunch of last-minute, annoying stuff kind of pile up on my plate & I’ve been working like a mad woman, but feeling like I’m not getting anything done. And I haven’t written any new parts of my novel, which really sucks. I am much happier when I can carve out even one afternoon to work on it.
I didn’t have time for a Weeks to Geek post, which hurts, b/c I’ve got some good ones brewing. And I didn’t schedule any fresh WCC interviews, which is also lame, because time is running out, and they are such fun to do!
Also, PEOPLE OWE ME MONEY! Being a freelancer is awesome, but sometimes, it takes people a LOOONG time to pay you, so you have to pay everything late, and deal with your phone ringing off the hook from people to whom you owe money asking, “where my money at?!” My strategy: NEVER answer the phone unless I recognize the number.
I know a guy who likes to tell me I’m doing it wrong, and he’s been doing that lately, and it is annoying. Not-his-way does not equal wrong.
Here are some good things. People don’t like whiners.
Early in the week, I had the HILARIOUS experience of getting blog trolled on my other blog. That was awesome and entertaining. My friend Jamie sent me this post, and if you’re a writer, you should read it. Because it’s good and true. Bad reviews are a fact of life.
I started back to Zumba after the 3 weeks I spent being sick, and it hurts, but not like it did in the beginning. I expect another week’ll see me back to my old stamina.
Tonight, we’re having a dinner party. We’re having a pair of expats over, one of whom is on the internet, and one of the expat’s american wife, whom we have known and loved much longer than the Cornish Hubby, still the subject of the sentence was expats (sorry, B). I like giving dinner parties. It makes me feel urbane (even though I never give urbane dinner parties), and it gives me an excuse to drink too much.
Two people I admire and respect told me they dug my little piece in the Sun-Gazette about David Small. It ran yesterday. I’ll link to it once it’s up online, but the S-G doesn’t publish online in real time. So it’ll be a day or two more.
Had a cool lunch meeting yesterday with my news media friends and a new acquaintance.
Got a copy of a magazine featuring a story by le moi, which is a total rush. I’ll be scanning in a PDF for “My Stuff Online,” which will have to get a new section for hard copy clips.
I learned new stuff. I like to learn new stuff.
What you need to know about this week’s process
L’n’L stands for Lauren and Leon, two of the other charcters in my book. They are a hilariously dysfunctional couple.
This is me kind of writing my way through the narrator’s, Paige’s, love relationship. I think it’s still soggy in the middle. But relationships can be characters. L’n’L’s relationship is based kind of closely on a few I’ve encountered over the years, but Paige’s needs to be less tumultuous. She’s the narrator/guardian of her three friends (I think). I don’t know yet what function Paige’s relationship with Chester will have in the book, but I know I need to know about it, so I’m writing it. And now I’m sharing it with you.
And now, the Sketch: Paige’s relationship with Chester
Sometimes me and Chester go over to L ‘n’ L’s place for beer and cards. Chester’s pretty good at Blackjack, and Leon is a pretty sore loser. We gossip on the way home and share a cigarette we bum from Leon who’s a secret smoker. I’m in it for the aftermath. I think Chester just likes beating Leon because he’s a foot taller.
Lauren and I conspire in the kitchen or while she’s putting kids to bed, and the boys suck down Newcastle after Newcastle. We usually join them later. Sometimes I make this mustard dip for the pretzels and it’s always gone within minutes. They are big eaters. Chester and I are bigger drinkers. But we’re also both employed.
And we don’t have kids.
In fact, Chester found out that he’s not fertile. He found out on accident, sort of. One of his past psycho hose beasts got pregnant and tried to nail him for child support. He did the math and figured out it couldn’t be his kid. So when he went for the paternity test, he had his sperm checked at the same time. He was considering a vasectomy, but was basically willing to pay any amount to avoid a cut in his scrotum, no matter how small and “relatively painless” they promised it would be.
The doc said he’d never seen such shitty swimmers.
Chester said he felt for a minute like he was going to drown, like this wet, heavy wad of, “I’ll never be a father” hit him in the chest, then he said there was a slow warm of joy that started in his gut and spread out to his fingertips and toenails, and he literally skipped out to his car.
Chester’s a little guy. About five feet four inches tall, only an inch and a bit taller than I am. He’s got black hair, but most people don’t know because he shaves it studiously, and these huge blue eyes that can look through you or past you, but never just at you.
On one of our first dates, he told me he shaves his head all the time because his hair’s so dark he gets a tan line if he doesn’t, and he wants to keep his hairline a subject of mystery between his mom and sisters, all of whom are placing bets on whether or not he’s receding.
He’s also waifish. He only eats three food items, so grocery shopping for him is easy and cheap. Plus, his non-love of food has resulted in a weight difference for me since we moved in together of minus twenty pounds. We get most of our calories from beer.
He was pissed I made him wear condoms when we first got together. He was like, “what?! I’m sterile.”
“When were you last tested?”
“There you go.”
He looked at me for a minute with his chin pointed at the door. I thought he was going to go. He said, “You know, Paige, you’re a smart cookie.”
“Thank ya kindly.” I said, gave a big wink and ripped open the Trojan with my teeth.
Later, it was swell to not worry about getting knocked up.
I suspect the reduced stress on that front accounted for at least a little of the weight loss.
Anyhow, so L’n’L envied us our fresh relationship the way people who’ve been unhappy together for a long time envy newlyweds. It was hard for them to hide sometimes. I’d kiss Chester on the cheek and Lauren would blurt, “Get a room, you two.”
We’d all turn our raised eyebrows at her, and she’d sigh and wave a hand in the air as if waving goodbye to her happiness.
If I brought Chester a beer, I’d catch Leon glaring at Lauren from the corner of my eye.