Friday, January 22, 2010

The Day the Worms Came Out...

... in a non-sexual sense of course, because worms are asexual, so by nature they are sort of gay already.... Anyway, here's the beginning of it that I wrote a few months ago:

"When the rain started at midnight, people were awake. Later, many would place importance on the midnight hour, toss around words like “apocalypse” and “judgment.” Some lay in bed, eyes twitching restlessly behind closed lids, thoughts racing. Some were on couches. People were at desks, in showers, on toilets. Wherever they were, most were awake. Those few who were asleep twisted sheets around their bodies, pushed their lovers out of bed, sweated until their bodies shone. One man choked himself into unconsciousness. Several people died.

When the rain started at midnight, there was no subtlety. There was an oppressive silence, like a dense fog or cocoon, then there was that slow (or not so slow in this case) crescendo that sheeting rain makes. Then it began in earnest. A steady thrumming, a humming even, snaked its way through the city, like a current of electricity that you could almost hear. You felt it more than heard it, somewhere on the edge of your skull.

We who were awake thought, at first, that it was just a rain. And in a way, it was. The sky was dark with clouds, obscuring the stars and moon. Condensation gathered around particulate, grew, and fell. The ground became wet. After a few minutes, and this was the first indication that something might be different about this rain, the ground was saturated, and rivulets formed, soon turning into small streams in the gullies next to roads.

We turned on our computers and televisions to check the forecast. “Torrential downpour”; “Into the morning hours”; “Radar down.” They used different words, but they all said the same thing: it was a big fucking storm.

We went to bed though, eventually, because what else were we to do? Stay up all night, perched on the window seat, cracking the blinds every few minutes, stepping outside if you were brave? There were those who did that, but for the most part, we went to bed.

And when we reached for our wives and husbands, and lovers, and children, they reached out to us. “Where have you been?”

“It’s raining.”

“I know, I can feel it.” That’s what they said - “feel,” not “hear.” “But where have you been?” as if we’d been gone for ages, a pleading in their voices. And we turned to that pleading, and we embraced it, and kissed it, and touched it, and we returned it, and so it was a night of love.

Those who had been asleep though, for them it was the opposite. They awoke on the floor, or alone in the bed, or not at all.

It stopped the same way it started – suddenly. And the silence woke us, and our heads felt clear, and we parted the curtains and we saw the sun. We crawled back into bed, curled into our partners, stroked our children’s hair, let our dogs and cats into the bed with us. Maybe it was relief that the storm was over, or maybe we sensed an ending in the brightness.

So I've been muddling onwards, trying to figure out how to write an entire story with a "we" narrator. It doesn't help that I , as usual, don't have a plot, except that so far the entire city is overrun with worms, and they smell really, really bad. I sort of feel like I'm unconsciously imitating Jose Saramago, but since he is one of my favorite authors of all time, I suppose he's not a bad guy to imitate. And my sentences are a lot shorter. And I use punctuation. But tone-wise it's sort of evocative of "Blindness."

So the writing's been going pretty badly, as it usually does when I force it, but it's still going, which is better than not going, because I can always go back and make it better (theoretically at least). The salmon story is about a person (I haven't even figured out if it's a male or female) who sort of follows salmon around Alaska and maps their routes and has lots of very profound introspection and meets wierd Alaskan-type people. There will probably be a bagpiper.

In other news, I hate everything having to do with eletromagnetic radiation. But I've got some coffee, it is beautiful, though somewhat hampering in my plans today, outside, with the thick coating of ice and everything. So it's time to learn some formulas and do some math. I'm excited about next week, because it is going to be centered around food, my all time favorite thing!


  1. Good start to the story. Check out the "Year of Silence" by Kevin Brockmeier, from the 2008 Best Short Stories. Not only does the author have the name Kevin, but it uses a "we" narrator.

  2. I agree with Kurd, I really enjoyed the start to this piece of fiction, and look forward to seeing what you end up doing with it. Hope everything is going well for you.