Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No Longer Floating

I started this blog awhile back, bemoaning the novel that would not die--and yet, perversely refused to live. Floating Against the Current took years to write, and then years to revise. Still, a satisfactory ending hovered just out of reach.

Unspeakably grateful now it's finished. The result isn't spectacularly, "angels-singing" thrilling. But done. I realize after all these years that I've just been living in this novel for way too long (which might could explain, as my friend from NC would say, why the thrill is gone).

How did this miracle come to pass? How did I come to finish the heretofore unfinishable?

Thanks to Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way, for getting me into morning pages, which got me writing every day.

Thanks to Flylady, for teaching me the power of those 15-minute chinks of time I'd been devoting to snacks and cruising the Internet. Redirecting as little as one of those, on a daily basis, moved Floating forward once again.

Thanks to my writing buddy, Sue Swan, for keeping me on task.

Thanks to the Lord for reminding me that my past is not necessarily my future: "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13

Undoubtedly more revisions yet to come--that's the nature of noveling! But the feeling of free flight, having reached this stage, is exhilarating. Finishing Floating gave me November clear for Nanowrimo, and the joyous prospect of getting back to my novel in progress, Stones in My Passway.

As I have always told my kids, we can do hard things!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And We're Off to Nanowrimo--Back in a Month!

So for the first time ever, I actually took the leap and registered for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). I have told everyone who would listen to me, too--so no turning back at this point!

Starting at midnight tomorrow night (death of Halloween & birth of November 1st), and continuing through the last seconds of November 30th--perhaps with allowances for Thanksgiving, church, food intake, and perhaps the (occasional) shower--I am going to fling my laptop in the direction of a 50,000-word "zombie cozy. (A zombie cozy is a fun, rather than horrifying, zombie romp. It is not, in the tradition the tea cozy, a fuzzy sweater designed to keep your zombie warm.)

I will be accompanied on this adventure by thousands of like-minded writerly types, and provisioned with Hot & Spicy Cheezits, Fun-Size Snickers, baggies of Craisins, & gallons of coffee & tea. As is the case with all adventures worth having, new experiences await & dangers will abound.

I have prepared myself mercilessly for the past month or so--did a smidge of research, crafted a zombie army out of colorful felt as inspiration, wrote down a few notes, purchased my Cheezits & other rewards and incentives. I have warned my family, stockpiled some food and cleaned a bit, just by way of clearing the decks.

"What makes you think you can do this?" my husband Dave asked.

Well, one has to think one can do it, or beginning is pointless. I feel as qualified as anybody--I have no realistic sense of my own limitations, which is incredibly helpful. I am extremely used to not sleeping. I have already written twelve complete novels, without getting overly hung up on distressing concerns about quality or publication. I like the idea that I am doing this with legions of similarly deluded people worldwide. And best of all--I have not only permission, but outright direction, to throw my "inner editor" overboard for the duration.

For the next thirty days, it doesn't matter if something is spelled right, or I have a dangling modifier. Inconsistencies are fine, just fine! Too many characters? Not enough plot? Absolutely great! "All" I have to do is write 50,000 words of fiction, during the month of November, preferably without getting sick, divorced, or committed (whether voluntarily or otherwise).

A wonderful byproduct of this project is I've already gleaned so much information, which will be useful in saving myself and my loved ones, and possibly all of mankind, in the event of a zombie uprising. When Dave recently shared a tidbit about the potash industry, which he'd learned from a "potash historian", I had to be grateful there are people interested in the history of the potash industry. The Lord has blessed mankind with such diversity! And maybe the potash historian is also grateful that there are others like me out there, who are interested in writing about zombies. We don't each have to do it all, to know it all--because we live in a world populated by other knowledgeable people, each of whom is covering his or her own area of specialization.

But now I need to get going--I need to stock my zombie-fighting, Nano-writing travel kit. Let the adventure begin! I can totally do this.... Right?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy, Parte Tres

Japanese wood-block prints
Van Gogh
Cherry blossom time in DC
Bats flying against the sky
Clean, ordered shelves
Greenhouses full of flowers
Curled-over potato chips
Little white frame churches
Kicking my feet through fall leaves
Worn grooves in old wood floors
Hickory PA Apple Festival
Hippie clothes
Fried dough & cotton candy
Jelly beans
Queen Anne's lace
Riding on ferries
Staying on islands
Grape Popsicles
Climbing trees
Singing the old hymns
Vintage leather handbags
Wading in icy creeks

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy, Parte Dos

Daisee's sense of humor
Naked rats
Soda bread with currants & fennel
The way springtime smells
Hearing Kika's ringtone
My laptop
Having the quads crawl up onto me so trustingly
Dreaming about going to Greece
My Bible
Strawberry green tea
Anne Lamott
My Susans
Grandma's cookstove
Speaking Spanish
Raw almonds
3-mile workouts
Finding awesome stuff at the thrift store
Seattle's Best vanilla-cinnamon rooibos lattes
Sticking my pictures in scrapbooks
Reading old letters
Finding letters in my mailbox
Indian head pennies
Old tablecloths with fruit & flowers on them
Porch sitting
Hanging out with my mom
Writing,writing, writing, writing
Easter bonnets
Apple blossoms
The sound of rain
Afternoon naps
Cary Grant comedies
Independent coffee shops
Used book stores
Finding morel mushrooms
Finding money
Glazed carrots
Root beer floats
TS Eliot
Dave Barry
Pizza...even pretty bad pizza
Old farmhouses
Black-&-white cows in tall grass
Black nail polish
Watching squirrels in the trees
Gathering hickory nuts
The smell of maple syrup cooking down
Fried cornmeal mush
Drinking tea with Tony