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It’s like being back in college. With a paper due. Tomorrow. And I’m way, way, way behind. Except that I’m not in college. There is no paper due. And I’m behind, but in a very manageable way. I’ve done this to myself. NaNoWriMo. I started it on a whim. The closest thing to fifty thousand words I’d ever written was my Master’s Thesis and it was only seventy-five pages. That’s roughly 18,750 words, although, since it was a giant Web site, most of it was hand-coded html, so I get a little more cred than the average bear.

So I’ve got 12,000 words more to write. The beginning of my story is funny, fast paced, on track and fun. The middle, oh my Goddess, the middle – it’s gone somewhere that it will take months to recover from. Now I’m headed toward the end, and you know what? I think it’s going to be longer than 50,000 words. But I know how it will end, and hopefully it will be good.

About the process. Some days I didn’t write. Most days I did. I started behind and never caught up, but never really fell too far, either. I’m feeling grateful for that. I set a hard goal, and I’m meeting it. And I’m meeting the other goal – it’s stress free. I’ve been able to knit (I actually made a pair of socks this month, and a pair of handwarmers) I’ve gone away twice. It’s been good. The only thing that has fallen behind is housework, and that is not really a function of my writing, but I’m using it as an excuse.

On a day when others are celebrating the European Invasion of North America, anhialating several cultures that existed here before they did, I am quietly celebrating my ability to realize a hard goal, without obsessing on it.

My other piece of gratitude will be toward my friends, those who are here and those who are not. For what they bring to me and most especially for what they allow me to bring to them. It’s all about the service, folks!

Today’s reading: The Road from Coorain by Conway

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Kinney

Today’s Music: Savage Garden, Tracy Chapman, Bonnie Raitt, and Diana Krall

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Channeling

I spent the weekend in NYC. Much of it was spent writing. My novel is taking some interesting twists and my characters have much more to say than I expected. Turns out that they are actually three dimensional and they want everyone to know it. Sometimes I feel like some sort of conduit – like one of those psychics who channel spirits. Except I’m channeling for my characters. And there are others in there. Others who are starting to push insistently to be heard. My life is not my own. I hardly have time to knit and the only reading I can do is research in style or content to satisfy my character’s needs. Am I the puppet or the puppeteer?

I wrote in two charming little coffee shops in Brooklyn. The first was Bread Stuy. Nice place, but way too crowded. My characters embarrassed me by making me laugh out loud and then cry in the middle of the shop. The second was Food for Thought. I love this place! Great vegetarian food, ample space, wonderful ambiance. Everyone is friendly and strangers all talk to each other. From now on, whenever I write in Brooklyn, I will be there. My characters didn’t embarrass me there, even though they did the same things to me. There, they invited new friends and garnered sympathy for their sadness.

I took my car to the city this weekend, although I usually take public transportation. But I had to take some tools to my friend’s apartment and they tend to frown upon loaded reciprocating saws on the subway. (Although you are pretty much guaranteed a seat!) We had fun remodeling the view in her apartment.

You know, every time I go to the city, almost everyone I pass speaks to me. This doesn’t happen to my friend when she goes out. We’re doing little experiments to see what the difference is. Sadly, we are coming to the conclusion that the only difference is skin color. What’s up with that?

It was a good weekend. Not what I had originally planned, but productive and soul-satisfying nonetheless.

Today’s reading: Run by Ann Patchett Read this – it works!

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater I read this kid’s book every Thanksgiving

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold My characters for my next book are demanding this re-read

Today’s Music: Tori Amos, Melissa Etheridge, Tuck and Patti (If you’ve never heard Love Warriors, then you should go now and download it!)

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Stuff and NaNoWriMo

I have had seven things that have been hanging over my head for over a month to take care of. Things that involve other people. Today, I took care of four of them and it feels great. Hopefully, I can take care of two more today, and the last will be gravy. Problem is, I can’t seem to get to sleep. I hate that.

I’m having trouble navigating a stretch of friendship with someone. She’s going through some stuff and being newish friends, I want to be supportive and yet not overwhelming with the support. Not sure how to do that. I tend to be rather enthusiastic in my interactions with people. Added in that this is a long distance friend who is really, really private. I’m thinking I will simply do what I would do with any other person I care about and if it’s not the support she needs or wants, she’ll let me know. And I will tone down my caregiving enthusiasm if need be.

I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Hopefully I will come out on November 30 with a completed novel and my sanity. I have no story to tell, but I write well and I’m sure something will come of this. Maybe I’ll find out that I really have something to say after all.

Reading for today: Mousetraps by Schmatz, The Arsonist’s Guide to Writer’s Homes in New England by Clarke

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