3 am Epiphany · Knitting

In which my dream is prophetic.

The other night I had one of those knitter’s nightmares. You know the one, where you knit and knit and knit your socks-in-progress but never make any progress on it. Imagine my horror the next evening when I settled in to work on them and realized that the damn foot is a half-inch too long (note to self: my short-row heel is two inches long, not 1.5) making them unacceptably loose and baggy around the instep. I thought about just pressing on and maybe giving these socks as a gift (I mean, after all, they are bound to fit SOMEONE), but y’all, I love these socks. Seriously, dat orange! And so today my 2 toe-up socks went from this:

to this:

(That is the superfluous half-inch waiting to be frogged.)

Clearly, I can see the future so here’s your lotto numbers: 05-11-14-20-31 / 16

3 am Epiphany · random

I got nuthin’

This week’s 3am Epiphany just never materialized for me. The exercise was to choose a list of 10 words (e.g., the top 10 words of 2004) and write a story fragment using them. I simply wasn’t inspired by it. My sister had a good one, though. Come to think of it, my sister has had a string of really amazing blog posts, you should go over and read the last week or so. Speaking of lessons learned, I’ve learned a couple of lessons myself this week:

1. It’s not a good idea to eat crystallized ginger by the handful.

2. It’s easier, by far, to spin BFL than a Merino/Silk blend.

3 am Epiphany · nanowrimo


Here’s the second post in this series. This exercise was all about being able to summarize a story that takes place over several years. I have to say, at first I wasn’t inspired, but once I found the character’s voice the words flowed easily and I ended up really enjoying it. What a wonderful surprise. Don’t forget to check out the others who signed up to participate too:



I press the record button on the tape recorder as she takes a long draw from the cigarette she holds between the first and second fingers of her right hand. The cherry flares hot and red, crackling as the smoke irritates my nose. “Well,” she says, blowing out the smoke and trying to keep it away from my face, “I found the lump in my tit about seven years ago.” Chuckling, a low throaty laugh, she flicks the filter of the cigarette with her thumb so the ash flies away into the grass. “I guess you could say my husband found it.” Bright spots of color bloom on her cheeks. “Course I thought fer sure it’d be the tit cancer that got me.” Her chuckle turns briefly into a rough, junky cough and she takes another puff of her cigarette. The breeze pulls her hair, dirty blonde, into her eyes and she tucks it behind her ear with her other hand.

“Then they started me on the chemo, ya know, and my hair all fell out. Eventually they decided to cut ‘em off, both of ‘em.” She points to the center of her chest with the thumb of the hand holding the cigarette. “I was ok with it, though. I was done tit feedin’ my babies and I wasn’t havin’ any more, ya know.” She drags on the cigarette again and looks away, blowing the smoke through pursed lips, trying to blow it downwind. “But after that Mike didn’t want nuthin’ to do with me and he starts foolin’ around with Lisa down the block.” Tossing her head, she pauses and stuffs her free hand in a pocket before putting the cigarette to her lips again and taking another hard draw.

“They over at her place now. Him and the kids. Which is fine. I got shit to do anyway.”

Yeah, like write a will, I think wryly.

She’s looking at her feet, nudging the dirt beneath the brown grass with her toe. “I guess that’s life, though,” she goes on. “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” She laughs. “That’s what me and my girlfriends all used to say when we was in high school. Didn’t know how true it was until now, though.”

She takes a last draw on the cigarette and flicks it over into the weeds and then she rubs her hands on her thighs. “I wasn’t the same after Mike left, though. I had a hard time finding work since the paper mill shut down. Guess the whole town was shit out of luck after that, huh? I could’ve got a job back down at the strip club ‘cept I couldn’t afford me a pair of tits and Mike wouldn’t buy me none. Bastard. I did finally find me a job tendin’ bar. Shithole of a place, but I could pay rent most of th’ time at least. No health insurance, though. So when I started gettin’ bad sick I couldn’t go see a doctor. Hah,” she says, mirthlessly. “I never thought it’d be lung cancer that get me. I thought fer sure it’d be th’ tit cancer.” She sighs. “Not much t’ be done about that now, is there?”

I nod, trying to put an empathetic expression on my face. I doubt I’m successful.

3 am Epiphany · nanowrimo


Here is the first in the series of NaNoWriMo training posts I agreed to do with my TAS during the month of October. Tea Leaves, and Dale-Harriet signed up too, so go check them out!


It was very nearly dawn by the time Soren arrived back at his lab, the eastern sky a pale pinkish yellow capped by an inky starry blue. He stood for a moment at the top of his hill, looking out over the darkened city. The twinkling lights of the street lamps and the office buildings were gone, as was the usual traffic noise. The hum of a busy city getting ready for work now silenced forever. All was still. Peaceful. Orderly. A stiff breeze tugged at his thick dark hair, whipping it wildly about his head, and he inhaled deeply, savoring the early fall scent of leaves and grass carried upon it. Not even a winging bird disturbed the perfect tranquility of this moment. His moment. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jacket to guard against the chill and, feeling the object nestled inside, smiled, smugly satisfied. He had known it would work, his calculations precise, his craftsmanship superb. Still, having successfully tested it on this scale was its own vindication.

He took the keys from his pocket and turned to the door of his lab. Now his real work could begin. As he slid the key into the lock, a familiar shiver of pleasure ran over him. Time seemed to stretch out and he felt as though he were one with the mechanism. He was the key, moving each tumbler into its proper place. And then, quivering, he felt the click as the key yielded to the gentle pressure and twist of his hand. Sighing softly, he pushed open the door.

In one motion, he switched on the lights and stuffed the keys back into his pocket before turning to close and lock the door behind him. He leaned against the door, gathering his thoughts, before turning to face what he knew the chaos that still awaited him here.

Naturally the lab smelled nothing like it usually did—of ozone and cleanliness and order, of sterile scientific instruments, precisely and systematically arranged, every object in its place, waiting patiently for his return. No. Of course this morning the smell of human sweat hung heavy in the air. Sweat and blood. His breath caught. He had nearly forgotten about the blood. Given what had happened here last night, he was surprised the stench of blood wasn’t heavier. It was then that the full force of what had happened struck him.

Mostly, the lab was a tumbled mess of shattered glass and stainless steel instruments, but there were a few objects untouched by the frenzied chaos endured only hours ago. Here, a lab chair upturned on a melted lump of plastic and metal that probably had been his computer. There, a jar of formaldehyde that contained a preserved fetal cat, untouched by the apparent violence surrounding it. One might think he’d placed the jar there just now had it not been for the destruction that blocked the way.

The blood, mixing with other spilled liquids, ran down toward the industrial drain in the center of the room and had become a morbid dark and thickened rivulet. Unwilling, Soren’s eyes followed the stream to its source.

Their struggle had been epic in a way, evidenced by the massive damage done to the lab. But in the end, it was his own super-strength that Soren was able to use against him. Soren had only to step aside as the man, desperate to save the city, unwittingly threw himself onto the rebar that had popped from the concrete wall during the fray. The force of the fool’s momentum backed by his super-strength had driven it completely through the left eye socket and out the back of his head, pinning him to the wall like a mounted trophy, killing him instantly.

Soren picked his way over to the lifeless body of the fallen hero, standing for a moment so closely his nose nearly touched the man’s cheek. He fought the bile rising in his throat. “No hard feelings, man,” Soren said to him, a low growl. “I just had to show them I was right.” Then, he took the keys out of his pocket and dropped them to the floor at his feet. This lab was no longer large enough for his needs. He stuffed his hands into his pockets, running his thumb over the object within. Then he made is way back to the door and quietly left.

3 am Epiphany · nanowrimo

An Agreement

NaNoWriMo 2008 is fast approaching. Have you signed up yet? In preparation, my TAS and I have agreed to do some writing exercises together in the month of October. We both have the very excellent book of writing excercises The 3am Epiphany, so each Monday in October I will choose by random number generator a number that corresponds to the number of an excercise in the book. We’ll spend the week writing it and post the results of our efforts on our respective blogs the following Friday.

Want to play along? Get yourself a copy of The 3am Epiphany* and let me know if you want to join in by leaving a comment here by Sunday 10/5. And spread the word, will ya? If there’s enough interest, I’ll do an email list and/or Mr. Linky thing to get everybody writing and reading and practicing for our Olympic event–novelling. Sound like fun?

*Don’t have it? Don’t want to fork over the cash? I totally understand. Check your local library. Also, you could always take note of the assignment number and head over to Borders or B&N and take a peek at the exercise for that week.