I'm not talking about my age! It's NaNoWriMo all day every day here, and I read someplace that a manuscript starts to fall apart on page seventy. I'm reserving judgement until I read it over again, but for now this is page 70 in its just-hatched state:
All night Nela stood in front of the whiteboard at home, making calculations, erasing, trying again:
the beginning and the end, but not the alpha and omega of anything important. Prisoners of one sort or another had had to do without whiteboards or moleskine notebooks and Mont Blanc pens. She should consider herself lucky. She had only been imprisoned in the past, in her brother’s house, sunk into her mother’s samsara. The thing that kept her going through those long months of care-giving was the thought of her board, her chalk, and her books waiting for her, like souls for a body. She had been ravenous for work, and now that she had a good idea to write up, she was stymied. Why? She had the time and the privacy to work on the new data. Jackson had promised to send her his material. “Go ahead and send it to Nature,” he had told her. “Don’t wait for me.” No distractions now, but a small, stalled romance. The thought she had been pressing down, rose up just then --perhaps she had lost her powers. “All mathematicians feel like that,” her brother had told her once, trying to comfort her out of another slump. Looking at his pinched features, she had seen his concern for her. His bravado didn’t go very deep. It was good that he could not see her now, standing naked in front of the board, hands on her head, grabbing at her chalk-streaked tufts of hair, as if pulling on them hard enough would yield some progress. The red eye on the answering machine blinked away the hours more insistently than any clock.
When she slept, it was on the cot she kept in the living room. She pulled it to face the board, and closed her eyes one at a time, uncommitted to the idea of sleep until it overtook her. When dawn broke over the cottage like a runny egg, Nela woke with her pulse slamming in her temples, and the sensation that she had lost something precious. It was a familiar feeling, one that she promised herself to examine later, in case her subconscious was trying to tell her something crucial. Most likely, her feeling was the jumbled result of the day’s flotsam and jetsam.