15.6.09

Word War. 15 minutes. Go.

I'm typing this on an intern's laptop in the Office of Letters and Light, here in downtown Oakland. I figure that if I'm going to abuse their fine hospitality, I should play by their rules, right? So. Fifteen minutes. Start writing about Jack London. GO.

* * * * *

They moved the cabin from the Yukon down to the bay, to better honour me. I don't know why they bothered. Sure, they'll be able to charge people a bit of admission, but that's providing people deign to show that much love for an author. More likely, it'll just give them a chance to charge twice as much for the nearby hotels. Three times as much, once the moss sets in.

But let them have it. That cabin was an eyesore when I moved in, and I hadn't been too worried about making it any prettier. It's not even where I did my writing, as much as they might have loved to capture my "writer's mojo" or such hogwash.

But, they were looking in the wrong place. They should have looked at the forests, or the glaciers, or the packs of wolves that howl at a sun, smokescreened and windswept until it looked like the moon.

They also should have looked at my underground lair. I mean, it was right there, underneath the cabin. They just had to hook a compass up to a battery, and then physically swing the needle north. Then, the entire floor drops in.

And this! This is the sort of thing they would have loved, O yes. Mementos of all my conquests -- from the skin of the polar gator from the ice floe swamps of the Yukon lowlands, to the glowing gold of Nanaimo. And here! The farewell gift I got from the space-faring Yeti when I helped them escape this rock, and return to their rightful home. It required such a massive detonation, that we had to disguise the radiation as the Northern Lights, which still persist to this day in a certain spot over Bering. I told them that was thanks enough, but they insisted on something else, and so I received this communicator. I'm told it allows instantaneous communication with their people, but its exact operation still confounds me. Perhaps that will be a challenge for some other explorer to unearth.

For unearth, they shall. I lived my days here, and it was not the natural scenery that made it beautiful to me - it was my sweat and toil. I would not dream of depriving the next visitor of that experience. And so, this land shall be wiped smooth, and in years to come, all that shall be found of my Arctic refuge is whatever the tree roots have failed to devour.

And what they find, they shall find with my blessing. Or if the wolves find it instead, perhaps that shall just prove all the clearer that they had always owned it in the first place.

* * * * *

447 words. Not bad, actually -- my personal best for a 15 minute sprint is 501. But you just know that Jack London could have written 502, all while skinning a caribou at the same time.

That's something to shoot for, I guess. But in the meantime, I'll just savour the moment of writing something (anything) in this wonderful place.

mojo status: 100/1000

Oh, by the way, I'm now three degrees of separation away from Koko the sign language gorilla. Thanks, Chris!

mojo status: 150/1000

1 comment:

SarahJanet said...

Ahhh, I'm so glad you loved it there as much as we did. I had visions of you having this mediocre time and thinking we were crazy.

But clearly that would be impossible, because it's the greatest place ever with the nicest people in the whole world!

About The Author

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.