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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

And so begins This Novembers NanoWrimo Novel

I put a little more thought into this year's opus.

Here's the raw (unedited at all) beginning:

“Grandpapa, Grandpapa, what terrible news!”


“Grandpapa, Grandpapa Benedict, a great ship, the greatest ship ever, has sunk Of the coast of America.”


These words interrupted Ernest Benedict's morning nap, and left him mistily musing on the conditions of his doddering years.


“Every morning these unmannerly descendents feel they must share their opinions with their 82 year old great grandpapa. What ever has become of manners in this kingdom.”


The children continued their interruptions, “Father told us the papers count thousands among the dead. Men, women, children. Thousands sunk with the ship.” Benedict finally found the energy to raise his head and comprehend what he was hearing. He quietly responded to his great grandchildren, “Please, can you bring your great grandpapa the newspaper. He is very tired and finds such fearsome stories from the mouths of babes troublesome. Please, bring me the newspaper and leave me in peace and quiet.”


The eldest of the pack of unmannerly children handed Benedict the newspaper while chewing some unidentified morsel. Per usual, Benedict began reading the paper from the top. For the past few years, he found the newspaper's daily reminder of the current date to be helpful when his memory was poor, and comforting when his view of things was crisper. Tired and housebound, one day was not very different from the next, and sometimes Benedict lost track of the passing of time. The day was April 16, 1912.


Much of the paper's front page was taken up with news about the Titanic. Benedict read the articles full of tragedy and loss. The ship had sunk quickly in the north Atlantic after hitting an iceberg near Newfoundland. A breach in the ship's thin skin let water into the hull so fast that she sank in a matter of hours, before most of the passengers were able to abandon ship. Two days after the sinking, only about 700 survivors were identified, all others were feared lost.


As he read, Benedict remembered an advertisement he had seen a few weeks ago, claiming that the White Star liner was “as far as it is possible to do. . .designed to be unsinkable”.


Bendict began to muse,“As far as possible, as far as possible, these things are not possible today. I know they were possible once, when our Empire was lead by giants. Why must I go to my grave knowing our greatest days are behind us?”


“ In the days of our great Queen Victoria, we designed a ship that could avoid icebergs by constantly measure the ambient water temperature. A ship that could withstand such a collision, a ship that took a sixty foot gash below the waterline without even listing, without its passengers even noticing. A ship so stable in the elements that it could tie continents together with a one inch thick thread, twice in two years. The Great Eastern connected the new and old worlds, and changed the course of history. She even contributed to the arts, providing the inspiration for Captain Nemo and his Marvelous vessel forged of steel.”


“She was conceived and built by great men; Isambard Kingdom Brunel, James Scott Russell, and me among them. Great men trod upon her decks, furthering their works and the Empire's glory while aboard. The great scientist Lord Kelvin and his cable. Even the foreigner Jules Verne and his novels of fantastic future scientific miracles, many miracles that he experienced on his cruise aboard the Great Eastern. How many young men were inspired by the sight of this leviathan rising from the stinking, fetid mud of Shoreditch by the Thames?”


Film rights are still available. I'm holding out for the low seven digits.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

2 comments:

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

My first typo appears on the second line. Awesome.

I heartily credit myself for getting my internal critic under control. If any of this turns out to be worth salvaging, it'll be a tough job.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.
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