Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Freewriting as Fuel

I'm back! Back home, that is, and very much plugged back in. Thank you all for the well-wishes - I did have a great anniversary, a lovely vacation, and a wonderful birthday. To my great happiness, my birthday was exactly what I wanted: a delicious breakfast, then a fantastic, grueling four-hour hike, a hot shower, and an amazing and enormous dinner (with wine, of course). Call me crazy, but I love the feeling of happy, exhausted accomplishment when I finish a long hike, with a delicious feast as a well-deserved reward. And besides, with a view like this at the top of the mountain, I'd hike it any day, feast or not:


That picture doesn't even do it justice, because I got way too much of the top of the mountain in the foreground, and not enough of the view beyond it! It's a 360 degree view, which I also couldn't capture, of the Green Mountains and the Mad River Valley, and on a clear day, you can even see across Lake Champlain to the Adirondacks. It's gorgeous.

At any rate, I'm back at my job and at my desk, and still using the impetus from the movie to propel me into some work. The more I freewrite, the more I'm inspired to keep going, so I'm going to use that fuel to help me churn out as much as I can while I have time today. It does feel great to be writing, even if I have to give myself little do-nothing breaks for additional motivation - that vacation mentality is a little hard to shake.

So, while I kick my butt back into gear, I thought I'd post a little bit of what I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I did say I might do that, after all, and I like to keep my promises...even if I'm the only one who remembers them. And yes, it's maybe possible that I didn't have time to come up with a longer blog post. Maybe.

This little snippet is from the Tibetan lifetime (since that's what the movie was about, and what I was in the middle of researching when I stopped to watch it), and as always, it's barely been reread, much less edited. When I wrote it, I was thinking of this being the very beginning of the Tibetan section... but we'll see.
It was winter, thick and heavy, like the snows that blanketed the peaks and hid all of the passes. It was no time for a journey.
Tashi slid his fingers – brown and leathered and rough, like the rest of him – over the parchment. He couldn’t read the blocks of black ink, spidery and strange, but he knew what they said; he had gotten a lama to tell him the story the parchment held, and he’d memorized it, fast, a flash of lightning seared into his mind. There was nothing to be gained from it anymore; he should throw it into the fire and let it bake his tsampa for him, let it cook the dough along with the tea for his breakfast, but for some reason he held onto it anyway, and kept touching it, as if it had more to tell him.
Dawn crept through the cracks in the tent, blue and sheer with frost. It was cold, bone cold, with storms chasing the clear sky into darkness: no time for a journey, and yet here he was, embarking on one anyway.
He wouldn’t have done it for anyone else. Tashi stirred the hearth, blowing on it gently, until it caught and the embers blossomed into flame. No other soul could have called him back; not Diki, long-dead anyway, taken from his side by a wasting sickness ten years after they married; not his brothers (he refused to dignify them with their names, even in the silence of his mind) or their pale, weak daughters, or – he added quickly, before memory could settle too deeply into him – anyone else. Only Dorje, his son, could force him to go home.

54 comments:

  1. Glad your vacation went so well! I don't think I could survive a four hour hike. Freewriting can be very helpful--just let the words flow without thinking about them too much. I usually do this to brainstorm problems in my WIP that need fixing.

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    1. Yep, exactly!! I forget how helpful it can be sometimes. It's such a good tactic.

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  2. Good for you, Liz. I'm glad you had such a fantastic vacation, you deserved it! And, wow, what a stunning picture. I just started biking in the mornings and that heart-pounding, sweat inducing feeling brings out such feelings of "job well done, Elsie" :)

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    1. Thank you! It was wonderful :) And yes, there IS such a sense of accomplishment - good for you for biking that hard!!

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  3. Glad you had a great time. It's already about 80 out here and your snippet made me shiver. I hate the cold.

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  4. You're just doing all the good!
    Glad you had a wonderful trip. Love the excerpt! :D

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  5. Wonderful snippet and gorgeous photo!

    I'm glad you had a good time. It's great when vacations work out like they should. :)

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  6. Great to have you back! The thought of taking a four hour hike makes me tired, so I'm not sure how you survived that! Glad to hear you're back at your story again. You'll be done with it in no time.

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    1. Haha, I know, it sounds worse than it is! It was actually a lot of fun :)

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  7. Welcome back! Glad it was a great birthday vacation. I'd enjoy a view like that.
    I've never tried freewriting. Maybe I should?

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    1. You should!! I highly recommend it. Great for getting unstuck, as well as for solving thorny plot issues.

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  8. I was gone too! It's nice to go, refresh and recharge. The picture looks so beautiful. I like the story! There is so much in this one small part-His character is intriguing

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    1. Thanks, Birgit! I'm so glad you got a vacation, too!

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  9. A meal is so satisfying after working hard for it. And that view! I really need to go east one of these days and explore. Glad you had a great vacation. Now back to work. :PP

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    1. Yes, please do - and I need to go west! Ok, since you told me, back to work I go ;)

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  10. Four hours in the hot sun is one thing, but hiking too? I'm exhausted just thinking about that! lol I bet that wine tasted like heaven. :)

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  11. Glad to hear you had a great vacation and birthday, and this is another lovely snippet. TINY quibble: lightning versus lightening. I think you want the former here, not the latter.

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    1. You're so right, and thank you for catching that! I'm fixing it now :)

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  12. Really nice set up in your writing!

    Glad you had a great time away. I do love a good hike myself!

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  13. Wow. You nailed the voice in that one - it sounds like someone who's tired and weary, doing what they're doing against their own wishes and better judgement. You captured a lot in a few paragraphs there. Good stuff. ^_^

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    1. Thanks, Mason! It's always an adventure to post these snippets - I appreciate the support! :)

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  14. Wow, that's a gorgeous pic! And great excerpt- your writing is so lyrical and evocative. I always enjoy getting to take a peek at it.

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    1. Thanks so much, Leandra! I really appreciate it :)

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  15. Liked your snippet and glad you had a fabulous birthday :)

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  16. "and the embers blossomed into flame" -- so beautiful. This whole passage was. It also serves to build nice intrigue. Free writing suits you well.

    Welcome back. Glad your vacation was everything you wanted. Oh, mountains...this Midwest girl years for them.

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  17. I think I've said this before, but I just have to say that your writing is just delicious. So evocative and I feel like I'm just sinking into it :) Glad to hear you had a nice vacation and that is an amazing view!

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    1. Thanks so much!! I really appreciate it :)

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  18. I can tell you've been seeping yourself in research. Your writing is so detailed--and you come across as an expert about this time/place. Love reading your work as always!
    And I love the picture of your hike!

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  19. This excerpt is awesome. I really enjoyed the detail and it brought me right into that world. It definitely has a Tibetan vibe. Glad you had an amazing vacation. That hike sounds awesome and the view is gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks so much - it's REALLY good to hear that it has a Tibetan vibe! That's so encouraging :)

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  20. Happy, happy belated birthday, Liz!! What a jaw dropping view that is! Woo. I feel like going on a hike myself to catch a glimpse of something like that.

    Welcome back and hope you're rejuvenated and writing away!

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  21. Congratulations on an awesome vacation. There's nothing like the mountains. I'm planning our September beach getaway right now. Great excerpt! Vacations can recharge us to jump back in and take on any challenge!

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    1. Yay! So glad you get a vacation soon. Planning it is the next best thing to going, I think :)

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  22. It's so wonderful to get away. We can appreciate our little lives so much more. The view looks amazing. You need a panoramic app for your camera phone. My son takes cool shots using it! I need to look it up too:)

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  23. So glad you had such a great vacation and came home feeling rejuvenated! We all need a little break at times...

    I absolutely love your excerpt! Beautiful writing and imagery!

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  24. I want to disappear into those clouds!

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  25. Hey Liz,

    I saw the Soulless release in my feed, and want to wish Crystal well, but moreso wanted to come here and see what you're up to. Glad you had a great vacation/birthday/anniversary! The trifecta of getaways.

    Loved the freewriting exercise you did. I could really visualize the terrain, feel the cold, understand his apathetic feelings toward his brothers with that one simple statement. Looks like it's getting the juices nice and runny.

    Working on a few things...will of course keep you posted. ;) Good to see you, as always.

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    1. Thanks so much, Mike! It's great to hear that feedback. And great to see YOU!

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  26. beautiful bday, beautiful scenery, beautiful words!
    how wonderful to get it all!

    and thanks for supporting my broken branch falls blog tour!

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  27. I'm so impressed by all of your snippets and this one is no exception. It always amazes me when you say these are unedited because they are so perfectly written!

    Glad you had such a nice vacation and I hope life has settled into a normal routine again without too many headaches. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Julie! I really appreciate that. They ARE unedited, which makes me think that maybe I should STOP editing...I often dis-improve (is that a word??) my writing!

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