Monday, November 12, 2007

NaNoWriMo extract - for Write Stuff link

They sat surrounded by large pieces of butchers paper, crayons, textas, red wine bottles and half full glasses. It was Friday night and they’d pushed back the furniture and were sitting on the large brightly coloured IKEA cushions from the couch. After the first week of campaigning they were revisiting the pedantically planned campaign, at Abby’s insistence.

“I still don’t think darling that honesty is the best course of action,” Cal rebutted. It was the same argument that he had used the entire evening, and for the last two days.
“Well I do. It’s my campaign and I think we need to do it differently. We need to make our mark,” she disagreed with an insistence that was almost pathological.
“You mean, you need to make your mark,” countered Vi.

Abby ignored the ego shot and rubbed the side of her nose with her pointer finger.
“Honesty is one of foundations of the social integrity platform. I’m not walking my talk.”
“My concern and it’s the same as Cal’s, is that you’re going to alienate more people, than you a bring into the fold doing this.”
“How do you think all the women who have ever chosen abortion feel when Garth gets up there sprouting his anti-abortion rhetoric, compliments of the Family First Party and the God squad?”
“He’s an extreme right element,” Vi reminded.
“How do all the women who have had Caesarean’s feel when you’re up engaged in a one woman dialogue on the greatness of natural birth and how anything else is destroying us a race?” threw in Cal, enjoying for a moment his role as Devil’s advocate.
“This isn’t about me,” defended Abby, shooting her husband a cold and defiant look.

“Actually darling this is all about you. What if your insistence on being honest is really just divide and conquer tactics, and what if it backfires on you and you’re the one that is toppled.”
“Oh fuck off Cal,” spat Abby, slipping quickly into an argumentative and moody frame of mind.
“Bogan!” quipped Cal, offering Abby more red wine.
“I want people to realise I’m just a normal woman doing something that should not be an extraordinary thing. It shouldn’t be such a big thing for a Mum to be running for Parliament.”
“But it is darling.”

“I want to go head to head with Garth in a debate,” declared Abby, after a few minutes silence. It was one of her trade mark nonsequitor that always came from no where in particular.
“You what!” Vi and Cal exclaimed in stereo.
“You heard me. Can you make it happen Vi – next weekend perhaps?”
“I can ring his campaign manager and ask – but hell Abby, he’ll eat you alive.”
“He’s one of God’s soldier’s not one of his parhanas Vi,” joked Abby, but with a definite edge of seriousness to it. “We’re both targeting the family vote, the community vote … I think we need to stand side by side and debate the issues.”
“In those terms it’s not a terrible idea,” agreed Cal cautiously. “But my concern is for you darling. Winning the junior school debating in Year 10 is one thing, but standing before a media pack and going head to head with a man who’s really savvy….”

“I’ve got you to coach me - both of you.”
“Let’s sleep on it,” suggested Vi, she intended to put it to her conscious to decide. She’d write on a piece of paper ‘Is it a good idea for Abby to publicly debate Garth?’, put it under her pillow and wait for her dreams to answer it. It wasn’t a terribly scientifically rigorous method for making decisions, but in the past she’d had about a 90% success rate. The other 10% belonged to the dreams that she didn’t remember.

Abby paced around, her long slender feet padding softly on the polished floor boards and carefully among the brainstorming sheets. She stood in as bastardised version of the pose of the tree. With her foot flexing into and out of a point beside her left ankle as she read, absorbed, critiqued and replanned. Cal knew her inability to stay still, mirrored her overactive mind that was grappling to incorporate everything into a logical sequence in her mind.

“We need to confirm that we do have our scrutinisers and people to hand out how to vote cards in all locations on polling day,” stated Abby throwing the conversation off onto another tangent. “I know we discussed this before the election but I want to have a list of everyone, plus their numbers emails address etc.”

“We need to bring on someone who can just do that,” suggested Cal, seeing that they had already dumped an extra burden of organisation on Vi over the course of the evening.

While she was young, tenacious and ambitious, she also had limits. He knew that she’d put her whole life, including her studies on hold for this and he didn’t want her to burn out before the six weeks were up. He was also aware that he’d bought her into this and felt a degree of responsibility of ensuring this was a good outcome for her, even if Abby wasn’t elected..

“Any ideas who?” Abby mumbled, as she continued to pace slowly around the pieces of paper, taking in what they had written.

Vi shrugged her shoulders.

“Let’s write up a ‘to do list’, to bring all this other guff together,” suggested Abby more as an order than a casual suggestion. “And I want a clear and concise point form overview of what a platform of social integrity means in practise, not simply in theory. This is what will topple the Family First Party’s agenda. I want this to be the language that all families understand and feel an innate pull towards.”

Wil wandered out more asleep than awake around 1:00am as they were still ploughing through the essential tweaks of the election campaign.
“Hello goobah,” she said quietly, taking the sleepy boy into her lap and cuddling him close.
He snuggled in and immediately went back to sleep.

“I still think honesty is the key,” Abby concluded. “It links this, this, this, this … and this, just for a beginning,” she illustrated, awkwardly pointing her foot to the different pieces of paper that had replaced the original ones. “It’s the absolute fundamental … and I don’t need your blessings to do this. This is how I want to, and how I am going to play this game. Because it is a game after all … and this is the only way I envisage getting myself into the Senate.”

Cal and Vi were both exhausted.
“I don’t need your blessings to do this,” she repeated.
“No, but you want them,” Vi commented honestly, rubbing her eyes that were tired, dry and itchy.

She half sat Wil up against her, and then carefully picked up his long limp body.
“I’m going to bed. The spare room is made up Vi, you’re welcome to stay over if you want. We have pancakes on a Saturday morning, Wil would be thrilled to see you here. I need sleep if I’m going to be on the ball down at Bunnings in the morning.”


Anonymous said...

Oh this is gold! I love it!

d sinclair said...

nice work Jodi - it really kept me interested all the way through (and I hate politics!)...

and well done on your monumental word count too!

xx d

Riki said...

I love the pace of the dialogue... but then I am a skittish Saggo.
Great stuff Jodi, it reads with the imagery of a screen-play.
thankyou for the opportunity to comment. R.

Anonymous said...

BlueSugar here Jodi, This is fantastic writing! I really hope you win as you have an extraordinary talent. I always knew you had it in you and I am glad to see it has transformed into reality! XX

2gether said...

wow Jodi, go girl, this is great

Anonymous said...

Jo, thankyou for keeping me up to date with your latest literary adventures. I am so pleased and proud that the potential and desire you showed in Year 8 has extended beyond 96 page letters into engaging, accomplished and tempting writing. Go you good thing, all the best you have my vote. Mel.