Stretching for the #NaNoWriMo Dash

Making the initial little steps in getting in NaNo shape – first by doing short writing sprints in the morning – ten min max – spewing out snippets of scenes that may show up as part of the my NaNo novel start – one of the secrets to NaNo success for me has been not to worry about writing a finished work – there’s always next year to finish it 🙂 focusing on word count lets me shut down part of the editorial brain to just get the quantity out there – out of quantity comes quality. So I’m doing improv with my characters to get used to them and how they talk & act –

never know where the steps we take will lead us

Speaking of improv I took the first of the Make-a-Scene classes Wednesday night at The Centre of Gravity Circus Training Studios. We meet up at The Side Show Cafe at 7:30. There are 11 of us in the class plus Allan Turner our our fearless leader. He explained the intent of the workshop – 4 weeks of improv & theory; then 4 weeks of rehearsals leading up to a show (t.b.a).

Unlike the writing workshops I’ve taken, this one has an even mix of men and women. Some bring experience, some open minds and willingness – the first 30 min are spent in the Cafe chatting & getting acquainted – I had an excellent butter tart (for energy) – but found the music a bit too loud for conversation.

At 8 we went up to Studio G – via the outside fire escape – essentially a large, high-ceiling space with a mirror. Some low benches to sit on. Allan talked about the theory of play and where ideas come from. We did several group improv games – all physical with one that involved some language: the rant choir – each of us was assigned a random topic to talk/rant about when pointed to by Allan as conductor – hand signals for more intensity, quiet – one at a time or three or four at the same time.

My random topic was avant-garde fashion – about which I said “I was walking along Queen West the other day and came across a Lady GaGa pop-up store. She is selling as high fashion surgical bandages – I was able to buy this knee brace ( I was actually wearing one) allowing me to be cutting edge stylish and injured at the same time.” I had more but that’s all I got called on to say.

porch futurism

Having both sides of the brain activated by this workshop will get me in top form for the NaNoWriMo dash in November.

[September 2020 – The Centre of Gravity is no longer at this location at Gerrard/Greenwood, same for Side Show Cafe]

writing sample
writing sample

one of my morning NaNo stretches [plot points revealed before now]

Jim and Birk stood at the rear of the men. MacKlusky was pounding on the front door of the company store. Two other men had gone around to the back to make sure Seldon [the store’s manager] didn’t slip away.

“He ain’ going anywhere.” Birk muttered. “Too much stuff inside. He’d never step away from a profit.”

“Open up Seldon. Man, we know you’re in there.” MacKlusky shouted. “We don’t want to harm you. We know it ain’ your fault wha’s goin’ on [miners are on  strike] but we have families to feed too you know.”

A window on the second floor opened. It was to the left of the front door. A woman’s head stuck out. “Dan’l t’ain’ here.”

It was his wife.

“He’s gone up to the big office. He was sent fer at supper time. He ain here.”

“Then let us in mussus.” MacKlusky stepped back. “We means no harm to you and yours.”

“I canna let you in. It’d be the end of me. He dinna want this to happen. But he’s got no choice He’s sorry he ever let his brother talk him inta runnin’ the cump store. Swore it was easy money. But it isn’t. It isn’t. We has to pay for everything just like you do. Even if it don’ get bought and goes bad we still has to pay for it.”

Birk had never heard Mrs. Seldon talk for so long.

you're no frond of mine so get out of here
you’re no frond of mine, so get out of here

Make-A-Scene

Back to school changes even the lives of those with no kids, or need to go back to school themselves. I live in a hub of schools – at least 8 within walking distance of my place. The start of term means more police cars driving up and down our laneway, fresh tags on our garage door and clumps of smoking teens by the little store that only opens for the school term (2019 note: closed a few years ago).

tags

Some years I sign up for some sort of fall workshop – past years have been the UofT poetry master class, Jacob Scheier’s writing about loss at Ryerson, Spoken Word with Andrea Thompson at OCAD – this year I twigged (thanks to Lizzie Violet) to an Allan Turner workshop: Make-a-Scene – it is lead by a zombie clown, so my spoken-word might become spooken-word in time for my Go Bump set in October. Best part is that The Centre of Gravity Circus Training Studios is a ten minute walk from my place – another neighborhood school to add the the list. (2019 note:Gravity has moved to 2019 noteQueen W.)

samp03

another of the Montaigne prompt pieces:

Of the Arms of the Parthians 66

we had sand

they had rocks

we got bigger rocks

they got sticks

we got tree trunks

they got nets

we got brick walls

they got clear plastic shields

we got radioactive particle dispersers

they got hot woman

we got french ticklers

they got hand guns

we had hand grenades

they took no prisoners

we made no bargains

they had hidden snipers

we had secret agendas

they televised our every move

we learned to moonwalk

they had night vision goggles

we had X-ray specs

they killed on sight

we dressed to kill

they had satellite surveillance

we leaked their every cellphone call

they got mirrored armor

we used mirror balls and dj’s

they got bass and drum

we went tribal on their sorry asses