Wednesday, May 20, 2009

From the Archive - The sword swallower and me

This was part of my contribution to our group web page - www.keepwriting.org - a July 2008 mostly daily blog.

I just reread my last post and I'm feeling a bit like Rip Van Winkle. It's only been a week since I posted, but it feels a lot longer. And I wish I could have told you that I went ahead and took the week off work to sleep, but instead it feels like I just slept-walked through the past seven days.

Actually it wasn’t all bad, although early in the week I got into my tired-everything-sucks-and-I-suck-with-it death spiral of despair because 1) I was tired (see most of my posts re: lack of sleep) and 2) I have children who are smart, annoying, messy, annoying, clueless, annoying and exhausting. But I pulled out of the dive, got everyone to their respective camps and home again with no real incidents. Work didn’t suck and I got a lot done. Then all of a sudden it was the weekend and the kids were gone off to their dad’s house for two weeks and I had a long weekend to spend with my honey – which was great and ended much too quickly and BAM, it’s Monday again.

This ramble reminds me of the sword swallower we saw at the Renaissance Festival in June. We had seen him the previous year, so his shtick was familiar. He stands up front and makes a few jokes. He comments on people coming in late, asks how they are doing, etc. He talks a little about how he got started in clown school. He reminds the kids, “Do not try this at home.” Basically, he does a lot of what seems like warm-up patter. However, and this is the part I forgot until now, right before he gets started on the main event, he says, “I try to see how long I can go into the show before I actually have to swallow a sword.” He is good at what he does, but it’s physically difficult and he doesn’t mind delaying it for some banter with the audience. He said his best stall ever was 22 minutes, but we’d gotten him to 18 this time, so he was okay with that.

So far my stall has been about 350 words. I really didn’t have a topic to write on, or an insight into writing, but I’d like to get 500 words on the page, so if I have to stall and talk about taking my kids to see funny may who swallows knives, swords and balloons, I don’t have any false pride about just rambling on until I hit my goal. I’m no Ray Bradbury, writing 1000 words a day when he was twelve, but I believe that if I can just keep producing coherent sentences every day, eventually I will have something really great to show the audience and they will want to hand me five dollar bills at the back of the auditorium – or buy my books for $24.95 hardcover, $14.95 trade paperback at Barnes & Noble.

I’ve only got to compose another sentence or two and then I can escape to bed and try to rest up for another fun-filled day.

Whew, made it.

~Noelle 07/21/08

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