NaNoWriMo


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Not nearly as far as I'd like to be, but happy with where its going. May have to take off work 'sick' and lock myself away from the world to get it done, so just so you know where I am if you don't here from me ;~) For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, go here. And for those who do, and are perhaps even the slightest bit curious about where I'm headed, here's a short extract: Oh, and its called Grass Kings Chapter One Cape Town is a city on the move; not upward, but outward. It sprawls, like an oil slick across tarmac, until the ocean blocks its path. Freeways coil themselves around islands of tin and corrugated iron, a circus-tent of cable darting in and out of roofs. But it’s not water that separates these islands from the mainland. For most who live in these townships, their birth legacy is the rain that turns their floors to mud. Their inheritance fire, a thief in the night, dancing as their possessions turn to ash. This ash is their message in a bottle, swept up by the South-Easter as it gusts and swirls toward the mountain. It falls on castles and palaces, kings and queens who wear no crowns and fly no banners. Camelot is the DVD on the bookshelf, a sword is the toy forgotten in a child’s cupboard, under a pile of tiny plastic warriors. Yet servants still scurry behind moats of steel and barbed-wire, surrogate mothers to the children of the New South Africa. Chivalry is dead, but the Golden Rule is still emblazoned on their hearts. Those who have the gold, make the rules. They call Cape Town the Mother City, but does she love all her children equally? One could forgive Her for this; never has a mother been tasked with the care of so many unruly offspring. Sarah gazed out the window of the train, comforted by the knowledge that on a day like today, Kalk Bay seemed to carry Mother’s favour. As the train held tightly to the coast, the sea spread out like a bejeweled garment, the sky was impossibly blue. Sarah closed her eyes and let herself drift off in the wash of nostalgia coming from the buildings clustered together a stone’s throw from the shore. Her feet could recall every side street, every inch of cracked pavement. Her fingers could trace the fractured patterns of flaking paint on the walls of antique stores and tiny coffee shops. Childhood may not have had much tangible to give her, no doll houses or gleaming bicycles, but her memories were happy ones. The smell of vinyl as Graham would tell her where to catalogue Billie Holiday, the raging debates that would eventually leave him and his customers breathless with laughter. He had owned the second-hand record store for as long as she could remember, wedged in the corner of a building that included the local café and Mrs. Kensington’s curio shop. She loved the music the wind chimes would make whenever the door opened, she loved Mrs. Kensington’s accent and her mock anger whenever Sarah tried to imitate her. The sound of the sea, as her father and Uncle Robby would leave on the fishing trawler from Kalk Bay Harbour in the mornings. It always seemed to be whispering to her, reassuring her that those men would return safely. She found comfort in the waves, serenity in that liquid thunder. And mostly, she found a sibling, with sea shells in her hair and salt on her lips. At thirteen, she hadn’t quite understood why Graham had died, and why his friend David had wept like she had never seen one man weep for another. Sarah understood now, which is why as soon as the train pulled into Kenilworth Station, she would begin the ten-minute walk that would take her to St Josephs. Nursing had not been an easy path to follow, but her father seemed reinvigorated by the image of his daughter rubbing elbows with doctors, and had thrown himself into his work, determined that money would not be a reason for her to fail. Even her secret sister expressed the desire for Sarah to succeed by offering up more of herself then she had for many years. Every week, the crew of that trawler would shake their heads in amazement, as nets overflowing were dragged on board. In the morning, as the dawn mists obscured the harbour lights, they would all sit quietly, fearing that today would mark the end of the ocean’s generosity. For two years, that day never came. And when it did, Sarah could never have guessed that her sister would take something in return. She’d never know where she found the strength to finish her final year. Her mother had been hysterical for weeks, then struck down by a grim lethargy that banished her to days of sleep and nights of harrowing shivers. His body had never been found; for Sarah there had been no grief, no tears, she’d felt hollow. As if the merest gust of wind would carry her away. Her sister, her betrayer. She could only hope that somewhere within that vast, blue coldness, answers lay like wrecked ships, waiting for her to discover them.


7 Responses to “NaNoWriMo”

  1. Blogger Fence 

    See now, extracts like that aren't fair. Where can we read it all?

  2. Blogger Luke 

    Cool ... you put it up...
    Fence is right you know. :)

  3. Blogger Jugular Bean 

    The problem with NaNoWriMo is that at the end of the month there will be a sudden splurge of novels, and I'm not gonna know what to read, when to read...blah blah!

  4. Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! 

    Reading the extract and being familair with the places you describe brought on a wave of nostalgia of my own.
    Can't wait to read the rest of it.

  5. Blogger LiVEwiRe 

    I do so love your writing. I won't elaborate lest I embarrass you... but you know...

  6. Blogger Kelly 

    I've thought, while reading your other posts, that you should write a book, and hey voila'! You are! It's going to be great, FM. Hurry and finish it, will you? Oh, I guess that's the point of Nano... Have fun. (Whew! I only wrote and erased this FIVE times. =o)

  7. Blogger kyknoord 

    Ticktockticktockticktock. Better finish soon or the clown'll getcha!

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