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Thursday, November 10, 2011

My NaNoWriMo - First Installment

My NaNoWriMo project is tentatively titled Love Letters from a Stoic. It's the story of a World War II romance between a couple who have never smiled in a single photograph. When they laugh, it sounds literally like ha, ha, ha. They itemize every expenditure they ever made line-by-line in black ledgers and they never own a washer and dryer. Children are excluded from their marriage because they "cost too much."

These are the first paragraphs of the piece I'm working on. They are rough, so please pardon any errors or repetitions, but they introduce the importance of recording this stoic love affair wrapped within the bigger history of the world:

I have a fascination with writing about ordinary people. Not ordinary people who do extraordinary things, but the ones simply living life without recognition. They go through the monotony of the every day, day after day, with little notice, yet in someone’s heart they are special. The crux of it, I guess, is that if they matter in the whole scheme of the universe, then I do as well.

By the time we hit our 30s, we fall into our idiosyncratic habits. By the simple virtue, however, that we each and all of us have a routine, we do not stand out from the others. It is this not standing out that appeals to me. It speaks to me in that primal place where I ruminate about being remembered after my death. And not just for a few years, but into the far distant future. I’ve shored up those odds by reproducing and creating a generational effect. At least my own children and theirs will recall something about me for some time after I’m gone.

But what then? I’ll pass into history, my mark on the world no longer attributed to me. Just a mark gradually eroded by time. That’s the leveling factor. Sooner or later it happens that way to the great majority. It keeps us all ordinary, despite our puffed up opinions of ourselves.

As I’m experiencing the wild ups and downs of living, the dramas of friendship and family, every second seems to matter. Not in an astonishing or surprising way, mind you, but in a significant way that, by golly, affects the outcome of the next fifteen minutes or the week, or this manuscript. Two years from now, however, the conflicts of today will be all but forgotten, except perhaps for a residue of emotion attached to a season of the year or a sweater or a particular phrase.

4 comments:

Shelly said...

Very nice.

Vicki Rocho said...

I like to examine the ordinary too. Often times what appears to be unexceptional turns out to be very special on closer inspection.

Good luck with nano!

Li said...

I have yet to find any "ordinary" people in this world :-) There's always more under the surface - it's just hidden more carefully in some people.

William Kendall said...

Good start!

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