nanowrimo snippet #5

Her alarm is set for way too early, she has pre-purchased a can of Red Bull so as to have instant caffeine upon waking up. But she’s like a kid at Christmas, trying to make herself go to sleep early and failing miserably, waking up before she’s supposed to. Half an hour before her alarm she gives up, and goes to get her Red Bull, downing it far too quickly. She is ready, stealing a couple of individually packaged crackers from the pantry and adding them to her little bag, dressed in no time at all, despite having three times as much dressing to do than usual.

The Gare Central is easy enough to get to, as she walks along the 7am streets to her metro station, and just sits, waiting for her stop, no changes, no running through streets she doesn’t know her way around yet. Still, the signs are in French when she hops off, and it takes a few false starts for her to successfully find stairs to lead her up and into the main station. But Petra is a powerful woman, who can do anything. This is her mantra.

nanowrimo snippet #4

“Her routine…” Petra starts to ask, and Emma starts laughing out loud.

“Every semester. My god. She has to be home early the night before, to sort out a week’s worth of lunches. While whatever thing she’s making sits in the oven, she tries to memorise her timetable, figure out the best routes between any classes that are one-after-another, make the big decision on where her ‘spot’ is going to be that semester. She always has to have somewhere fresh and new,” she explains. “My money’s on the somewhere in the architecture building again this time.”

Renée nods. “Definitely.”

Petra is confused. “But isn’t she – aren’t you all psych students?”

“Well, technically, I’m neuroscience, not psych-”

“Basically the same damn thing,” Renée interjects.

Almost the same damn thing,” Emma continues, pausing as a waiter puts down a bowl of pistachio nuts on the table, “merci, monsieur! But anyway, the architects have the best coffee on campus, we discovered early on. So the café there has always been our go-to establishment, when we’re too lazy to go off campus.”

“And Olivia drinks a lot of coffee. So it’s easier for her to set up camp somewhere by the good stuff.”

“Ja. So, she’ll be planning all that. Then she’ll need to distress, so she’ll steal my yoga mat and attempt a few half-assed poses, since I still haven’t managed to drag her to class, and she refuses to learn from me, only from hacks on YouTube. She’ll get frustrated, bundle the mat up and use it as a pillow to nap until the oven timer goes off. Then she’ll eat a whole lunch’s worth of her carefully measured meal, curse her stupidity, grab a wine cooler and call it a night.”

Petra almost feels like applauding, such was the delivery and detail in the story. “And that’s what she does every semester?”

Emma shrugs, cracks open a pistachio with the shell of another. “More or less.”


Promise I’ll get back to non NaNo stuff soonish – right now I’m just trying to stay ahead of the goal word count, to keep things ticking along – and it seems to be working well so far! In theory, with a constant pace, one should be up to 6668 words by day 4, and I’ve just finished up with 7596. Woo!

nanowrimo snippet #3

Everything is white with snow. Even in the dark, the world seems to glow brightly, the shelf outside her window already stacked high with flurries. Quickly she pulls out the days clothes from her laundry basket, dresses haphazardly and runs out the front door, not bothering with gloves, jacket unbuttoned. Her inner temperate climate child is shrieking with glee, and she can barely contain herself from letting it out externally. If any person were to look out their window on that stretch of Rue de Bullion, they would see what seems like a madwoman – what could well be a madwoman – spinning around with her mouth open to the heavens, letting the night’s fresh snow fall upon her waiting tongue.


Before long, though, her fingers start to grow stiff with cold, and she has tasted enough of this mysterious substance, felt it melt in her mouth and turn to nothing at all. “Good night, you strange, magical place,” she whispers, before gently closing the front door before her, and once in bed, falling into the sweetest sleep she has known in a very long time.


The next couple of days are spent in cafes drinking chai tea and reading course outlines, and in parks, throwing snowballs with her amused flatmates, lying on the ground and twitching limbs around to make angels with Sasha, another exchange student

nanowrimo snippet #2

“’Wish you were here’ postcards are a crock of shit,” Emma says, watching Petra shuffle through the small stack that she has accrued over the last few days. “The people who you feel the need to send those kind of postcards to are the kind that you’d never want anywhere near your vacation.”

“You may have a point,” Petra replies, squinting at a twilight skyline. “This is Chicago, right?”

Olivia peers over her shoulder. “Well, it’s not LA and it’s not here. So unless you took the most circuitous route ever to get to the Mont, then yes, it’s Chicago.”

Petra turns it over. Greetings from Chicago at night! “Well, I don’t know, maybe they were supporting a sister city or something.” She flips to another one. “Welcome to the shores of Lake Michigan? I barely even saw any lake. It should be Welcome to O’Hare International Transit Lounge! Over priced fast food, uncomfortable chairs! Why did I tell people I’d send postcards?”

nanowrimo snippet #1 [backdated 1st november]

“You’re, like, one of those manic depressive dream girls, or whatever.” Vanessa twirls herself around on one of the bar stools as she tells Anya this, red wine swirling precariously in her martini glass.

“Manic depressive dream girls?”

“Yeah, you know, like Zooey Deschanel.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“She means manic pixie dream girl,” Jamie says, trimming his sideburns and using the kettle as a mirror. “And you are. Well, you want to be.”

“Right,” Anya says, slowly. Petra sees her study her reflection in the kettle as well – Jamie keeps it shiny, which seems at odds with the relative hygiene of his facial hair maintenance habits. “I still don’t know what you mean.”

Jamie sighs, puts down the razor. “You’re quirky. You work in a gift shop that sells fake sugar skulls and necklaces with old-school cartoon characters on them. You’re relatively attractive, by conventional measures – waist size, shininess of hair, etc, but you’re just a little odd. You talk a lot about your vinyl collection and your penchant for children’s fantasy novels, and wear overall dresses. And you’re totally oblivious to the fact that you’re a walking cliché.” He crosses his arms. “Et voila. I hope this experience has been enlightening for you.”

Anya frowns, Petra snorts. Jamie resumes shaving.