Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Picnic Table

"Miss Turtle, you're supposed to be writing your novel, not sitting here with me."

"I know, but I've missed you. It's been forever since you've made an appearance on this blog," I say. Gryphon and I are sitting at our picnic table. In the forest paradise of my own psyche, the picnic table is a place where we meet often. There's a plastic red and white checkered tablecloth, fine cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, upscale crackers I've never heard of (forget Saltines and Ritz), some fresh grapes, stuffed marinated olives, truffle pate and some pears. The usual beverage accompaniment would be a soft white wine or a medium red, but since neither Gryphon or I hardly drink alcohol, there's Martinelli's.

I pick up a stuffed olive and bite into it. Yum. "I was just thinking that when NaNoWriMo is over, perhaps I'll start up The White City again" (a blog I started for about week which featured Mr. Gryphon and I in adventures).

"That would be fun, Miss Turtle, but we have regular adventures already," he says. He is picking up an upscale soda cracker and delicately spreading a very soft brie on it. The forest is life affirming. Everywhere the trees are lush and sustaining.

"Well, yes, of course we do, but those are personal adventures that I can't really share with anyone," I take a sip from the flute of apple cider, "Don't you get tired of being my protector and savior during my nightmares?"

"Never. I welcome it. I don't like dying, by the way. I just wanted to tell you that," Gryphon suddenly looks up through the trees. His wings open just slightly, the tips of his claws just show. I look at what is making him uneasy. It's only the T-Rex crashing through the trees. I wave him over, but he only smiles his killer smile and waves back before moving on.

"Mr. Gryphon, you might not like dying, but you only had to die once. I died at least two times before being scattered as part of the Universe."

"That sounds painful," said Grphyon. He is completely unconcerned.

"It wasn't. It was wonderful, in fact."

"I know," I wince a little at that. The way he says it reminds me of someone. This makes me think of something. "Mr. Gryphon, aren't you at all curious about who you're based on? Don't you want to know?"

"Not really. Does it matter? Besides, I get the feeling I might have started out based on someone, but I think I'm different now," he says. He stretches his long legs out under the table. There is a life-changing warm breeze. The kind of breeze that makes you want to weep with joy.

"You're different, but some of you is the same. I think I've taken the aspects I needed for a companion like you and kept them with me."

Gryphon smiles at me. He yawns. "I'm feeling very relaxed, Miss Turtle. Thank you for joining me here."

"You're welcome," I reply. As he turns to pick up a bunch of grapes, I look at him longingly. "I love you," I say so softly that he doesn't hear. But it's not him I'm telling that to, it's someone else. Perhaps this is my way of finally moving on. I thought I lost everything, but I still have my dearest Gryphon, my dreams and wishes, (painful) personal growth, this blog and the belief that love is (still) everything.

A trio of frogs dressed in tuxedos come around the bend. They are carrying their musical instruments and take a moment to set up. We watch them in silence, eating and drinking. The forest is awash with colors from a Van Gogh painting, all brights and yellows. The frogs start to play Mozart, of course. I look at Gryphon and smile. The forest is alive with birdsong to enhance the musical experience.

Things have changed, yes, but I have no doubt that all the questions rolling around in my head will be answered sooner rather than later.


anne said...

MT, thank you for the comment on my 'blog.

I am still impressed with your novel-writing project. That is something I have never had the desire to do (although I am acquainted with several people who want to write a novel before they die).

Like many things in Life, it appears that writing a novel is a process, sometimes to be taken one day at a time, or one hour at a time.

Nice work so far!

Mock Turtle said...

anne -
Thank you for this comment.

Novel writing is just as difficult and as strange as I remember. Sometimes I feel like I'm taking dictation. I just sit and write it down without thinking much about what's going on or what someone is going to say, and yet that process, which sounds simple enough, is exhausting. Sometimes it feels like the novel is being "pulled" out my subconscious self. It's not an effortless process.

It's different from writing a post because that process is much more on the "surface." I feel like I'm operating from my own awake mind. The act of revising the posts keeps things up front.

My "flights of fancy," as you have so wonderfully termed them, are written more like the novel. They come completely from that subconscious place and I'm always surprised at what comes out.

In all cases, there's always a trigger. A word, an image, a phrase, or a sentence that gets things started.

You are right that novel writing is a moment by moment, day-at-a-time thing. One thing I'm learning, quite valuable, is all the time you spend at the keyboard is worthwhile. So often I think I have to set aside a big block of time to write the novel, but even writing 500 words (a paragraph) on some days counts towards your goal in the end.

Thanks for your encouragement.