Friday, November 09, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: Doing it in Public

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So tonight I did something I've never done in public before.  I NaNo Noveled in an Internet cafe.  I know that write-ins and other writing get-togethers have always been a common experience for many NaNo participants but I've always only read about them in the forums and blogs and never participated.  I still haven't since this was not a NaNo event nor a group of NaNoers getting together to write.

The thing that I did in public that I've never done in public before is more about the writing than about NaNo really.  I am super ultra self conscious and have always found it difficult to produce under any perception of being under observation.  This goes all the way back to elementary school.  It was true for any classwork but especially for anything creative.

What happened this evening was spontaneous which is also something rare for me and difficult.

It started when my sister's weekend plans were suddenly changed, freeing her up and I suggested we check out what was going on at The Electric Bean, a family friendly Internet Cafe that usually has a Christian band on stage on Friday nights or open mic night or something fun like that and she and I have been going once or twice during each of my visits here for the last year or two.

So we went to listen to the band Truth Be Told.  And drink Santana, a spicy coffee concoction created by one of the servers at The Bean.

Now one of the fun things to do while there is to sign into facebook and announce in your status that you are there.  That was my main reason for taking my netbook and the only other thing I expected to do with it while there was maybe play Word with Friends or read email or fb news feed.  But my aps that I'd used for free write and fiction file work earlier today were still open so when about five minutes after I'd updated my status on fb for the third time I realized that I was in the middle of a sensory rich environment that could provide useful details for several characters and scenes featuring music or music lovers in my NaNo novel so I went to my WhizFolders ap window which is my primary note taking and rough draft application with the intention to take some notes.

In order to minimize the self-consciousness and fear of being observed or having my words read over my shoulder or something, I zoomed down to 25%.  So tiny it looked like insect footprints to me.  I typed in the observation that had prompted me to go to Whiz and then I opened my senses letting my eyes and ears and nose rove the room, keeping my fingers on the keyboard and my eyes anywhere but on the screen and I just typed as fast as I could every sensory observation, some quotes from the band's chatter between songs, some phrases from the songs....

At first i was only recording what i was observing but soon i was riffing on it, listing things that might be observed or happen in a similar environment given the characters and setting of my novel. and at one point the words started sounding like monologue that wasn't me.  It was like the monologues I do for my characters in conscious exercises but this wasn't one of the already created characters.  I think maybe it is someone new trying to be born.  Something else I would have never thought could be possible in a public place for me.

I think I need to try zooming down to 25% and keeping my eyes off the screen for some morning freewrites and see if the magic happens again...

This was a completely new writing experience for me and I feel opened up still after more than six hours have passed.  It is well past 4am Saturday morning as I write this and I'm still pumped and I'm sure the excellent coffee they serve there is playing some role in that but it cannot account for it all.

I'm sure the energetic music from Truth Be Told is playing a roll too.  Afterall if you are feeling the vibration so strong it seems to affect your own heart beat it must be having other effects...  We sat about ten feet from the stage it was LOUD.  My bones thrummed.

The sound quality of this video is poor.  To get a better representation of their sound visit their webpage.

One of the things that I typed over and over just to keep my fingers moving whenever the next observation was slow in coming was the phrase I want to play those drums.  And I do.  Instead I got out two crochet hooks and drummed on the table edge or against each other or on my my knee.  I've told the story here before of my desire from early childhood for playing drums so I won't repeat it.  But I have to say that being ten feet away from a drumset too big to fit on a queen sized  bed watching its drummer in action was just about more than my heart could take.

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