Yesterday wasn’t my best day ever. It happens. Sometimes you simply aren’t on your game and everything feels like it’s falling apart, and about all you can do is hang on and ride everything out. Sort of like whale riding, only without the whale.
But You still get through. I took a nap–something I never do these days–then chatted with a few people. I didn’t get to writing until about eight-thirty, which is late for me, and only wrote for about an hour. The feeling wasn’t there, but I could sense what I wanted to write, so I took my time an worked it down to the paper.
As a treat, here is everything I wrote last night, all six hundred and fifty-five words without an edit. Enjoy.
(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Dinner was an early affair for Annie and Kerry. After Basic Spell Casting came Basic Science, running from thirteen to fifteen, taught by Polly Grünbach, a young woman from Lithuania with a long braid of black hair cascading down her back. When the class was over they had the afternoon off, so they returned to the tower to relax and nap before eating.
They napped because there was an evening class: Astronomy, starting at twenty-one thirty and running until half-past midnight. The classes were held at the Observatory, which sat in the middle of the far-northern area of the campus, far away from all the other building. As it was placed so far from The Pentagram, it made for the longest hike to any classroom: a kilometer and a half straight line, which translated to almost seventeen hundred meters overland or through the tunnel system. That meant walking a mile there and back, and not getting into bed until nearly one in the morning—something neither Annie or Kerry were thrilled to do, but saw no other way out of the predicament.
It was early, however: class wouldn’t start for another ninety minutes. Kerry could have used the time resting, but Annie wanted to go out and explore. They’d covered most of the southern part of the campus, and also walked along the walls, but they’d not ventured north of the Witch House yet. The buildings here weren’t clustered together: there was plenty of wooded land between each classroom, and one was expected to cover six or seven hundred meters to get from one location to another.
They walked the main tunnel from the Arts and History Building towards Memory’s End. Kerry found a surface entrance—more of a sunken tower encasing a spiral staircase—that brought them out a few dozen meters from Memroy’s End. From there they began following the path to the Witch House, then after ten meters turned left onto a not-well defined path that wasn’t in any way marked.
Kerry asked Annie why she wanted to go this way, but her only reply was that she wanted to “see something.” He could have checked the map on his tablet—he found he could get excellent wifi everywhere, even in the tunnels—but every time he hauled out his computer while they were walking, Annie would give him . . . It wasn’t a dirty look but more like a slight irritation, as if she couldn’t believe he was going to hop on-line to look up something while they were out together. He’d quickly learned over the weekend there were times he could bring out the computer, and times he should leave it in his backpack.
This was one of the later times.
It was getting dusky, and the sky over head and to the east was a deep purple. It was just a little after nineteen, and actual sunset would happen in about ten minutes. Kerry had read yesterday that the pathways were illuminated in “unobtrusive fashion,” which he took to mean the lighting was probably just enough to keep someone from wandering off a path and getting lost in the woods. Neither of them had been out past the Pentagram after dark, so wandering to the Observatory along a dark path was going to be an unusual experience.
Annie said nothing for most of the walk: she held Kerry’s hand and sauntered along the path, absorbed in the gathering gloom. She’d been in a good mood after Basic Spells, feeling better about having performed magic, and having seen Lisa get her comeuppance. She’d also expressed pleasure that Kerry had managed the same, which he still found amazing. He told her after Science that he’d felt something tickling the back of his neck, just the way Professor Douglas described it might feel. When that happened he just though of the power going into his image and—pow. Magic.
Every writer has moments when they think they suck. George R. R. Martin has said he’ll look at what he’s written and thing, “How the hell did you ever become a writer? This is crap!” He probably thinks that after he kills off a dozen characters in a tragic orgy held in a dragon’s nest, but that’s another story.
I’ve become used to having ups and downs when I write. There are many times when I think I should just give up and call it a day, because nothing is happening with what I’m doing. Then I read what I’ve posted above and think, “Yeah . . . it’s not that bad,” and I keep going. There are even moments when I think I’ve written some great stuff.
Oh, and my dreams last night–screwed up. One of them had me on a train with a woman I know, going off to rescue someone. I think her kids. I’m not sure. All I know is there were a lot of nervous people around, and I was like, “Yeah, sweat it out, I got this covered.”
Now to be that cool in real life.