This is the month where 500,000 people commit to writing 50,000 words. Writing a novel in the month of November has been my form of insanity for the last 3 years. Here are a few of my words:
--From my work in progress about Candice, a young shaman newly arrived in False Key, Florida--
I consulted the map from the Tourist Office. Good news, the doctor of alternative medicine was located in right down the street from the youth hostel. According to the Visitor’s Guide, Spare Change, the magic shop recommended by the bartender in Anchorage, was directly next door. It had been an apothecary in a previous incarnation, now being run as a tea shop. I expected an intimate encounter in a dusky room filled to the ceiling with shelves of dusty bottles and jars. But the moment I walked into the brightly tea shop, I hated it.
The place was brimming with hundreds of chattering people, many of whom waited in the long line leading to the hostess stand. A dozen staff members flitted around tables like fish through a coral reef—many of them male, all of whom were dressed as women. Dozens of tiny, round two-top tables topped in slate filled the cavernous, circular room.
Each table had some kind of partitioning device separating it from its neighbors. Around the near edge of the room, patrons huddled over boiling cauldrons billowing steam to the vaulted ceiling.
“My tea is cold,” complained a woman sitting at table with a gauzy mosquito netting draping over it attached to the ceiling. A waiter adjusted her bunsen burner. The resulting flames leaping up at the netting were put out by a bikini-clad waitress with a fire extinguisher, who did his work with a yawn and moved on, as if he did this every day several times and had more important matters to attend to.
“Hey, Beakface!” Someone called out and waved.
Across the room, someone else waved back. “Hey, Tony!” People at Beakface’s table nodded at the acknowledgement.
In a section beyond this, the tables had dark curtains stitched with fantastical creatures shielding the occupants from view. The corner booths had rice paper screens constructed around them. And the far wall was a row of swinging doors with an endless stream of waitstaff hustling tea trays to tables.
Where the table curtains were parted, the occupied ones had chalk markings on their blackboard tabletops, some runes or hieroglyphs, Cyrillic lettering I recognized from the Russian Orthodox churches in my village, others with more familiar words like Darjeeling, but many more I had never seen. People were playing checkers, board games, dominoes, or cards.
Finally, it was my turn for the harried young nurse making his way down the line from the check-in desk to query me. He wore a white lab coat over a black bustier, which he filled admirably. Ten-inch, electric blue platform boots and European style frameless glasses completed his ensemble. His hair, poking out from a paper white nurse’s hat, shone in tousled, raven curls on his head.
He kept his eyes fixed on his clipboard it as he spoke. “Name and occupation?”
I hesitated before saying, “Snow. Unemployed.”
He made a note and I could read his writing upside down--Candice, shaman.
I leaned forward and spoke quietly, not wanting the people behind me to hear. “I keep slipping into other creatures’ points of view. By accident.”
He wrote the letters “ADD,” which I interpreted to mean Attention Deficit Disorder.
“Cup or intravenous?”
“Um, cup, definitely.”
“Sign this waiver.”
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