Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chapter 15, Finished!

wordcount = 52,655!

I call this chapter "The Gospel I Would Preach." An excerpt:

At some point my fancies turned to dreams and in my sleep I marched across Europe, my manuscript under my left arm, my right hand around the hilt of the dagger Bernardo had given me. I walked with my head high and all men stepped aside for me. When I reached Germany I strode boldly to each house, opened the doors and peered within.

"Was suchen sie?" the Germans asked, bowing before me.

"Ich suche die Teleskopen," I said. "Wohin soll' ich gehen?"

All pointed me north, and I followed their directions across the Rhine and the Elbe to find myself in Berlin.

"Nord," I was told, and I passed through thick forests and fields of grain and over villages and always the Germans pointed me north until I was following the coastline of Jutland, stepping across the Korsor Nor, stumbling in Rostok and then I was in Elsinore. I stood before the house of my youth. It was night, frigid and starless. I no longer held Bernardo's dagger.

When I put the palm of my hand to the door I felt heat pouring through the panel, as though the house were afire. I withdrew my hand and my glove smoked and I smelled the scorched leather. The seams between the wooden planks of the door glowed suddenly red and then burst into flames. I took a step back and threw my arm over my face. The door burned rapidly away, as a brittle tapestry or a sheet of parchment. I lowered my arm and looked into the house.

Within, all was flame and swirling sparks. Somehow lightning streaked along the rafters while thunder cracked and boomed beneath the floorboards. A forge, a hell or a volcano's mouth lie within the house and in the midst of this terrible furnace was a man, eight feet tall and wrapped in armor, his long cape aflame but not consumed, or perhaps his cape was made of flame. I could not see what this giant did in the burning house, but he held a chisel in one hand and a dead raven in the other. A bolt of lightning chased across the ceiling and I saw with horror that this figure had two heads upon his shoulders: the head of Tycho Brahe and that of my father.

Each head screamed at the other, such obscenities and filth as I had never before heard.

6 comments:

  1. That was interesting. I'm sure it would make more sense once I read the whole book. But beautiful. I loved the fire. Very real.

    Can I ask you something -- you write in very long sentences -- when all the world says no -- is it for effect, or is it the way your brain thinks so you write it that way. I think it's very lovely, but now that I read as a writer, it makes me wonder. I do it too, but then change all my commas to full stop and begin a new sentence.

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  2. Anne: I write in sentences that seem like the right length to me. I don't think about length of sentences or paragraphs. I know that some people find if off-putting, but to be honest, I'm not writing for those people. Also, because of my ideas about rhythm and flow, sentences sometimes need to be long.

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  3. To paraphrase Lincoln, "A sentence should be as long as it needs to be to reach its point."

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  4. Yeah, that's right! What was the other one? "A man should take as long as he needs to reach the end of a first draft." Or was it "A man should be as tall as necessary for his head to reach his hat."

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  5. This is really nice, Scott, and congrats on your word count! Your writing blows me away, and I anxiously await the day I get to read both your novels. I love the description of the 8-foot man at the end!

    I see Little Women over on your "random books from my shelves"...have you really read that? I guess, more importantly, did you like it?

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  6. Michelle: I have read "Little Women." And "Jane Eyre" and "Pride and Prejudice" and other unmanly works of literature. I liked the first half of "LW" a lot; not so much the second half with Jo and Mr. Bahr. I didn't believe that relationship at all.

    The 8-foot man gets really scary.

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