Monday, September 19, 2011

Early Fall Prediction

Lunch: small in volume, calories, and carbs
Temperature: 74 F
Wind: NW between 5 and 10 mph
Sky: not a cloud to be seen
Knees: painful
Blood sugar: feeling normal
Woolly worms: out in force
Characters: in my head

Thus was my noon hour walk, just concluded. It was very pleasant. Even though my knees were aching, they've been worse recently, and the knowledge that the walk was good for them made me mostly forget about the pain. I did only one lap up and down the street of the commercial subdivision. Before the RA pain in my knees I did a lap in about 9.5 minutes. I'm considerably slower now. Although I didn't time it I'd say I walked between 10.5 and 11.5 minutes.

That's not enough walking to make a major dent in any health issue I have, but every little bit is good. If the weather stays like this, and my knees show just a little more improvement, I hope to be up to two laps by the end of the week. Then maybe I can drop a little weight, and get back to where I was in early June, before the combination of ehrlichiosis and 110 F temperatures sidelined me.

And yes, the woolly worms were crossing the sidewalks in front of me. I didn't count them, but surely I saw between 10 and 20. I resisted the urge to squish some of them. In fact, I'm not sure exactly what woolly worms are. Are they a beneficial species, or a bad one? Are these the early form of the beautiful moth, but which destroys decorative plants during their growth? People say you can predict how bad the coming winter is going to be by observing the woolly worms. I haven't read that book yet, so I'll make no prediction. Maybe I'll make an post on Facebook, and see what responses I get.

And Ronny Thompson, Tony Mancini, Colt Washburn, John Lind, and Sarah Jane Riley, and a host of their acquaintences, friends, foes, and three dead people were all in my head, kind of swirllng around. Each of these has another 15,000 to 20,000 words to make their big splash in the world. Mancini still has to say the words from which the book title comes: "I'm going to kill him in front of fifty thousand screaming people." Washburn still has to...have something happen to him, or do something stupid to someone, so that he pays the penalty as the bad guy he is.

Sarah Jane has already figured out her life is a mess, and that she can straighten it out, but has yet to take that step. John Lind has been silent for a few chapters. What will he do after it was his investigative reporting that threatened to bring ruin to the Cubs quest for their first World Series victory in more than a century? Can he make it up to Cubs' Nation?

And how will Ronny Thompson be reconciled to his parents and his girlfriend? Will he be? In the last thousand words he discovered his girlfriend has been lying to him, and he's cut off all communication with his parents. Yet tomorrow he has to pitch the biggest game of his life, and then a bigger one right after that. How will he handle it?

Last night I wrote the scene that is the "second plot point". This is the moment in the protagonist's life where something happens to him, perhaps in part his own doing, where he makes the decision to carry the quest to completion. This scene, on the Brooklyn Bridge, has been consuming some of my gray cells for over a year, but I refused to write it ahead of time. I finally got to that point last night. It came out pretty good, I think, almost exactly as I envisioned it.

I don't know what the woolly worms are predicting as far as winter is concerned, or if they really have any true prophetic value. But I make these predictions: These incessent characters will continue to haunt me until they have had their denoument. I will continue to be obsessed about finishing the book. And In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People will be finished in three weeks, give or take a couple of days. Then let the editing begin!


Gary said...

Wooly Bear catepillars:

If you measured the twenty you encountered, you would find substantial variation in the width of the bands. Not only that, but there are several interpretations possible. It's more accurate to predict near-term future weather from immediately past and present weather data. The National Weather Service can go out several months with likelihood estimates of temps and precip.

David A. Todd said...

Thanks, Gary. I'll look at the wiki article (though possibly I already read it).