Chapter 3, a beginning

Even though I only got to writing after 6 pm, I spent a good part of the day laying out the chapter in my mind. The weather was nice outside, with temps up around 30 °C so I went for a hike through the Lobau, a natural reserve of riparian forest on the outskirts of Vienna. It really helps me focus to be outside. The image above I took when hiking along one of the many dead side arms of the Danube. I am not posting this as an excuse for starting writing late. I did manage to write a solid 1,000 words today, so all is good.

Well, as I mentioned already yesterday, I left Raoul sitting at a bar at the close of Chapter 2. I picked up the story again with Liz in her lab, getting ready to leave but deciding to get a quick beer and a bite to eat before going home. Guess which bar she is destined to go?

In the thousand words I wrote today, I advanced the plot right to the point where Liz is about to enter O’Reily’s Irish pub. I’ll pick up from there tomorrow. But I also introduced Liz’s thesis advisor and head of the Department of Neurobiology at Boston University, Prof. Mary Lenowsky. Their’s will be a rather antagonistic relationship, causing Liz quite some worries in the future. Here is the part where I introduce Prof. Lenowsky.

Liz and Professor Lenowsky had a bit of a strained relationship. Right from the start, it was plainly obvious that the two women could not be more different. Liz despising convention and formalities, whereas Lenowsky valued appearance and authority. At their first meeting in Lenowsky’s carefully styled office, Liz had left a trail of dirt marks from her sneakers leading all the way from the door, across the spotless parquet floorboards, all the way to the visitor chair opposite of Lenowsky’s vast mahogany office desk. She had plopped down, leaned back and crossed her legs, looking expectantly. Lenowsky sat up straight in her chair, her manicured hands folded and placed neatly in the center of the expensive writing mat in front of her. Her eyes traced the muddy path left by Liz’s sneakers. Once they arrived at the chair where Liz was slouching, her eyebrows shot up, followed a second later by a disapproving frown. It was quite obvious what Lenowsky’s first impression of Liz was. If it hadn’t been for Liz’s excellent academic track record and enthusiastic recommendations from several staff members, Lenowsky would not have accepted her as a doctoral candidate in her department after this kind of behavior. She’d turned her around and shown her the door immediately.

Liz tried to cross Lenowsky’s path as little as possible, which seemed to be in line with the goal of her thesis advisor. They used email for most their communications which suited Liz just fine. The bigger problem, however, was that Lenowsky was very critical of Liz’s work, right from the start. Whenever Liz presented at the weekly research staff meetings, Lenowsky was sure to let everybody know what she thought of Liz’s work. In the best of cases this would be a snide remark at the end of her presentation. And if Liz couldn’t keep her mouth shut and tried to defend herself, this would inevitably turn into a heated and emotional discussion.

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