Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zzzz...

This year, I'm participating in the insane awesome A to Z blogging challenge, which entails posting EVERY SINGLE DAY during the month of April, except for Sundays. Each day's theme corresponds to a different day of the alphabet: 26 days, 26 posts. I'll be blogging each day this month on some aspect of my current work in progress (WIP).

Z is for Zzzz...

Which is what I'm going to do for a nice, long time after today! Congratulations, A to Z-ers: WE MADE IT! Any bets on how many people will use the same 'word' for today's posts? I'm guessing at least two other people, personally.

Believe it or not, I do have a snippet related to this topic: it's another brandest of the brand new bits from the lifetime in India. Refresher for all newcomers (are there any at this point? If so, I salute your perseverance!); if you know all of this already, feel free to skip to the next paragraph: soul #1 is Emma, the the daughter of a British Civil Service official, living with her father in India around 1890; and soul #2 is Aryahi, Emma's mysterious new Indian maid, who doesn't act like a servant at all, is far too beautiful, and who seems much more interested in Emma's father's military intelligence than she does in cleaning the house. Oh yes, and who also happens to be an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga.

Today's snippet comes at a moment very early on in this story, when Emma is allowing herself a moment to rest (or 'zzzz') before she continues working on her monumental list of tasks for the day. It's a bit long, I know, but it's the LAST DAY of the challenge, so I thought, why the heck not? It really is brand new - I free-wrote it as a brainstorm a few days ago and haven't even read it again since - and I'm also experimenting with POV, with mixed results, as you'll see:
It was the third most important day of her life, but of course Emma didn't know that until many years later. Had she known, she might have dealt with the new maid quite differently; but then the future is always much clearer once it has already passed. Exactly what she would have done differently is something only Emma herself could say, and she refused to speak of the events recounted on these pages for the rest of her life.
But that was much later. On this particular day, when everything was about to begin, Emma leaned against the door frame of the parlor and allowed herself a moment of stillness. All around her, the house chattered with an urgent list of items that needed her attention; she closed her eyes, and listened instead to the city. Sound streamed through the window, bright and clear and hot as the sun: tea sellers hawking their sweet, spiced wares in strident Hindi and broken English; the clatter of wheels and hooves on the packed streets; bicycle horns; shouts and laughter and arguments in at least five different languages; in other words, all of the churn and chatter and joyful misery that was Calcutta. 
Emma told herself often that she quite liked this new life in India, and so she was surprised, that hot spring morning, to find tears of homesickness in her eyes as she rested against the door. She brushed them away with quick, impatient hands, and straightened. There was plenty more to do; no time, she thought, for mooning about London. She had thought this many times over the last few months, and would think it many more in the months to come, and indeed if she ever stopped to wonder why she had to tell herself so often not to long for England, and to enjoy her new life, she would have been quite puzzled by her own emotions. Luckily, Emma was at that time exceedingly stubborn and determined, and so blissfully ignorant of her own internal life that she was able to escape the depression and frustration that such awareness of her feelings would have brought. She therefore lived in a state of relative contentment, marred occasionally by unexplained bouts of dissatisfaction and anxiety, which naturally irked her exceedingly, but always passed. That is, she had been able to remain ignorant and content, until this exact spring day, at this exact hour, which brings us back to the reason for this story.
Emma shook herself out of her silly stupor (or so she called it), and walked briskly down the hall to her father’s bedroom, where the bedclothes had to be aired, and the windows cleaned, and the fire set for the evening, which were only the first in a long mental list of her chores for the day.
Imagine her surprise, then, when she walked through the door and found all of these tasks already completed. She stopped, frowning, until she saw the slight form kneeling by the fireplace, placing the last of the kindling in the freshly-swept hearth. Then her brow cleared.
"Good morning," she said, "You must be the new maid." 

Thanks to the very smart Nicki Elson, I realized that I forgot to add a closing statement. Oops! Here 'tis! Congratulations, A to Z-ers!! We made it! A huge THANK YOU to the creators and hosts, who I know worked much harder than everyone else - and considering how sleepy I am, that's truly amazing. You guys rock! I'll be back on my regularly scheduled Wednesday posts next week. Thanks to everyone for coming by!

40 comments:

  1. Congrats on finishing the challenge! :D

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  2. Wonderful excerpt! I've enjoyed the ones I've read. Congrats on finishing the Challenge :D I'll definitely keep stopping by!

    Cheers,
    Jen

    PS: Enjoy the rest. You deserve it!

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  3. Nice build up to...whatever it is that happens on that fateful day. You've done a really great job of mixing in excerpts and character back story into each day's theme. Your story is a complex tale for sure, but you've got such good focus on the overall picture, and that shines in your posts. It's fun feeling like an insider on this project.

    Yeah, I'd put money on a few more zzzz's in the challenge today---and they are well deserved.

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  4. I just love the opening sentence to this excerpt. You always reel me in right from the start with these.

    Congrats on a great Challenge!

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  5. Wait....I want o know what happens next! Ok So I have to buy your book when it is finished:) Congrats on the A to Z. Yes more than 1 have used the Zzzzzz's as their ending. We made it! Have to do a big nice stretch. I will feel great when I visit all the other blogs:)

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  6. This is the first Zzzzzzzzz post I've seen, but very creative! Enjoy your napping.

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  7. Congrats on making it though the challenge this year. ZZZZ and many more.

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  8. Yippee! Cheese all around. We're the rocktastic survivors of another epic year, and you've got an amazing story going on that's going to rock the world. =)

    True Heroes from A to Z

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  9. That's a good maid.

    Oh I think the tea sellers would hawk their stuff in Hindi, Hindu.

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  10. Congrats on finishing the challenge! I'm so impressed. Enjoy your zzzz's!

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  11. Awesome final post!

    Please visit my blog, http://www.thatgirlybookworm.blogspot.ca

    My theme featured books and their titles which started with the letter of the day. Congrats on finishing.

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  12. Nice writing, as always! My final snippet is also a bit long, but I had to end it just so.

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  13. You did so much work for the challenge. I've enjoyed reading about your research and your excerpts. Seems like you have lots of pieces of your book completed, at least in rough form.

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  14. Obviously those were the first words she spoke to the maid, right?
    I'm with you on the nap. Congratulations on completing the Challenge!

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  15. Congrats! I enjoyed reading snippets about your characters, I am curious to know about the rest of your book.
    I know you visited my blog and read some of the stories. I would appreciate it if you would take a few moments to vote for your favorite ones.
    http://peeekaaabooo.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-z-challenge-wrap-up.html

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  16. What a great scene! You really have an amazing voice--it draws me right in :)

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  17. Congratulations on making it all the way through the A to Z Challenge and hitting it out of the park :)

    I look forward to seeing what your blog looks like when it's not challenge time! LOL

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  18. Happy end of the challenge! A strong finish for you. You're the second person who's picked Zzzz for a topic. I think we all might be tired.

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  19. Happy ending to the challenge, I am experiencing the withdrawal symptoms already :)

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  20. Still really enjoying these story excerpts and looking forward to the whole thing. ^_^ And congrats on making it to the end!

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  21. Liz, it has been lovely to get to know you and your wonderful writing. Hope to stay connected long after A to Z has faded.

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  22. Great post for the finale! Aren't you glad to be at the end of the challenge...well, other than the fact that it's kind of sad, too, like graduating. But to every ending there's a new beginning, and we've met, so now a new writerly friendship has formed. :-)
    I'm looking forward to more of your posts. My site might be naked awhile.
    Best,
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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  23. Wake up. Liz! You have company! :-)

    You writing is packed full of details and emotions, yet so fluid. Nicely done! I'd keep reading more of this. :-)

    I'm glad we met on the A to Z! Congratulations for completing the challenge.

    And yes, ZZzzzz sounds good now. We all might get a little extra sleep this month. ;-)

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  24. Um, that wasn't long at all. You're so silly!

    So, we finished the Challenge, Liz. We did it! Yay! I'll be taking a break from blogging for a bit but I'll be back to blogging soon enough and I'll be visiting you throughout. So glad we met!!

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  25. Must have been an exhausting month for you, Liz. Congrats for finishing the challenge! Now, go get some Zzzzzs. lol

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  26. You did a fantastic job Liz! So much talent in your writing, I'm intrigued by the beautiful servant/goddess incarnate.

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  27. Congrats on making it to the end! :) I enjoyed reading all your snippets!

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  28. Congrats on completing the challenge, Liz! Sleep. Hibernate. Crawl into a dark, comfy place for a little while. You absolutely deserve it! :) Big hugs!

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  29. I like how the language of the story has that turn of the century feel. It gets me into Emma's point of view really well. :)
    I enjoyed meeting you this A to Z, and congrats on a great job!
    Kirsten @ A Scenic Route

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  30. Congrats on finishing. I've been resting since it ended as well.

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  31. Hooray for sleep! I ended up crashing pretty hard those last few days, so I apologize for being late visiting.

    Interesting segment. The POV experiment, would this be third person omniscient? It seems more distant than your other snippets.

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  32. Congratulations on completing the challenge! I think we all deserve a few zzzzzs!

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  33. Hi Liz. It was great to meet you yesterday at GrubStreet's Muse and the Marketplace Conference 2014! Love your fresh, energetic writing style. In case you lost my info, visit me at laledavidson.com.
    Be well!

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  34. Great excerpt, and way to go on finishing strong. A2Zzzzzz... May the 4th be with you!

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  35. Congratulations on completing the challenge!

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  36. Congrats on getting through the challenge! :-)

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  37. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

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  38. Congrats on finishing the challenge! I don't blame you one bit for catching up on the Zzzs! I'm right there with you sister!

    Great snippet, by the way :)

    Sam

    Writing Through College

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  39. Choosing my life. I never thought of it that way except when I look back on things and realize I brought myself to this point in time. It is much better to choose every moment, isn't it?

    Food for thought.

    Whatever you choose I'm sure it will be the right thing for you. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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