Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Filling In

Last night I wound up filling in a couple bald patches in the novel, places where after I had finished a section I realized something else could/should go in there.

One of the spots I realized two nights ago after writing the main "Hymnsing" section. I'd been wanting to establish that sound carries in the valley of the novel's setting, and near the opening of Part IV: Friday Rev. Gantt goes to a nursing home to persuade them to turn on the radio to his broadcast that evening.

So I wrote a snippet from the perspective of a near-vegetative man Gantt meets at the nursing home. No one from the nursing home is aware of the events in this snippet. The man himself may not realize it, either. Only you, Privileged Reader, are granted this vision.


A mile away at the Riverview Retirement Home, Jason Fanning could hear the sounds of the Hymnsing faintly in his bedroom. The barely audible sounds spurred him into action as surely as the flautist of Hamlin had compelled his quarry to parade after him through the street.

Fanning swung one varicose veined leg over the side of the mattress and then the other. Using the wheelchair beside the bed for support and guidance, he made his way over to the window. As he slid the window up a chilly breeze accompanied the strains of the organ into the room.

He had always loved the old hymns. He thought he had heard “Amazing Grace” earlier, but had lacked the strength then to get out of bed. As he strained to hear which hymn was being played, one after another, Fanning felt his strength increasing. As if the joy he felt in his heart were being translated into SINEW and MUSCLE in his legs and back, when he heard ANOTHER CLASSIC HYMN being played and heard the words coming out of his mouth, Fanning knew it was time to make his move.

Now, with the window open and the melody of I COME TO THE GARDEN ALONE drifting in, Fanning began to WALTZ around the room using the wheelchair as his partner. When the tempo changed with the next hymn, INNA GADDA DA VIDA, he abandoned the wheelchair and danced A/THE FOXTROT by himself. When the organ played NAME THAT TUNE, Fanning returned to the wheelchair and the waltz; halfway through he stopped and began to sing, his once rich baritone now a barely audible croak. He sang anyway, not having anyone to impress – not even himself. He sang, tears streaming down his face. He sang, and then he danced some more.

Obviously I need to research some good hymns and appropriate dance steps

(daily word count: 2,032 words; total word count: 51,532 words; words remaining: n/a)