Wednesday January 11th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the side project.

Had some time to work on writing things today, which was nice. I'm working my way through the free trial period for Scrivener and I'm liking what I've seen so far. I'd be very surprised if I don't end up purchasing it in the end.

I'll have the boys for most of tomorrow so that Kat can get some work of her own done, then I'm doing the closing shift Friday night at the Community Centre and a full day at the bakery on Saturday. So it was especially good to have some time for myself this morning and afternoon.

Mine:

"And what are we working on today?"

"We? Oh, are you going to help me with this?"

"... no. I meant you. What are you working on today."

"Then why didn't you say so!?"

"I just did."

"Right, I suppose that's true."

"Well?"

"Sir, come on now. This is rather clearly not a well."

"Not a... what are you working on!?"

"Just a little side project, that's all."

"It would please me so very much if you could be a little more specific."

"Oh, sure! I just didn't want to bore you with all the details, was all."

"We are accountants. Details are what make us tick. So, please, do tell."

"Right, true again! So this is - or it will be when it's finished, anyway - a life-sized model of the Hindenburg disaster."

5 Comments:

Greg said...

Scrivener is fantastic; I've had it for a while and for serious writing attempts it's wonderful: easy to use, easy to restructure things, capable of handling large documents... I really like it. Apple seems not to; once again my Mac is claiming that it's damaged and needs to be re-downloaded. It's also not that expensive given everything it can do.
Good luck with the child-minding tomorrow!
I rather liked the accountants revelation at the end of the piece today, it felt very fitting given the conversation thus far. I particularly liked the way the whole thing started to derail with "Well?", and the denoument made me laugh. Thank-you.
[Having to post twice on a non-Derby piece... sorry.]

Greg said...


The side project
"Was that man being chased by an ostrich? And... was the ostrich really being chased by a woman wearing only lingerie and with her hair all wrapped up in tinfoil?"
Bill looked at Ben, and they both looked at the henchling who was frowning heavily. "MacArthur," they said in unison, a hint of weariness and finality in their tone that suggested that if the henchling didn't know who MacArthur was they weren't going to explain.
"The MacArthur?" said the henchling, a tone of reverence entering their voice.
"Turn left," said Bill. They were just approaching a side-street called, curiously enough, Side Street. Bill was wearing a smart, olive-green pin-striped suit in heavy wool; his shirt was duck-egg blue and there were discreet ribbons and medals applied just below the breast pocket. He was carrying a swagger-stick: someone not looking too carefully, or perhaps reviewing grainy CCTV footage at a later date might easily think he was a retired military gentlemen.
"He's a legend," said the henchling in what might be a tone of admiration. "Did you know he's actually not dead? Doctors have pronounced him dead seven times, sometimes while he was still complaining."
"Wishful thinking," said Ben. He was dressed in many shades of graphite, charcoal and slate, slashed here and there with white and orange. He looked like a shadow come to live, albeit one of a giant, hungry spider due to the backpack strapped to his back and the equipment hanging out of it. "Third door along."
"Locked," said Bill, trying the handle.
"Bloody hell," said Ben. "Since when did they improve security in this place? I remember when I could wander down this street and pretty much just step in anywhere and help myself. There's no trust left in the modern world."
"Do you remember when we blew that coffee-shop up? It's a hairdressing salon now."
"That was an accident though. I mean, I couldn't have know the espresso machine was overpowered like that. Bloody steampunkers."
"Windows?"
"I suppose so." There was a soft clicking sound as Ben adjusted the backpack and suddenly the equipment revolved about many axes, shot out arms and legs in all directions and elevated him up to the third-floor windows. The henchling shivered; Ben resembled a spider even more now.
"I thought Mac was in Stockholm at the moment," said Bill. A tiny green light lit up just below his earlobe indicating that the radio-mic was operating.
"Nah, he just gave a library Stockholm Syndrome," said Ben. There was a slight cracking sound and all the legs and arms retracted upwards silently, as though the spider were hiding, getting ready to pounce.
"What, all the people in there?"
"No, the actual building. He's an odd one."
A light went on somewhere in the back of the building, and a moment later went off again. "Did we know there were children in this building?" asked Ben over the mic.
"Children?" said the henchling. "I thought we were retrieving a Habsburg chair?"
"This is a bit of a side project," sadi Bill. "I thought the children were all put away when the shop closed up, shouldn't be any running around."
"Oh. Well, there aren't now," said Ben. There was a click of a lock unfastening and the door swung open. "Come in, come in! Don't stand around making the doorstep look untidy."

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I like it a lot and I think it might help to finally get my writing ass in gear again. Good to also hear a positive tale from you though!

I was all set to get mad at you for writing at length about something that had nothing to do with your Derby tale... but then I saw it was about Ben and Bill and immediately forgave you :P

Some great details and descriptions in this one - the spider stuff especially. Well, all the references to Mac as well, obviously :D

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

The world is so beautifully noisy---have you ever noticed? There are so many clicks and whirs and creaks all around you, whether you notice them or not. Even in quiet places, especially in quite places, there are so many sounds---they're easier to spot, and easier to pick up if you're careful.

Well, easier and harder to pick up. The sound is more isolated, but quiet spaces have just as much character as noisy ones. As a matter of fact they're often times they're more pronounced in their character when only one sound is bouncing around. Sometimes you want a sound in hard tile, or a large hall, or a cavernous vaulting place, but those sounds can be hard to distill with other sounds.

I like finding sounds, all kinds of sounds. The clipped ring of solitary footsteps in a hallway, the grunt of the refrigerator rolling over into a different cycle as it sleeps, burbling water, hisses of pine trees and cicadas, the sighs of turning pages, the light bell of glass against glass. I've gotten good at muffling that particular sound, but even so it's hard to collect sound at work. Libraries are busy places with lots of the same kinds of sounds. And even when you know where to look for different ones it's hard to make time to collect them without disturbance---as much as I regret people disturbing me, I'd much rather avoid disturbing patrons. So I find other time to collect them, though I keep a few of my little jars with me just in case I stumble into something.

But my favorite sounds are voices, by far. There are so many wonderful ones, so many shades and colors and textures between voices, even within a single voice! Never mind the actual magic that's sometimes involved, there's something so wonderfully charming about voices.

Voices are a little harder to collect than most sounds, especially when so many of the ones you hear belong to people not in the same room as you. But it's possible, I've just started to learn how to coax them out from such distances. Even in the safety of the jars they're much more sugar-spun and flimsy, a little less luminous. Lined up with the others they're no less beautiful, but I must confess there's a richness to the ones you get in person, be it from an actor, a neighbor, a cashier, a stranger on the street.

Now don't think too ill of me, dear friend, I'm not stealing these voices. Surely someone would've noticed if all of these people had started falling silent for no apparent reason. No, they're copies, in a sense, coaxed into the right form with a little of my help, and pulled into a jar, and filed away with the others, with no harm done to any party.

As with lots of side projects, I don't always have time to do much with all these sounds. Right now they're in a spare room, lined up in small racks like spices, neat as you please. I'm just starting to get that space ready to start mixing some of these sounds together, see what else they can create. There's still plenty of learning to do, of course, but I'm sure I can manage.
======================
After seeing a wonderful production of Amadeus at the end of November, I somehow decided that if I was a wizard or a dragon I'd hoard voices, because voices are magnificent, and there are many I want to borrow for projects I don't have.

I also realized that recording and sound design are a kind of aural magic, but I like the aesthetic of glowing glass jars more than a sound mixing interface.

So this is a first go at playing with that idea.

Marc said...

g2 - this is delightfully enchanting. Love the descriptions and the story you weave through the paragraphs. Bravo!