Wednesday, December 02, 2009

National Novel Writing Month - Progress Report #3

Final tally for the National Novel Writing Month project is 19,026 words, which works out to 634 words per day. That’s quite a bit better than just-over-400 average I had going on a previous project before I started this November thing - but not even close to the 1667 per day I would have needed to hit the 50,000 word goal. It was an interesting experience though, and I’m looking forward to finding out how much better I do with it next year.

The last third of the month found the disenchanted President giving his final State of the Union speech, one that he had not vetted - nor even shared - with any of his staff, or anyone else at all. It basically called for term limits for Representatives and Senators, as well as sweeping changes in the way election campaigns are financed and executed; and it offered a rare moment of candor from the President to the people, live on TV. That got the documentary filmmaker into his car for a road trip up the eastern seaboard, from Washington to New York - interviewing people along the way to find out what they thought of the President’s speech. And that’s pretty much where I was when November came to an end. Now it’s on to short stories to submit to Ichabod’s Sketchbook. But just for kicks, here’s an excerpt of my National Novel Writing Month effort:

"Morris bin Aziz was a non-religious Jew who had been born to a lapsed American Jewess and an Arab atheist who had sought and been granted asylum in the United States on religious grounds; and because of that bizarre cocktail of cultural ingredients, he had always operated under the assumption that he would have to work double hard for anything he hoped to earn in the United States because - even though he was, by virtue of being born there, a citizen of the United States - he looked different than the white people who pretty much dominated everything he could see around him when he was growing up in the 1970s. He would even have to work hard for the things due him as an American citizen, more so than white American citizens, because conservative people were not deep thinkers and did not believe in progress. His parents had taught him about liberal and conservative early on, because they had to deal with it every day being what they were; and Morris had taken to it like southerners to white sheets and hoods.

And so it was natural that he became drawn to filmmaking as a way to express his liberal leanings in an otherwise conservative society and he had taken to filmmaking with much the same gusto that he had taken up liberalism and he caught a reasonably lucky break when he was able to secure financing for his first feature from a group of Israeli Palestinians who had become fabulously wealthy due a freakish lemon tree inheritance after the passing of a member’s grandmother who had been something of a matriarchal figure not only to the member’s family but also to the family in the neighboring town and the funeral had taken several hours and the group was now trying to follow the grandmother’s wishes and get into show business in some way and they had proudly put up the money for bin Aziz to make his first movie.

But the movie had fared poorly at the box office and the group had become disenchanted with show business at the same time that they still wanted to honor the wishes of their dearly departed grandmother; and so they were at a loss as to how to proceed. Bin Aziz came to the rescue and generously offered to make one more movie on their dime - he had found that he quite liked the work, even if the initial result had been subpar - and that if the second movie failed they could take it out on him in whatever manner they saw fit. But if it succeeded, they would go into business together and keep making movies and continue to honor the dead grandmother for years and years to come.

And behold, the group of Israeli Palestinians - who, by the way, were non-religious - agreed to the bargain but did not tell bin Aziz what they planned to do with him if the movie failed. Bin Aziz assured them that it would not be necessary to plan for such a contingency, but if they wanted to waste their time doing so, they were more than welcome to it."

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