All posts by pearlclayton

Day 18: Craquelure

Word of the Day:

craquelure

noun

a network of fine cracks or crackles on the surface of a painting, caused chiefly by shrinkage of paint film or varnish.

(Insert placeholder paragraph so the definition is distinguishable from my bit o’ writing.)

Mama says that you can always tell how old one of Grandpa’s paintings is based on the craquelure. She’ll point to one so webbed with little cracks you can barely even tell what the picture’s of anymore and say, “See, this is a real early one, from back when Grandpa was at college and just starting to paint.” Then there might be one that’s half-lined, half-not, to which she’ll say, “This one he painted halfway through his life, when your aunts and uncles and I were coming along and life was good.” At the very end of the row are a few paintings which have scarcely any lines on them at all. Mama frowns at them, and murmurs, “These are the newest ones. The last ones. He painted these when your grandma was dying.”

She’s said it for as long as I can remember – you’ll what time the paintings came from if you look at the level of decay. “Some paintings this age don’t look this bad,” she’ll add from time to time, gesturing at one or another of them (it doesn’t matter which). “But your grandpa always bought cheap varnish, and that was when he invested in it at all. Just a hobby, he’d say. No use spending too much money on a hobby.”

Sometimes, though, I wonder whether it’s really the craquelure that she’s looking at. There are other ways of telling where in a lifetime a painting came from, after all.

I lead a friend through the house, pointing out Grandpa’s paintings as I go. I point to ones done all in bright colors, depicting sunrises and clear skies and towering mountains. “Grandpa painted those when he was at college,” I say. I touch the frames of the paintings of women holding babies, and cultivated gardens, and park benches. “He did these while he was raising his family. They’re my favorites.” I pause in front of an image of dark woods underneath a stormy sky. There are monsters lurking beneath the trees; you can’t see them, but you can’t deny they’re there. “And this one’s from when my grandma was dying,” I say softly.

Mama’s standing in the kitchen doorway. As I walk past, I catch her eye and know she heard me. She smiles.

Alrighty. Back over to you, Cara.

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Day 17: Oscitant

Hey, guys! Pearl here. I’m taking over the writing prompt project for a couple of days while Cara takes care of some Very Important Goal-Pursuing Business. So without further ado…

Word of the Day:

oscitant

adjective

1. drowsy or inattentive

2. yawning, as with drowsiness; gaping.

Okay. Here goes.

It was impossible not to become oscitant when wandering out in the old wheat fields. They seemed to stretch for miles, rippling and golden. The wind whispered through the stalks, telling all its secrets to anyone willing to listen. Like she was.

She’d walk for hours, running her hands through the grass, softly singing in harmony with the wind, letting her mind wander like her feet. When her eyes began to grow heavy from the scent and the warmth and the lullaby of the endless susurrus, she would sometimes find a smooth stretch of ground to lie down on, where she would shut her eyes, and breathe evenly, and slowly slip farther and farther away from consciousness. She never found it a sad parting. After all, what had consciousness ever done for her?

Once, as she lay there, she dreamed that he, too, was in the wheat fields, hurrying aimlessly to and fro, frantically calling her name. But it would’ve been easier for him to find a needle in a haystack than to find her in all those acres of wheat. She could’ve stood up, of course, and waved to him, and called to him, and run to him, and fallen into his arms…

But she didn’t. She only lay there and listened to his voice, calling and calling, on and on, until she could no longer tell the difference between it and the wind.

When she awoke, the sun was setting. She rose and began the long, slow walk home.

P.S. Cara, good luck on not yawning when you do this one. I failed utterly…

This Has Been My Worst Year Ever

Okay, the first thing you should know is that the title of this post is both hyperbolic and misleading. However, a good writer knows the value of an attention-catching title, and thus it shall remain as it is, in all its dishonest and worrying glory.

This has not been my worst year ever in a general sense. In fact, all things considered, this has been a pretty good year. I needn’t go into details, but I’m reasonably happy with the way my life (again, in general) has gone over the past eleven months or so. No, this year has only been dreadful as it relates to writing.

Actually, it’s probably hasn’t been my worst year for writing either, when one considers the fact that I started writing stories when I was, like, five and didn’t finish any story of any remarkable length until I was thirteen. But it might very well be the worst year for writing I’ve had since then.

Here’s what I mean:

I’ve basically written nothing, either fictional or on a blog, since the beginning of August. I’ve written emails, some of them quite long. But that’s it. No posts. No books. No short stories. No journal entries. No poems, for pity’s sake. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year – I didn’t even try.

Before that (earlier this year), I majestically failed to write the book I’d been planning to write over the summer, gloriously neglected the other unfinished manuscripts sitting forlornly on my desktop, and most fabulously of all, actually started writing a short story which I never completed.

A. Short. Story.

Looking back at my writing exploits (or lack thereof) of the past year, I think I feel more like a failure than… than… than I don’t know what.

I don’t know what the problem is. I can’t give an explanation for this unprecedented writing slump. For reasons infuriatingly unclear to me, none of my ideas excite me anymore, none of my phrasing sounds right, none of my characters seem worth writing about, and none of my words are coming easily. Day after day goes by, and I watch more movies, and memorize more songs, and read more books, and yearn more and more to be a part of this beautiful world of creators and stories that I surround myself with – and day after day goes by in which I do nothing to bring about this dream, nothing to satisfy this consumptive, life-destroying yearning.

You may have gathered that I have a tendency to unintentionally wax poetic when I’m at the end of my rope. It’s possible that I sound rather melodramatic and pathetic at the moment (I have trouble being objective about my own writing, so I can’t be sure). And if I do – well, I feel pathetic. I feel really really pathetic.

You may consider this an explanation of my deplorable lack of presence on this blog. Or you could view it as a confession. Or some sort of cry for help. Or simply as an overly poetic, overtly emotional, overdue venting of some pent-up feeling, which is probably closest to the truth. What exactly that feeling is I’m not entirely sure I could say (uselessness? helplessness? anger? grief? Those words all seem too strong, but…).

I want to write in 2016. I think I want that more than anything else.

I guess time will tell if wanting it is enough.

Picking Up the Figurative Pen

Hello there.

I’m Pearl. I haven’t posted here before.

Yeah, I know. The blog’s been around for quite a while now, and I’m only just now coming on to start writing. I’m slow.

It’s not that I don’t like writing. Quite the opposite. I love writing. I’ve been writing stories and journal entries and sarcastic essays since I was five. Longer, even (well, maybe not the essays; those came later, after school started). I’ve written three (very short) books, most of a fourth, and part of a fifth. I love writing.

So why has it taken me so long to make an appearance here?

The truth is, I don’t exactly know. For the past several months, I’ve been strangely burnt out on writing. My NaNoWriMo book only reached 18,000 words, a record low. I’ve barely touched my journal(s). The last several essays and short stories assigned me during my high school career just… didn’t end up happening. I got invited to participate on an awesome nerd blog called Semicolons Forever, and months went by without a word from me.

And it’s felt so wrong. I feel like a doused flame. A broken motor. A stormy sea gone eerily calm. Where in the world are my words?

I don’t know. I don’t care. Because, frankly, it’s gotten old. And this summer, I AM GOING TO WRITE.

My motivation or lack thereof is irrelevant. I still have my ideas, and my skill, and my stubborn pride. If I have to force it, I will. This summer, I will write.

I’m starting another book. At this point, I’ve told so many people that I’m doing it that I no longer have a choice. I’ve got my plot, my characters, my enthusiasm, my OTP, and my first two pages.

I’m posting on this blog. Maybe I’ll find random fantastic words to ramble about. Maybe I’ll gush about my favorite authors. Maybe I’ll complain about the poor grammar of my friends and acquaintances. Maybe I’ll post regular updates on how the book’s going. Maybe I’ll do it all.

This summer, I am once more picking up my pen to write (or rather, picking up my fingers to press the computer keys). And nothing, nothing, is going to stop me.

Here’s to this summer.

~Pearl Clayton