2/19/09 – loom


            Have I ever mentioned that I like raisins? Yep, I do. They’ve become my snack food. That’s healthy for you, right? I hope…. Anyway, on to writing. I don’t have any deep thoughts today, so let’s just get crackin’. In writing The Shadows War I’ve found that I’m better at describing scenery than mixing action and talking. Today’s small portion was pretty terrible. I think an important part of writing is to do it for a decent amount of time in your scheduled writing period because it helps you get into a flow. It’s like turning hot water on at the tap: it takes a while to warm up. So get the faucet running a little before you sit down to write and write for longer periods of time than just a few minutes. This is where these little exercises are helpful. Rather than spend my time warming up with the story I want to write, I can warm the muscles up, the water up – whichever metaphor you want to use – on this short little writing that just helps me get going, and then I can sit down to write the important stuff with the gears all greased up. (By the way, I’m going to continue the Sailor, hopefully mixing dialogue and description.)

            So, the word: loom (v. come into view indistinctly, often threateningly – hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing.)


            The ceiling loomed overhead, the rafters dimly flickering in the candlelight. They felt low, as if ready to fall, and the sailor found himself frequently glancing up, quickly looking into the shadows to see if anything or anyone might be hiding in the crevasses and shadows of the trusses.

            Across from him sat the man with the dancing face, still hooded against the light. The wood splinter was moving rapidly. The sailor could hear tiny pops as the man bit down briefly on it before sliding it over to the other side of his mouth for another bite, then back to the left, then to the right, like some hungry rodent. The sailor had to blink and clear his eyes, for in the low light he had imagined the man gave a quick wriggle of his stubby nose and whiskers.

            “See, sir, we’ve been watching you, sir,” the Rodent said through gnawing teeth, “and we’ve all, all of us, sir, concluded you are indeed, you, sir, are the man we want for the job.”

            The sailor tried to hold the man’s furtive, squirming eyes, but they skipped rapidly about the room and lay hidden beneath the brim of his hood. A tingling came to the sailor’s hands as he felt a sudden desire to rip back the hood and shove the lamp into that rodent face. He took a deep breath and set his jaw. Then, with both hands laid flatly and calmly on the hand-hewn desk between them, he asked quietly, “Who has been watching?”

            A bite, a slide, a wriggle, and the answer: “In due time, sir, yes, all in its due time. Come along and participate – ” he whistled the word from behind his teeth – “and we shall, sir, see what, as they say, is, sir, to see.”

            The roof creaked as the building settled for the night. The trusses hung low and dark, weighty in the shadows. In melodramatic fashion rain began outside with a distant rumble of thunder. The Rodent sniffed and danced.

             “What’s the job?”


            Neat. It’s cool, I suppose. Not bad – no wind at my back, though. But we press on.



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