Thursday, November 3, 2011


The baby keeps bringing me markers to open. I don't connect that the eighteen month old is asking me to open markers and then running away into another room. I am writing, dammit. I can't be distracted. Stare at the screen. Peck at the keyboard. Open a marker. I crouch, peering into my post-apocalyptic world. I don't know what genre this novel is. I lead a Girl Army. I have dreams. Except it is not me. It is the me of novel world. A better me. I tick off words. 739, 928, 1125, 1667 words to write today, leading into 50,000 this month on the same story. Must. Not. Divert. Focus.

My couch is beautifully decorated with little marker scratches. My writing for today is done and the marks are easily erased. The baby dances when I find his artwork. It seems a small price to pay for fifteen minutes of uninterrupted writing time in the morning. It is November again. I am writing a novel. In a month. NaNoWriMo. AND I am doing a piece of Art Every Day. I do post about each day's drawing at still life every day.

This year, my sister is writing her incredible book idea, which is so exciting to me because that means one day I get to read it. I actually finished my book last year. (It surprises me as much as you.) I am picking up where the story left off and writing the second part of the book. Or I am writing a new book all together. I never quite finished the book I started last year. I had intended on writing a memoir about my weird life, but the truth is, I want to get out of my head. I want to write about someone else all together. So it is the me after the apocalypse, if I don't die.

Last year, if I am being honest, writing a novel in a month and  painting one watercolor a day for a month for AEDM helped me understand myself more than accomplish anything concrete. I barely revisited the 50,330 words I wrote last year. And yet, every day, those words impacted my life. It is strange revisiting those emotions that come with the chill of autumn settling in. The crisp air blows into our lives and the late night writing jaunts settle onto my bones. Lucy's birthday steps into the background of the opening scene of my novel, stands still and staunch, waiting to be recognized. I am ignoring the imposing figure right now. I have a novel to write. On the other side of November is December. There are many emotions that comes with writing--elation, earnestness, feelings of inadequacy, strength, fears of failure. Last year, I pushed through those feelings with the false bravado of bourbon behind me. This year, it is just me and a novel without a plot quite yet developed. If I fail, at least I have some writing to mine later on. But I don't think I will fail. I am just crossing off another year of firsts. First novel without bourbon.

One part of NaNoWriMo that I love is the social aspect of it. I connect with writers, and we do sprints. We go into chat rooms, or chat via gmail, and use an online stopwatch. We write for ten minutes, the timer goes off. We compare word counts, and plot points, and then go back for another sprint. We do this until we hit our word count, and it is much easier to write when I am accountable to someone other than myself, the Dictator of Distraction, the Princess of Preoccupation, the Viscount of Work Avoidance. If you are taking on this fool task, write with me. Comment here, and let's connect that way.

In other news, my head is about to explode because tomorrow Jess from after iris and Glow in the Woods is coming for the weekend. TO MY HOUSE! I can't stop bouncing. I will get to hug her in real life. Walk around the city. Just hold onto her arm and say, "You are a real person. Not just the voice in my head who makes me laugh and echos my darkest thoughts." I think what I am looking forward to most is just being normal with her. A weekend gives you the freedom to have a long cup of coffee and chitchat like it happens everyday. We will talk of Iris and Lucy and art and work and marriage and just love her. Every bit of her.


  1. funny you should write about the apocalypse...I say ASHMOCOALYPSE.... OF COURSE you would survive and you know what? if you look around the other people who also are standing beside you are all BLM. You can stare that shit down and say BRING IT! because I HAVE LIVED THROUGH and SURVIVED WORSE! MY DAUGHTER DIED!

    I am so excited for you to be so creative this month in so many ways...BUT how are you going to get that word count in with Jess there?? haha Have a blast. I hope to meet up with another kindred spirit someday too. A giant thumbs up and good luck for the month.

  2. Yes! I am doing NaNoWriMo and I'm so thrilled to hear that you're doing it too. I have papers to grade and students to meet with and classes to plan and finals to write, but I am going to write 50,000 words of this ridiculous novel that is completely removed from my reality.

    I got a massage on Tuesday, and my massage therapist is really kind and knows my story and spoke to me about my grief and about how it's fine to cry during the massage or whatever. But I spent the entire time "relaxing" and dreaming of plot lines and characters and dialogue.

  3. I'm really excited for this month of writing and will be thinking of you often. What a nifty idea. The new writing frontier is so much cooler...

    And how fun to see Jess. I find that the more I get to share in my pain with someone, the more I get to share in my joy with them too. What a treat for you. Have fun!

  4. I'm so happy you two get to meet. I hope you have a wonderful time together. Feeling a tad envious.
    And I wish NaNoWriMo was not during our spring, as I think I'd like to give it a go. The time of year when we're all heading outdoors again. I might have to make my own NaNoWriMo in about six months when I'm ready to hibernate again :)

  5. OK, that's funny about Thor. I am giving it a shot this year, too, and I feel like instead of markers I am plying my boys with pretzels. I don't care how many you eat, I need to get to 1667!

    I don't have a plot. I don't have really even a setting. All I have is a bunch of characters and I don't now where they're going yet. BUt it's pretty fun. I understand what you mean about getting out of your own head. Even if these characters bear a striking resemblance to me over the course of my own life, they're totally NOT ME, OK!?

    Anyway. Have a fantastic weekend! I wish We could have a huge party where we could all hang together, but it's hard enough to even get to the grocery store, I know it would be impossible to get everyone in one place at once. Sigh. Looking forward to the updates :)

  6. Hope you enjoy the writing, my fingers are itching to get their grubby prints on the previous 50,330 words!

    Have a brilliant, brilliant time with Jess. I'm so glad that you two are finally getting to meet!

    Renel - ASHMOCOALYSE! Mwah ha ha ha! You just made me fall off my chair laughing. Seriously, that may be the best invented word I've ever read!

  7. Have fun! November is just too busy for me at work to commit to writing a post every day for 30 days -- or (eeek) an entire novel. But I love reading what everyone else comes up with. Another thing to look forward to when I retire. : )


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