Yesterday afternoon I discovered two large, bright-green-and-black banded caterpillars munching on my fennel. I pulled them off, and they spread a stinky smell that stuck to my fingers. I put them both into an empty watering can, looked them up on the web, and discovered that they were black swallowtail larvae — nearly as striking in their adult butterfly form as they were in the caterpillar stage. Too pretty to kill, but not pretty enough to sacrifice my fennel.
I placed them in the parsley and basil at the other end of the garden. When I checked later, they were in pretty much the same spots I’d left them in, but I started to worry that maybe they weren’t eating, so I put one of the caterpillars back on the fennel and left the other on the Thai basil.
Today the caterpillar on the fennel is doing fine. The one that I left on the basil is nowhere to be seen.
Sometimes it seems as if my characters are just one big mass of body language and dialogue, twitching and chatting their way from scene to scene. Things happen, and they flock together to talk about it. More things happen, and they talk about that, too. And they twitch.
Nod, smile, laugh, cough, hem, haw, choke. Clear throat, raise brow, lift leg, slap. Throw glance, toss head, push bangs, wail. Flush face, cry tears, bend back, pull.
Lord almighty, stop!
Today I spent time on time! Events in the novel are taking place at a rapid pace, which I hadn’t anticipated but quite like. I’m needing to double-check the timeline, to make sure it all makes sense.
The current novel stems from a short story I published several years back titled “Liminal Eyes.” That short story, minus its final scene, is now the first chapter of the novel. Today I used the short story’s final scene as a flashback at the end of chapter six: Trish has now told Spencer that she’s seen the eyes.
Cue ominous music.
This should probably be called Noprogrep 1: today, I didn’t write.
I realized that it’s been a year since Steve’s death. That anniversary adds another layer to events–more agony, more unraveling threads.
Every morning, I reread the previous day’s writing, which helps me keep heading in the right direction, but in the process of rereading, I find that I’m editing–tweaking sentences for rhythm and so on. I know better than to do sentence-level editing in a first draft, but I end up doing it anyway. That’s slowing me down.
Uh oh. Five-year-old Kyle has walked off with one of the dog bones to bury it “someplace nice.”
During the next six weeks, I will be participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon, working on Eyes on the Mountain, the novel whose progress I’ve been reporting on in this blog. You can sponsor me, if you’d like. For info, or just to read the first scene of the novel, visit http://www.clarionwest.org/members/carolynhill/ .
Spencer dug up the dog today. It’s a scene I’ve been driving to get to for over a week. Got there. Sad.