I'm not doing NaNo in the traditional sense of starting a new project and finishing it in a month, but rather, I'm using the time to polish a project and finish out a draft of 2 others (yes, that's 3 projects, so I may be slightly nuts).
If you're interested, here's a snip of yesterday's progress:
1. Sing Down the Stars:
The sister reached up and took a chain from around her neck. It was long, and hung hidden inside her dress, and when she laid it in my palm, the gold medallion on the end was warm where it had touched her skin. It was much heavier than its delicate appearance hinted at.
“We can’t take anything else from you,” I said, and tried to hand the necklace back, but she curled my fingers around it into a fist and pressed my hand away from her.
‘It’s a gift, and it’s been given. There’s no returning it, now – and I think you have more need for it than I do. That’s St. Christopher; he’ll keep you safe on your way home.
I opened my hand and took a better look at the medallion. It was small and brassy, with a man on the face who carried a walking stick. He had a strange, etched halo around him, and looked a bit like Zavel - too old to do much protecting, but I was sure she meant well, so I put it on and tucked it into my dress. I’d been right about the weight; it wasn’t heavy, but it dragged down low.
Sister Mary Alban and I had burned through the excuse of talking about destinations and handing off gifts; I needed something else to create a conversation before she found more questions to ask that I didn’t want to answer. I went for the most obvious.
“Is there nothing mechanical here at all?” I asked.
Early the next morning, when the sun had barely begun to shine, O’Keefe was no longer thinking about strange flames on candles. The rain had stopped and was well on its way to soaking into the ground, and the sky outside was clear. It looked like it might be a perfect day. (Though he was going to have to insist on new curtains. His father had hung the ones he’d used in Kindergarten, and he’d long since lost interest in cowboys and horses.)
Despite the hour, O’Keefe thought he might stay awake and get his first real look at South Avenue. He threw on his jeans, which had dried from the night before, but didn't bother with combing his hair or putting on shoes, as he'd always liked squishing his feet in muddy lawn puddles. There was really no better way to judge a new house than by the quality of mud it provided and there was no better way to judge a new street than to see if it contained others who felt the same way. He hoped maybe he'd be lucky and find some other children his age in one of the neighboring houses.
3. The Glower House:
From her seat at the head of the table, Madam Webb clapped her hands. Hundreds of spiders dropped down from the ceiling, making Leni jump. The spiders lassoed all of the large vases full of wilted flowers which ran in a line down the center of the table and pulled them up into the rafters.
Leni found this fascinating, as the spiders who occasionally found their way into her house on Mulberry Street were never quite so helpful, but seemed to prefer spinning webs at the precise height required to hit her face when she walked through them.
The spiders dropped onto the now bare table and skittered from one end to the other in a wide line. As they passed, a new tablecloth spun behind them until the entire tabletop was covered, and a knotted bridge had been built that crossed from the floor to the table's edge.
“Just lovely,” said Madam Webb. “Thank you. I'm sure our guest appreciates your effort.”
“Oh... yes, of course,” said Leni, when she realized the spiders were waiting for an answer from her. “I've never seen a better spiderwebbing tablecloth before... it's so grand, I really don't know what to say.”
Apparently, this made the spiders very happy, as a set of five hurried back to her part of the table and added a table-mat before disappearing into the ceiling with the others.