Friday, April 08, 2005

Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust--

Went to Coffee Xchange tonight. Needed a change of scenery, and wanted to focus on some writing. Turned out to be a damnfine idea. We've gotten to the point of the new draft that the big level changes are happening, and I got through two difficult scenes that do a lot to set up the conflicts that should see this story on its course to the end. Have a lot of questions still -- know the ending, know up to the point I wrote tonight, and have some ideas about the in-between, but not completely. The Old Woman is turning out to be something of an enigma right now -- her role is bigger now, but not sure yet completely how. But increasing her presence is intensifying the conflict quite a bit, and giving me more ways to sneak in all the levels of this story.

Had one of those nights, too, where I seemed tuned into small details around me. Two things made the bike ride over on Water memorable. It was pitch, pitch black tonight, and those backstreets can get very, very dark, middle of the city or no. The blackness was this living, breathing thing that chewed away at my bike light until I was just this tiny tendril of light in the night, the ground beneath me blinking red from my reflector light. And I passed the house -- this weird, wondrous, spooky place. The yard is filled with these metal sculpture things. Even by day they are bizarre, sometimes disturbing, sometimes delightful. At night, the yard is lit up with Christmas lights, and the figures stand up out of the light and the shadows of the cacti and trees and bushes. It's like some phantasmagora, spooky and compelling at the same time. Past that, the night swallows up the street again, and there is a lonely light at one intersection where there is one of those center thingies with sculptures and plants. There was, oddly, a man sitting in the middle of it, by the small light. He had a flashlight, and just sat there, and called out a friendly greeting as I bike past.

[Minor Update: Gerg being Gerg, I had this odd moment after I passed him, thinking "that was no man, but some fae creature waiting for..." Something. And then I started wondering -- there's magic in crossroads in the old stories, and this was a sort of crossroads. Do intersections count? And does the round center piece add to the magic? Like maybe a bit of a fairy circle thing going on?]

At Coffee Xchange, I kept having to stop and ponder, and so frequently looked out the window. To the north, on the east side of the street, there is a strip of stores, all glass fronted. And the cars -- many of them, it being Campbell on a Friday night -- turned the windows into this dancing parade of headlight reflections, like the whole strip had come alive with odd, alien fireflies. It was one of those moments of accidental beauty that can pop up in urban landscapes, and everytime I had to think I looked up and watched the dancing lights.

And the mocha I had, for the record, was divine. As was the mint tea I had a bit later. But writing. It was good. But dear me, I have a lot of stuff in the ol' writing book to type into the computer this weekend.


At 9:17 pm, Anonymous j-hop said...

holy mama cow.. i know what house you are talking about.. it's got heeby geebies written all over it... eeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

goose pimples

At 11:36 pm, Blogger Gregory said...

It is damn spooky. In retrospect, I think the spookiest part, though, was the Christmas lights. They add such a -- out of place feel to it, here in April. The whole thing just gives out vibes. And the dude in the the center thingie at the intersection -- that just added to the whole thing, like the street was some borderland between this world and some other.

At 11:05 am, Blogger rie said...

sounds like the perfect tim burton moment. those are so fabulous to have!

At 6:15 pm, Anonymous Ellen Kushner said...

Wow, we really do have the same taste in poetry - I quoted "penguin dust" in my Sound & Spirit show on WEDDINGS (or was it MARRIAGE?) . . . anyhow, you can check it out online at our website's Alphabetical show listings.

At 6:16 pm, Anonymous Ellen Kushner said...

(hit the damn button too soon - here's my URL)


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