Yes, this Eleanor excerpt was originally posted much farther down on the scroll and earlier in the process, but I doubt many of the new readers have seen it, unless you've read the entire page from beginning to end. Eleanor is still waiting for Mrs. Brown and Her Dancing Bears to appear. Also, sometimes "parts of the process" are worth revisiting. Even if you don't revise, you can find a center in the smallest pieces of the whole, and that center can lead you forward.
So, on Eleanor's behalf, and per Eleanor's request, I'm reposting this.
At times, she wants to be a rebel. Other times, she wants to be taken care of. Still other times, Eleanor doesn't want you to know what she wants (and those are the times she's most interesting to write).
This is Eleanor, age 12. Note that when Eleanor speaks directly to the audience in other, more recent posts, she is age 17, almost 18 now (this year is her birthday as a character -- 18 years old).
Eleanor has been a "complete" novel many times during these 18 years, but until this go-around, I haven't managed to get her exactly the way she needs to be. Now, after all of this time, I believe we're on the right road, with all of the right elements, and hence, this scroll to document the process.
But, I digress.
Eleanor, this one is for you, to begin Day Eight. G
a novel by Geoff Schutt
She put her hands together and welcomed everyone to the show, said she hoped they would have a wonderful time, said we have such a treat for you tonight. We have Mrs. Brown and her Dancing Bears, and we have Merle the Singing Dentist. But first we have me. I am called Eleanor.
Eleanor said to the emptiness: My father works in public relations but that doesn't mean he likes it. You can hide from a job like that. I am his niece or I am his god-something. He is too young to be my father. I am twelve, too old to be his daughter.
I wish I were bold. I would like to run my tongue across your cheeks and taste what smells you have absorbed during the day. Do you find this appropriate behavior for a twelve-year-old? I am not like other girls. I am not as bad as you think I am. But someday I would like to be bold, you know?
She stepped around, put her arms behind her back so her hands were toward the empty seats. She wiggled the middle finger of each hand and whispered, This is what I think when I think about you.
The custodian was here. He was pushing a mop bucket. Eleanor hid stage left, crouched way down so he couldn't see her. She watched him.
The custodian pulled the mop from the water, rung it dry, used both hands and set it on the stage. But he did not see Eleanor, now in the shadows. He walked to the side steps and was actually coming up to be with his mop! Eleanor slid back a little further. There was no way he could see her. He picked up the mop, looked both ways, held it like a microphone and began to sing.
Oh my God, Eleanor thought. Everybody wants to be a star, she thought.
He was singing an Elvis song. This one was from Blue Hawaii. Eleanor recognized it. She'd seen all of the Elvis movies. Two years before that, believe it or not, right around the time her mother was gone, she watched an Elvis movie marathon on TV. It was the perfect way to forget anything was wrong with the world. The absolute perfect way to forget.
The custodian let the mop drop, flipped it up with his foot and danced with it like he was a rock star. He left the stage. He put the mop into the bucket and began pushing it down the center aisle. He gave a little bow to his right and a little bow to his left and it was all Eleanor could do to keep from clapping her hands.
When he was gone, Eleanor stood up, walked into the imaginary spotlight, said, We're terribly sorry, but because of a previous engagement we were not aware of, Mrs. Brown and her Dancing Bears could not be with us today.
To Reach The Green Light At The End Of The Pier
FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES: "We are saving ourselves through the words," says Eleanor, the leading lady of a novel-in-progress. This exploration into the creative process -- which includes plenty of distractions/tangents /thoughts & rants by Eleanor, her Biographer, and selected guest artists -- will continue until Eleanor is certain her story is "right." (But we dare not jump ahead of ourselves.)
There will be the occasional typo (as Eleanor points out), and much of this is intended to be "original draft" -- what comes out of our mouths (heads) first, and then set down in that order. Not all of it will be included in the novel, but all of it is happening in real time.
ELEANOR says: "Please turn the page. Keep reading."
For more of Eleanor and her Biographer -- as well as the work of our many guest artists -- check out the older postings. "Everything is part of the process, and the process is the journey," Eleanor says.