Na’ No’ Yo’ Normal Novel Writing

For some reason I really wanted to do NaNoWriMo this year – that crazy, month long sprint to 50,000 words. And every time I brought it up amongst my literary friends – and got the appropriately literary version of “meh” as a response – my intention doubled. Forget that I didn’t know which novel to work on, forget that I have three or four other projects going this month, forget that I’m up to my eyeballs busy. The only voice that really got through to me was the quiet one in the corner who, really, just wanted to cast on and start knitting. This gave me pause. Long pause. And though I kept up the gun-ho optimism, and signed in with a placeholder novel, my plans for November started to seem a bit desperate. I cast on for a cowl on Saturday (and have done nothing with it since, naturally) and today I realized what I was going to do about Nano.

  1. I will not be participating in Nano
  2. I will be writing

I’ve been reading teacher blogs at work lately ( . . . . I have no excuse for this ), and one I’ve come to adore is Michael Pershan’s Teaching With Problems, he talks in one post about writing slowly and well and deeply, and that makes me think about what kinds of writing I take enjoyment in. Not what I enjoy reading, although it’s interesting to think about how the activities are connected, but what I actively enjoy the process of crafting. I like research writing. I like writing about nothing while talking about things. I like snappy, funny, clever writing – but I tend to like it in flashes: warm, merry darts of sunshine amidst a subaqueous canopy of words. I liked my review for Princess Passes, and normally I hate reviewing, and I love my response post to the first chapter of tea table talks. I like thinking out loud on paper screen, and being prosy and vague in ways that you simply aren’t supposed to be in fiction or emails or text messages. So for Nano I will be writing. No, I will not subject you to a post a day, but I think one a week is a challenging-but-still-doable-well goal. I will aim for quantity (becasue that’s easy to measure) but focus on content (becasue that’s what we’re all here for, right?).

So here’s to the words to come, and the thoughts they might inspire.

Nano 2015

Nano starts tomorrow.

Today I went outside, scarf but no coat, into the wonderful, incredible brightness of an autumn palette{{1}}[[1]]Spelling is such a wonderful door into connections of thought and history, isn’t it? Today it let me stop and consider the difference between a pallet, on which we stack dry goods, and the more refined, and overtly french, palette, on which we spread smears of paint[[1]], and fell in love. It was not meant to be, but it was sweet while it lasted. Like all loves it was the fault of circumstances, of being in the wrong place all together. For me, this was the pound. People who make it a habit of saying they detest animals should never step foot into a pound. My fancy, being stimulated by the strangeness of the environment no doubt, fell on a ten-week old kitten, nearly a cat, so blue-gray that even his nose was slate. Apparently I love a gray cat – I was almost in a swoon over it. My roommate, however, has more sense and, seeing that today is Halloween, chose a smaller, darker cat– thus I escaped Love’s velvet snare. Bye is a Kiki’s Delivery cat. Perfectly black. Doomed to be spoiled.

So, Nanowrimo starts tomorrow and I’m almost ready. I should be reading the seven or eight chapters that have already been written, and I will. But now, the tomato-leaf scent of bright marigolds, bobbing under the weight of fat bumblebees, has inspired a restlessness which only a bit of nipping and tucking in the garden can cure. So out I go, to trim the Swiss chard and bring in some mint for drying.



For the Win

They say a pictures’s worth a thousand words, but I rarely find that to be true. Oh sure, there’s Eduard Charlemont’s Harem Guard,but really, for a reader, can any image could be worth a thousand words? And if I feel that way from merely reading them – a passive stranger wandering around another’s carefully constructed world – how much more do I feel it 29 days later, after having written 50,000 of them?

Of course, a picture is a done and complete thing which I am not ashamed to share with you, and neither of these things can be said about the sorry mess of writing that has now earned the endearment of “my book.” Totaling over 100,000 poorly spelled and hastily chosen words, it is more like Frankenstein’s monster, half formed on the table, than anything else. The point of view shifts like the colors of the monster’s skin, from scene to scene and back again. And, more pressing from a critical standpoint, the plot drops in and out of sight like the float on a fishing line once the pike has gotten a hold of the hook. It’s rather embarrassing how pleased I am with it. Thank you everyone, for your encouragement to continue writing, and for giving me a place to gloat about it. Maybe in a year or two I’ll be able to present it whole and worth a thousand pictures.