NaNoWriMo and the 10,000 Words…

NaNoWriMo, Day 19.  I am in bed today.  I am in bed today, because my fibromyalgia symptoms are significant enough to keep me in bed today.

I am in bed today although I ought to be doing so much else.  Perhaps I am in bed today because I ought not to have been doing as much as I have been.

Regardless of which it is, there is only one thing that I can do today:  write.

I will be writing many things today, including approximately 5,000 to 10,000 words for NaNoWriMo.  Writing so many words will, apparently, bring me back on track to complete the required 50,000 words by November 30th.

The idea of writing so very many words does not seem daunting at all, but rather enjoyable.  This is what I have discovered as I have been doing NaNoWriMo.  I truly enjoy writing stories.  I enjoy the process of discover that happens with every written word.  What I mean is that even though I have an outline (and thank the universe that I do), I am still discovering new aspects of my characters and of the stories.  I am learning that a story is not a linear experience and involves more trekking off the main road than I had previously thought. In other words, I am recognizing that writing a story is akin to writing a poem, where each word hold innumerable meaning.

Of course, it helps to have a deadline, which one may choose to meet or not.  For me, I am certain that I will meet it.  I understand, however, as I have been writing that getting to 50,000 words is not the end.  Truly, getting to 50,000 means only that I have formed the skeleton upon which the body of my story is to be carried.

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to be portable. Long exposure lit by sweeping an LED flashlight over the scene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Really, I suppose I want to reiterate the point made by other NaNoWriMo writers and bloggers.  That is, the point of NaNoWriMo, I believe, is not to force one into writing a novel in one month.  Rather, it is to inspire one to draft a story, on which one will continue to work until its completion.

Truly, writing an entire novel is a daunting enterprise as many, who have tried to so do, can attest.  The standard novel is approximately 100,000 words.  NaNoWriMo’s challenge allows one to get to the half-way mark, i.e. 50,000 words.  Moreover, having to meet the deadline of November 30th aids in pushing one pass the block of procrastination.  I believe that the focus on quantity rather than quality forces one to dismiss the voices of self-criticism and self-doubt, in order to put down on paper the ideas that have been floating in our creative minds.

NaNoWriMo is not about writing a bestseller off the bat, but perhaps getting our thoughts organized enough to write something of interest to ourselves and hopefully others (if we choose to share it).  I am glad that I read Harley Jane Kozak‘s “NaNoNoNoNoNoNoMo” in Write Good or Die that deals with the challenges and humour of doing NaNoWriMo.

English: An Italian shopping list for groceries.

English: An Italian shopping list for groceries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Kozak, some of us may find ourselves thinking that the “only way to pull it off is to throw grocery lists into my novel, along with my Thanksgiving Squash Souffle Recipe, William’s home phone number, notes to my kids’ teachers, and drafts of the text for my Christmas cards, which need to get to the printer.”

Perhaps, as Kozak ended, we may even choose to cut and past our blogs to make our word count. 😉  Either way, we should try to have fun with it, no matter how it turns out in the end.  After all, as one of my professors recently said to me, “Every month is National Novel Writing Month.”

I hope all NaNoWriMo-ers are also making their way towards the deadline in good spirits.  Eleven more days to go! 🙂

Until Next Time!



In Absence of Loc’s…

Almost two years ago, I sat on the floor in my bedroom, staring at a propped up full-length mirror.  My eyes were red and stinging from crying.  My ex was staring at me with concern.  I am not sure where the dogs were, and it’s quite possible that they were there too.  It was Thursday.  It was evening.  It was Thanksgiving Day.  It was also the beginning end.October 1999.  Stanford-in-Berlin Program.  It was the day before we left to travel as a group to Weimar to visit Buchenwald and to see the Bauhaus School of Art & Design.  I sat in the darken closet space in the library/loft bedroom that served as my home for a semester.  My hands were moving silently and quickly trying to unravel, trying to untangle the part of myself that was false.

They weighed 2.5 lbs.  My dreadlocks.  Long, black, streaked red, interwoven with the hairs of those whom I had loved and still loved.  I placed them in a large wooden box, buried them with the things that once belonged to that which was now lost.  I buried the box under boxes, the memories hidden from my sight, my head free and light, even if my heart was fully empty.

I shoved the engineered strands that once formed plaits, that once gave me an image of who I wanted to be but was not.  I decided then, thirteen years ago, to accept the image of myself that stood:  dark circled eyes, lips too big, cheeks puffy, pimpled face, brooding, always too hungry and never fully satisfied even after consuming anything and anyone.  I had been living in a vaccuum catering to my illusions and fostering my disillusionment with the world around me.

The screaming voice, terrified in its inaction, broke my heart.  The words did not make sense, but then again they did.  Drop everything and run.  Dropped everything and ran to my car, open the door and drove speedily on curved roads.  It wouldn’t have changed anything.  It changed nothing.  Death happens sometimes in an instant.  There is nothing to be done. Whether it is the warmth of the cooling body that lays still beneath touch of a palm roughed and ruined by age and care.  In absence of signs of either life or death, there is neither hope nor grief.

“Bend or Break,” photography by Diedré M. Blake (2010)

Going against the grain.  It’s what I do best.  After I came out to my mom in 1996 as a lesbian, I immediately started dating men, resulting in memories best forgotten and the decision that all men were bigs…I’ve changed my mind about that…somewhat.  It’s doing the unexpected that make life worth living.  At least, you know that you are choosing and not someone else.So, I decided to resign from my job just when I was eligible for indpendent licensure.  I decided to leave the country that served as my home for twenty-odd years to move to place where I didn’t speak the language, had nothing and no one.  I decided to cut my hair just when I began to recognize myself in the mirror.

Until Next Time…