Friday, November 21, 2008

Are We There Yet?

The answer, unfortunately, is no. Not if I want to win NaNoWriMo, which, of course, being the competitive geek that I am, I do.

While my co-workers were in town from Taiwan, I got behind in my writing, as I knew I would. To the tune of about 7,000 words.

Some people would give up. Those people do not have the mile-wide stubborn streak that I do. I will hit 50k by the 30th or die trying. Don't ask which I think is more likely.

Anyway, since I haven't posted in three days, I went back through my recent crap writing to see what was post-able. I have one scene that I wrote over two days -- the scene in which my main character gives birth. It WORE ME OUT, y'all. And it was 3600 words long. So I won't be posting it. And at this point I pretty much feel like everything is crap. On the bright side, today has been my highest output ever -- 3200 words -- putting me "only" 4000 words behind. My goal is to catch up this weekend so I can be on target to hit 50k over the holiday weekend.

The following is a scene in which my main character and her hubby have a rare argument. Hope you enjoy it. And hey, if you're sick to death of novel excerpts, let me know and I'll find something else to post. OK? OK.


When she got home that night, Anh was unusually tired. She took off her work shoes, threw her work clothes in the hamper, and put on her favorite, completely comfortable maternity sweats. “Aaaah. So much better,” she breathed.

She thought she’d take a few minutes to read a book on the couch before starting dinner. The next thing she knew, Greg was stroking her arm softly. “Anh… dinner’s ready, honey.”

“Whaaa?” she mumbled sleepily. “I was about to make dinner. I must have fallen asleep. She yawned and stretched.

"I guess you’ll have to settle for the dinner I made, little mama.” Greg smiled at her tenderly. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for this woman, carrying his child, he thought.

“You’re so good to me,” Anh smiled, still sleepy. “What’s for dinner?”

“Nothing fancy, just some chicken and vegetables. Good for you and our baby, though.”

“Sounds wonderful. Speaking of the little guy, we really should settle on a name. I’ve been looking through the baby name books, and there are a few I like. I think I sent you a list in email a couple of days ago when I was looking through it.”

“Yeah, I seem to recall something like that.” Greg served Anh’s portion onto a plate and handed it to her.

“Well, do you have any opinions? It’s not like we have forever to decide. We’re seven weeks out, if he’s on time.” They sat down at the table with their plates.

“I just don’t want to name him anything too trendy.”

“Trendy? Did I have trendy names on the list? I mean, I didn’t pick John or Matthew or Charles or whatever, but there’s nothing wrong with, say, Brandon, is there?”

Greg looked uncomfortable. “I was kind of considering naming him after me. You know, a junior.”

Anh sighed, trying not to sound too impatient. “Really? That just causes so many problems. You’re Greg. Is he Little Greg? Junior? Do we call him by his middle name? If he were going to be a third, we could call him Trey or something, but Junior just sounds so…”

“Yeah, I know. Not a classy name. I hadn’t really thought of what to call him. But I’m a dad, having a boy. I’m proud of him. I want him to carry my name.”

“And he will carry your name – your last name. But why carry all your names? It just makes life so confusing.”

“Can you at least consider it? Put it on your list as a possible name? Or do you hate my name that much?”

“I don’t hate your name, Greg. I just don’t want to end up calling my son Little Greg or Junior. Nicknames are fine, if we could find one that works. And I know a lot of people who raise their sons calling them ‘buddy,’ like, ‘hey buddy, it’s time for your bath.’ I don’t really want that either. I want to be his mother, not his pal.”

Greg looked affronted. “I’ve always looked at those dads calling their sons buddy and thought how sweet that was,” he admitted.

“Seriously? Who are you?”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“I just mean it’s a stupid thing to call a kid. I mean, come up with something original, some nickname that fits your kid, not something that every other soccer dad is yelling at his kid on the field. ‘Go after the ball, buddy! Make a goal, buddy!’ It just sounds dumb when eight sets of parents are yelling the same thing, and I think it’s confusing to the kids. What are you supposed to think when some parent from the opposing team is yelling your nickname at you?”

“Apparently, that your parents didn’t come up with a very good nickname.” Greg crossed his arms.

“Well, exactly. Wait, why are you looking at me like that?”

“You’ve insulted my name and my nickname. Anything else you’d like to take a swing at?”

“Oh, come on, Greg. I was not. Be reasonable. So I don’t want to name the baby Greg. So what?”

“What do you mean, so what? I do! That’s so what!” Greg’s voice had risen.

“Don’t yell at me! It’s just a name, for crying out loud. Why don’t we talk about this later, when you’ve settled down.”

“When I’ve…? You want me to settle down? You’re the one ranting about ‘buddy this’ and ‘buddy that’!”

“I am not ranting. I was just saying that people should come up with original nicknames, that’s all.”

“Whatever you were saying, you were saying sarcastically and at high volume,” Greg sneered.

“Whatever,” Anh snorted. “I’m done with this conversation for now. I guess we’re going to have to pick out a name some other time.”

“Fine,” Greg snarled.

“Fine,” Anh sneered in return. They left their dishes, with half their dinner uneaten, on the table, and retreated to opposite ends of the house. Greg clicked on the TV and found a basketball game on ESPN, which he watched at high volume, and Anh picked up her latest book, as far from the cacophony of the TV as she could manage.

An hour and a half later, Anh came back to the kitchen and noisily cleaned up the diner dishes. She figured that Greg had cooked, so she should clean; it was their usual rule. She also wanted to give him a chance to say something. He never looked up from the TV though, so she finished up in the kitchen, got ready for bed, and went to bed alone.

You’re not supposed to let the sun set on your anger, she told herself. Yet here I am, going to bed with an unresolved argument. I should go and tell Greg I’m sorry for overreacting. Just as quickly, she thought, He was just as much to blame as I was. Why should I apologize? Why should I be the one to suck it up? They rarely fought, and it troubled her that they had this evening. It also troubled her that they hadn’t come to an agreement on a name for the baby. Surely once they sat down and talked reasonably, they could figure something out.

God, what’s the answer here? she prayed silently. Am I supposed to go to him? I really don’t want to. I know we shouldn’t be fighting, and I don’t want this fight to continue. What should I do? Although she didn’t “hear” a direct answer, she knew the right thing to do would be to humble herself, open the lines of communication, and talk to Greg. The trouble was that she still didn’t WANT to.

God, if that’s what you want me to do, help me to be willing. I love –You-, even if I’m not too crazy about Greg right now, she prayed. When she continued to feel as if she should talk to Greg, she sighed in resignation, pulled her bloated body out of bed, and went into the living room. Greg appeared to be still immersed in his game.

“Greg?” she started tentatively. “I’m wondering if we can talk about this.”

“Later,” he snapped.

She looked at the game. It didn’t appear to be particularly close, so she could only assume he was still angry. “Greg, I don’t want us to fight. I’m sorry for saying those things. We can find a name we agree on..”

“Can we?” He eyed her warily.

“Well… I hope we can, anyway. I’m willing to try. I don’t want to go to bed with us still angry at each other. That’s not right. And we’ve never done it. I don’t want to start now.”

At that he softened. “You’re right. I don’t want to be angry with you either. You’re my Anh. You’re the mother of my child. I love you with everything I have.”

“I love you too, honey.”

“Can you at least consider naming our baby after me?”

“Sure, honey. Can we talk about it tomorrow? I’d love it if you’d come to bed with me. I’m really tired, but you know I sleep much better when you’re with me.”

“Sure.” He turned off the game. “I’m not paying attention to the game anyway. I’m just stewing.”

“You’ve been stewing that long? How come you didn’t come and talk to me?”

“I didn’t want to fight anymore.”

“Me neither. So let’s agree: no more fighting about names. Talking ok, fighting bad.”

He laughed genuinely and hugged her. “Deal.”

“Oooh, that was nice. Do that again.”

He hugged her again, holding her longer this time, stroking her back softly, just the way she liked. She melted into him, her head on his chest, eyes closed, enjoying the contact.

“Um, Anh? I’m afraid something has come between us.”

“What? I thought we just cleared up this whole name business!”

He laughed and pointed at her basketball-shaped belly. “I was referring to our unborn son.”

She laughed and playfully socked his arm. “Such a kidder. Now come to bed so we can make up for real.”

“Now there’s a deal I can’t refuse!” He grinned.

1 comment:

RCummins said...

Wow, Anh goes so much more quickly through anger, to God, to reconciliation than I do!! I'm usually about a few hours from anger to God and then about 3 days from God to humility. YIKES! Go Anh!