You would think, being a full-time college student and all, that I would be able to keep up one post a week.
Well, dear readers, it’s November. If this statement doesn’t result in sympathetic nods of understanding, it means one of two things:
1. You are not a full-time college student or have not been in an educational atmosphere for some time.
2. You are not a writer.
Even when we try our best to treat it like any other month, November just ends up being one of those months where everything happens at once and without warning. College midterms are finishing up, second-half projects have begun, snow is coming, Christmas is coming, the world seems to be coming to and end. Besides the pressures of school, it also tends to usher in a slump of energy as the weather gets worse and colder and darker. When you can see the moon rising above the trees at five o’clock in the evening, you start to feel like everything is just plain wrong. Until the 25th, we don’t feel like giving thanks for anything except for coffee and sleep and sometimes football (even though I don’t like it, it’s normal and familiar and a good time to nap.)
As for my second point, I have sold my soul to the English language for one month for my second year of NaNoWriMo – that’s National Novel Writing Month for the uninformed. I still remember when I set out last year, starting at midnight of Halloween and writing long into the morning of November 1st in an attempt to reach the Holy Grail of the event: 50,000 words by November’s end. Pumped up on tirimasu wafers and espresso, I leaped ahead in my word count in the first three weeks. Well, then… relationships ended, relationships began, I had minor emotional breakdowns and lost ten pounds and didn’t sleep and then scraped school back together and spent time with friends and was fed dark chocolate and gained weight and my novel sat, 9,000 words or so, lonely and sad until I blew the dust off of it this September.
Looking back, there was some GOOD stuff in those pages of Word. Well-written, engaging, dangerous, imaginative, strange, beautiful. I was (and am again this year) attempting a free-association experiment, writing whatever was on my mind and in my head and around me. It’s hard to write an entire novel on rambling, with no journey for characters or unfolding plot or aim. But it is a great way to train yourself to write about anything and everything without thinking and getting caught up in doubt. Again, good stuff in there. If you’re good, maybe I’ll even share some with you. One condition: read it with an open mind and open eyes. It’s the stuff the moldy parts of my brain are made of. Check out my page at NaNoWriMo’s site: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/sisyphusfalls
It’s a fantastic exercise for anyone who wants to hone their writing skills, practice setting up a plot or even just pushing on to be consistent and meet a goal. You can write about anything and you can start with your whole novel planned or from a blank page and a single idea. Mix it up, try something new, write your little heart out until your motherboard is smoking and there are dark circles around your eyes and the caffeine shudder in your hands has caused you to type the same three letters repeatedly for a page. It truly is thirty days and nights of literary abandon. Stop being afraid of your words, of your imagination – let them out to play. I’m at about 15,000 words so far this month, and with all the schoolwork and musical ensembles/concerts and friends and games (SKYRIM) I’ll be lucky to get close to my goal. It’s why I spend time with other writers – we all help each other along 🙂
November does hail in blessings as well… Matt, for example. It was this time last year that he really stepped into my life and changed it forever. He’s been an encourager from the start and as he’s come to love me, the good and the bad, he’s helped to remind me that no matter the darkness that comes my way, I will always have people here on earth to help me face that dark. He’s not leaving me. He refuses to give up on me. I guess we’re just stuck together for life 🙂
When the Write-In group for Allegany county met down in Java 101 last week, I received a NaNoWriMo sticker for my efforts:
Whatever You Think You Are, You Are More Than That.
The reason Matt comes into all of this is that he and I just had a conversation the night before about that exact subject. I was down on myself for being selfish, for being angry, for feeling like I was worthless and undeserving of anyone’s time. He took the time to lovingly remind me that he knows me, inside and out, the best and absolute worst of me and he still loves me. I am far more than the dark parts of myself that surface at the worst of times and attack the ones I love. I am not a bitter person, I am not an angry person; I’m not stuck. I am so much more than those things that pull me down. The people who surround me in my life build me up and encourage me and remind me of the good that I have, of the power I have to make the world a more beautiful place. I am God’s creation and I am part of his world.
Whatever we think we are, we are more than that. Far more than that indeed.
All of this boils down to say that I’m sorry to leave you hanging this month. If you notices my absence, I appreciate your diligence (send me an email/message/FB to prod me along, eh?) If you hadn’t happened to realize I’ve been gone, I’ll forgive you and hope you see this apology anyway.
So, to wrap this up, I’m grabbing a drink from Java and heading over to hang out with my favorite married couple and get some writing done. It’s been a thrilling, busy, emotional month so far and it’s not even half over. Already, however, I’m thankful for Matt, for good friends, for warm houses and tea and warm days and for words and for music and for tears and for lamb roasts. I’m thankful for so much, and it keeps me pressing on.
Until later, my friends – happy reading and happy November!
P.S Due to my digital imaging class, I may try to update every-other day or so. It’s a challenge our professor has given us, so I may spring for it. They’ll be much shorter and more concise, but we’ll see what happens. No promises, I don’t want to make more excuses for myself 😉