Monday, November 29, 2010

Eating the Elephant

I have had a good size glass of celebratory wine tonight. Some kind of chardonnay, Hess maybe? I don't drink Arbor Mist or anything, ok anymore, but I'm not a wine expert. I like white. I picked some kind of white, but not a Zinfandel, so that's a step up, right? Just so you know this going forward. I am impaired. And I've used all of the decent, funny, creative words up in the last month. I think I'm only left with crappy words like panties, salve, moist, tuber, refudiate and meme. So I apologize, you might be getting the tipsy dregs tonight.

I finished my 50,000 word National Novel Writing Month project today! (Check out that winner icon on the side there, I'm proud of that thing!) I don't know quite how it happened though. 50,000 sounded like a lot on October 31st. And it was. Someone said to me in early November,(I honestly can't remember who it was, but thank you) when I was complaining about how much 50,000 felt like, they asked me, how do you eat an elephant? The answer: One bite at a time. So that's what I tried to do.

I took little 1,200 word bites at a time. I tried to write at least a little bit every single day. There were probably three days I didn't write at all. And I felt guilty on those days. Guilty and stressed. So I might as well have been writing. But little bits at a time and then a big push on the last two weekends, and I made it. I think the last 5,000 words kind of wrote themselves. Do I remember what happened in those last few pages? Not really. I just kept typing and the story went in a direction I didn't expect. And that's exciting and a little scary.

I think this novel is only about half way finished. I'm going to print out the 100 pages I've written so far, leave them alone for at least a week and then I'm coming back to them. I need an outline, I need to readjust the structure, fix some characters, figure out what to do with the first 20 pages that now seem totally disconnected from the rest of the story. And mostly I need to get to editing and rewriting. There is a lot of editing and rewriting to do. Oh, so much, that it might take until next NaNoWriMo to finish. But I began the month intimidated and frightened and excited. And I'm ending the month invigorated and satisfied and proud.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. And I challenge you to tackle something you've been dreaming of doing. Something vast and creative and intimidating, something that you can take little bites of over a tight amount of time so that you'll be thrilled with whatever you've produced at the end, because it's yours and you persevered. Something new, straight out of your genius little brain, something original and fresh that you can be proud of having made from scratch. So what's your elephant?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Counting My Lucky, Thankful Stars

November has swept past me. It was here. I know it was. It always follows October and slides in to cushion and prepare me for the holiday onslaught of December.  But somehow it got away from me this year. In a flurry of strangely warm weather, a couple of long classes, good ol' daily work, lots and lots of forced isolation and introspection over the keyboard (more than usual) and plenty of plain old fun, November has nearly vanished.

One of the highlights of the month (other than the 32,000 plus words I've managed to hammer out so far) has been reading the grateful/thankful posts that a lot of my friends have been filling their status updates with this November. Mostly it's the little things that I've enjoyed reading. Many of them related to the people and children that populate our lives. Some things as simple as being grateful for the ability to heal or walk down the stairs, sharing coffee with a friend, or how the sounds of giggling kids jumping on the bed can't help but make you smile. There is a lot out there to be grateful for today.

And in the midst of all the media coverage of the new super intimate swimsuit place invasive TSA pat downs, some monarch's impending 40 million dollar nuptials which the Today Show is covering daily in the first half hour where they used to actually show news worthy stories, possibly game changing bombings in South Korea, Sarah Palin tromping around Alaska and talking all adorably about reloading and Blackberrying, and the constant barrage of bad news, economic woes and foreclosures, it's nice to just look at the tiny, manageable good stuff in our lives.  And since I'm a slacker, instead of posting something each day and actually participating, I've cheated and cobbled together one little blog post chock full of thanks. I'm going to blame it on NaNoWriMo, which I've done a lot this month, what can I use for my excuse in December? Help!

Like many of you, I have a lot to be thankful for this year, this month, this lifetime.  I like to think that I'm generally a thankful person all through out the year and not just the last Thursday of the month in the thirty seconds I get as we go around sharing at the dinner table on Thursday. I hope that I tell people often enough how much I appreciate them and I hope I write on this blog enough about the good stuff. But what am I thankful for, truly thankful for right now? Who and what am I counting my lucky stars for on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving:

1. Being born a woman in the 20th Century, and not in any other time period. Though things aren't perfect for modern women, they are so much closer to equal. My choices are endless and I have the power to decide who I want to be and how I want to spend my time: working, raising children, neither, both, it's my decision. I think I've been watching too many historical movies/television shows lately.

2. The ability to speak my mind and have people listen and the endless forums to do so in. I feel heard now more than I ever have in my life. Though I may only have fifty or so readers, I feel heard. I have found my voice. When I speak in a meeting now, I feel heard. When I post something here, I feel heard.  And even if I'm just talking about making donut holes, I feel surrounded by people who care about what I have say and want to engage in conversation with me. So thank you. I am grateful for that connection. I want to hear what you have to say too, well, at least most of you.

3. My husband. I don't want to get all gushy and cheesy and overshary, but Joe is my heart.

4. Family. That crew of miscreants, button pushing nut bags and goat getters, where would I be without them? Happy and sane? Possibly. But bored and alone, more realistically. Mine from birth, mine by marriage, and those selected masochists who entered into my framily by choice. I'm grateful and thankful for you all.

5. All the tangible materialistic items that make my life softer, safer, easier and less scary. Decent paying and satisfying job to cover mortgage and car insurance and the washer/dryer and groceries, my fluffy warm comforter in my heated home, coffee every morning, this generally safe Midwestern suburban life. I got lucky. I was born in the US to middle class parents who liked books. I went to college. I worked hard on occasion, but whatever helped set up this cushy, safe secure life right out of the gate, thank you. Luck, destiny, God, Goddess, roll of the dice, I'm grateful. I haven't had to struggle as much as other people. I've had it pretty easy. Not perfect, but easier. Thanks.

6. Butter.

7. The fact that when delivery people or door to door shilling gentlemen come to our front door, they always see the wall of photos in our hallway and say "Wow, that's a lot of photos." Yes, it is, yes, it is, sir, I say with a big toothy grin.

8. Eating greasy delicious onion straws last night with my mom. She looks beautiful and healthy and has made amazing changes for herself in the last two years. She's got her spark back. It had been gone for awhile and I had missed it. Though she still strikes up conversations with strangers everywhere she goes. Though it's less irritating now than when I was thirteen.

9. Joe always getting the dog riled up right before it's time to go to sleep.

10. Books. Someone asked me the other day if I could only choose between books or music, which one would I choose? I deliberated long and hard. Roughly thirty seconds.  Some songs are little stories, some books sound like music, but I'd have to go with books.

So what are you thankful for today? Little kids swinging in the backyard? Cupcakes? Good sex? What's on your list?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Break Time!

I wrote 3,000 words today. I liked about 500 of them. Fairly good ratio. But I need a break before I dive in again. Here are ten things that made me smile today:

1. The dog falling asleep laying in a patch of sun on our living room floor. Yesterday Joe highly recommended moving the ottoman for the dog to obtain a solid spot for sunbathing. I heed his advice. The dog is stretched out sleeping, and doing that little dream kick and twitch thing. His back legs running and whimpering noises occasionally. This makes me happy. I imagine him chasing and catching the squirrels that constantly are just out of reach on the deck. They are his sworn enemies, and they leave walnut shells all over just to show their superiority. In his dreams, he is victorious.

2. This website. Pajiba is snarky and smart, in addition to spot-on television and movie reviews, they host some bold, witty and sharp writers. I snorted when I read the "Nice Sack" post linked to above. I like the cut of their jib.

3. Babies. Babies make me smile. Babies wearing pink sock monkey hats who then try and eat my necklace make me break out in an ear-to-ear grin. Add coffee and baby's mother who happens to be best friend, total happiness for an hour.
Miss Maddie

4. The new Girl Talk album. It was free. It somehow mashes together my favorite Simon and Garfunkel song "Cecelia" with U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday," adds Lil' John rapping over it and instigates within me the desire to dance all over the house. Shake my butt and work it, up and down the hallway. I can't listen to it and write because it's hard to type and dance. I tried. It doesn't work well. Lots of misspellings.

5. Ginger Pear Muffins. I made them last night. And even though they are a Weight Watchers recipe they don't taste like cardboard diet crap. Juicy and fruity and spicy, yum.

6. The movie Old School. This was on in the background while I was cleaning this morning.  It's Old School. If you don't laugh, at least smile, while watching this scene then your funny bone is badly damaged or in fact broken.

7. People who cry on What Not to Wear. You know it's about clothing, right? If they throw away your sweater, you know the one that looks like they skinned a muppet and draped it over your shoulders, you probably shouldn't weep. It's just a sweater.

8. As soon as I finish this and then write another 1,000 words, I'm going to make this sweet potato and sage gratin to go with our grilled chicken and asparagus for dinner. I'm attempting to help Joe get over his extreme bias against anything with the word "gratin" in it. He thinks back to the boxed potatoes au gratin that we both grew up with. The hard thick slices of dehydrated potatoes, the packet of powdered cheese, overcooked, chewy.  This is not that gratin. I shall report back on the results. He has already expressed disinterest and skepticism. I am convinced that the powers of a little heavy cream will prevail.

9.  The big cardboard box that I had to swerve to avoid hitting on State Line earlier today. It had the word BUENO written in large block letters along the side. I just wonder, what's inside a box of BUENO? Any guesses?

10. The mere mention of a three day week next week. And even though I need to continue to write at least 1,700 words a day while we are out of town, I won't be at work, I'll be spending time with family and friends, oh, and maybe we'll even get a little snow. I'm ready for a little snow. And pumpkin pie. Mostly the pie.

What would you put in a big box of Bueno? Because I feel like I need to start putting one together. What's made you smile today? Your turn, now share with the class.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bravely Obey Cribs Edition: Sequestered

Like a Well Traveled Teenage Girl's Room

Welcome back, my little Peeping Toms! How about a tour of the smallest bedroom in our house?
While I was winnowing down the 40 or so photos I took of today's room, I realized something. Our guest room: my office, storage, catch all room, looks like a well traveled teenage girl's bedroom. It's probably the room that resembles my style most closely. Other than the lack of Justin Bieber, or in my day, Christian Slater posters on the wall, it looks young. There isn't a real style to the room other than lots of stuff I love shoved in our tiny, cozy space. And lots of color. There isn't a single beige wall anywhere in our house, but this room is actually just plain white. The only plain white room in the entire house. But because there's so much color scattered throughout, I hardly even notice.

I need to buy new flowers

Our mothers helped paint this room when we first moved in. They giggled and dripped and joked about painting the "nursery" and Joe got huffy and frustrated and came in to do clean up after they finished. It was hilarious, and they just laughed and really took the painting party part to heart.

Storage for craft supplies

For a long time, most of the seven years we've lived in this house, this room had no ongoing purpose. The occasional welcome guest would scrunch into the super smooshy, pillow covered double bed. My vintage decorated suitcases are filled with ribbon and wrapping paper supplies so this is the present wrapping and gift storage room, just like Candy Spelling. Though Candy certainly has more square footage and I'm doubting Candy wraps her own gifts with paper she bought at Big Lots. Just a guess.

Distracting desk items

So this room wasn't used very often. Until this summer. In June, I attended this Writer's Weekend seminar and realized that I wanted, needed, had to for my own sanity, get writing regularly again.  I decided that sharing an office space with Joe and keeping my focus would be impossible. We just work differently. I see the messy chaotic office that we shared and I think, "I have to stop this very important thing that I need to do right now, I must clean the office. I must clean it now. I cannot rest or do anything else until it is clean." And Joe hates this. Clearly I have a mental illness of some variety. Probably just a garden variety neurotic anal-retentive. I come by it genetically.

Tiny art and tiny elephant

But this cleaning obsession distracts me from actual valuable creative stuff I'd like to dig into. (Let me quickly clarify, by cleaning I don't mean straightening carpet fringe or cleaning the grout with a toothbrush. I mean tidy up, remove clutter, restore visible order, that's all.) So instead of being a pain in the ass, we moved an old desk that we bought at a garage sale a couple of years ago up from the basement. I love this desk. No really love it. It's all scratched and beaten,the greenish stain is wearing off and it used to be in the old Plaza library. It's flat and basic and not too big. It had been languishing underutilized as a box holder in the basement and now the desk can fulfill it's true purpose, holding me up while I repeatedly slam my head against it's well worn, broad flat surface, frustrated with the nonsense that I am somehow still typing into my laptop everyday. Step one complete: work space ready.


Joe bought me this incredibly useful laptop lifter that props up my laptop to a decent eye level and a wireless keyboard. Step two done, and now I feel like a real writer. And finally I moved some beloved tchotchke into the room. Stuff that I like to look at. Things that make me think of happy memories or little pieces of art to rub when I'm trying to figure out how to say what I want to say, or art that I can stare at and feel all stirred up and thoughtful. And magically I have my very own perfectly simple office space. And a happier marriage because of it.

Nkisi NkondiArt by Tara Barnes

This menacing gentleman is an Nkisi Nkondi, nail fetish figure from the Kongo people of West Africa. I wrote a research paper on these figures in college and love the power, strength and resolution that they represent, plus the dog likes to sniff it, I mean come on, it has bones stuck in it. A diviner, a traditional holy man, would meet with people seeking answers or retribution for some kind of wrong that had been done to them, like a theft or illness. The diviner then provokes the nkisi by hammering a nail into it and the infuriated nkisi then tracks down and  punishes the evil doer. So watch out, I've got some nails and a hammer handy if you steal my car.  

They're called boobs, Ed.

There is a lot of African art in this room, and some American art, a beautiful, vibrant abstract painting created by my friend Tara, a colorful geometric quilt that was a wedding gift from Joe's grandmother and a cool Japanese print that Joe's step-grandfather gave us. All these things, plus books and comfy pillows and some of my favorite quotes scattered about make this room comfy and relaxed and a place that I'm happy to sequester myself inside.

Tiny brass cast couple

I've been in this room a lot lately. I have probably spent more time in this room this month alone than in the previous seven years that we've lived in this house. Nearly every night, and during the day on the weekends, I am locking myself away in my office and typing typing typing. Sometimes I like what I've written and sometimes I'm just grateful I have the time to do it and other times I hate every damn silent, lonely, self imposed moment of the writing process. Thankfully I'm working in this colorful, chaotic, visually chock-a-block room with distracting, inspiring junk. It's time to go lock myself back in the room now. I think I'm going to pretend that I'm sixteen again and I've gotten grounded for sneaking out. And I'm locked in until Mom thinks I've earned my freedom. Not that that ever happened. Never would have snuck out. Ok, maybe once. Sorry, Mom.

So tell me what's your office look like? More filing cabinets and organization, less teenage girl with weird vengeful nail figures? Can you work in clutter or are you like me and slightly crazy? Come on, you can tell me.

West African collageMohawk and trade beads

Paper glow

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Crew, My Ladies, My Broads


It took more than two hours before we started talking about periods last night. And no pillow fights in our underwear. Just some of my girls over for a little food, alcohol and a lot of conversation and I think it was exactly what we all needed.


I have always wanted a close group of friends. In high school I had an eclectic mix of friends over all the grades, from theater, forensics, classes and other after school stuff, but I didn't have one cohesive group of friends. I bounced around. I always had a few solid people I could count on, but I never felt like a part of one tight group. And I always wanted that. I think most people do, at least most teenagers.


Then college rolled around. I worked as a resident assistant (RA) at KU and simply based on the interview process and minor level of delusion and gumption required to take on this kind of job, I found myself smack in the middle of a group of people that were fantastic. Smart, funny, hard working (usually) and with the ability to find and possibly ignore the smell of pot on eight separate floors. I had found my people. (And future husband. Score!)


Through that job I met a good majority of my oldest and best friends. Housing brought us together. And through those new friends there were more new friends, who were also ridiculously witty and irreverent and sharp.


Now at 35 those KU housing friends are some of my best friends. We've stayed close, through out of state moves and career changes and kids and marriages and life in general. And the women in that group, some of the original RA's, some spouses and some family, we make an effort to stay connected on our own, get together and gossip and eat greasy stuff and drink and talk about crazy in-laws, and bossy kids, and our dreams and career goals and struggles.

This big

And I think these women help keep me sane. They make me laugh. They listen to my rambling and ridiculous stories. I relish the few hours we sneak away from our husbands and kids and responsibilities and we just sit around like we are still 20. Though I have to admit, recovering from the three vanilla vodka drinks I consumed last night was a little harder than when I was 20. It was totally worth it.

Pre five drinks

Friday, November 12, 2010

A song about the origins of fried chicken? Yep, this is country.

I am drinking a Coors Light in a yellow Landshark beer coozy and dancing like a fool in public. There is a small sea of cowboy hats silhouetted in the dark and we are all clapping and swaying on this warm Sunday night. But let me back track.

Zac Brown Band

I have written, spoken and repeatedly discussed my lack of interest or connection to country music. I don't feel bad about this. Modern country just doesn't click for me. I love Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, a bit of classic blues, blue grass and some Southern country tinged rock. But I need something inside of my country. I need an edge, some darkness, some charge. And I don't get this when I listen to Toby Keith or Carrie Underwood. I love the Avett Brothers with their Southern country tinged flair. I love the Jayhawks and I've dabbled in Wilco, and now I've grown all warm and fuzzy for the Zac Brown Band.

Zac Brown Band

My dad asked if we wanted to join he and Kristy to see Zac Brown last weekend. And I admit I hesitated for a minute. I love live music, but if you asked me to name a single Zac Brown song before last week I couldn't have. Why would I want to go see a mainstream country band that I know nothing about? Me, old hipster nerd, more Bloc Party than Brooks and Dunn. Converse not cowboy boots. But Dad said boots weren't required and he was so excited. The tickets were free. Dad is on a country kick. Joe was up for it and the one time I heard Zac Brown he was singing with Jimmy Buffet on some TV show. I enjoy Jimmy Buffet now and then. He's like pure beachy summer, an ice cold Corona with a perfect slice of lime, it's lazy, warm sunny music, a vacation for the ears. So I was in. And that's how I found myself tapping my feets, clapping my hands, swilling beers and chilling with the rowdy crowd for three and a half rousing hours.

Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown has pulled together an independent, eclectic mix of musicians including two opening acts that I would actually see on their own. And immediately you know that Brown is a big music fan. He personally introduced each act and explained why he liked them and couldn't stop listening to their CD's in his truck. All of the musicians shared the stage and performed songs together throughout the night with Brown playing MC, host, chief music man and all around ring leader and he did a classy and engaging job of it.

Zac Brown Band

The opening act, Casey Dreissen walked out on stage dressed head to toe in a bright red Colonel Sanders type long jacket suit and vintage tie. He and his band told a great story about buying vintage ties in every one of their tour stops, so they were decked out in neck wear procured right here in Kansas City. Casey is a wild fiddle player. Wearing a red devil tail and burning up the strings on his fiddle, bowing and pitching around the stage like a mad man. His curly tufts of hair poufing around his ears, bald in the middle, and quirky glasses. He looks a lot like the actor Michael Jeter when he was on Evening Shade. The highlight of his performance was an instrumental fiddle version of Billie Jean. Go listen to it here, please, treat your ears. The crowd went a little insane. Casey pops up, thankfully, throughout the night and performs on several songs with the rest of the bands, including a fiery cover of The Devil Went Down to Georgia that Charlie Daniels would be honored by.

The second opening act, the Wood Brothers, were all bluesy brashness, plaid shirts and long hair, a mix of the Allman Brothers sound with Neil Young's voice and a little Muddy Waters thrown in for flavor. They rocked the stage with lots of sharps and flats as my dad would say. (He prefers a calmer, more melodic sound and wasn't a big fan of the Wood boys, he was just dead wrong.) I loved their energy, skillful strong guitar playing and the lead singer's strained rough voice.

And then it was headliner time. They all piled onto the set, which was all layers of wooden boxes for the different levels, with three big screens and small household type lamps scattered around, making it all cozy. Before the Band came out they played a short Jackass type intro video, all pranks, inside jokes, hairy man chests and nipples, hacky sack playing, and lots of beards. ZBB could stand for Zac Brown Beards, because there is an abundance of facial hair with this group. Long, hippy, beards that make the band look like half the guys I lived with in Hashinger Hall in college. Loose, funny, down to earth guys who probably didn't shower more than twice a week. Guys who wore cargo shorts and docs, rugged and earthy and usually a hell of a lot of fun to be around. The Zac Brown Band got on down to performing their brand of modern country pop music. Lots of great covers, One Love, no surprise that the beard band loves a little rasta, the aforementioned Devil Went Down to Georgia and a couple of others. Then their own music. Beautiful melancholy lyrics of hurt and forgiveness and then their popular beach hits that sound like they were written by the love child of Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney. And several songs about being on the road with the deep desire to just come home. One of these songs was played while a video of ZBB's USO performance played on the big  screen, cut with shots recognizing and honoring the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was heartfelt and genuine. The Zac Brown Band's performance was solid. Moving easily from the jaunty, upbeat country rock to their slow romantic ballads, Zac Brown Band know how to perform.

Zac Brown Band

But I preferred the show as a whole. Brown chose supporting players that elevated his music to another level, focusing on the musicianship, charisma, talent through collaborative shared performances that highlighted each musicians' particular skill. The entire crew closed out the show with a sound straight out of Oh Brother Where Out Thou?, with classic gospel tunes electrocuted with blues, funk and fiddle playing. Zac Brown Band was a fine time by themselves, but the sum of the all the parts together made for a raucous night of down home American country fun. I think I might have to buy some red cowboy boots.

Photos by red neck country boy straight from the corn fields of Omaha, NE: Joe Sands

Saturday, November 06, 2010

National Novel Writing Month Update: Have I Slit My Wrists Yet?

No, I haven't, not at all. I'm still here and I'm actually enjoying myself immensely. National Novel Writing Month is in full swing and I am at it's mercy. The demanding, tortuous, lovely, hard core, daily regime of prose creation has taken over my time and my brain. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, and actually want to know, visit here.

I've written 10,227 words as of this evening at 6pm. That's 10,227 more words than I had last week. And as I said to some good friends at dinner tonight, who were kind enough to ask how the novel writing was going, I don't hate every single word that I've written. So that's a start. I had forgotten how hard fiction writing can be. I'd forgotten the immense pressure that the blank screen can bring. I had forgotten how much fun it is to be in total control of this make believe world that I have created. If I want to kill a character or make a character fall in love, I can. If things are flowing too smoothly in my protagonist's life, then it's my job, no my duty, to throw in a flesh eating disease or a vicious boss or a car accident into their lives. Conflict. Conflict drives it all. But damn it's hard. I have to write with speed and ignore the things I would sit and rework for half an hour. And at first I thought that stopping myself from editing was simply an issue of time. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days does require a certain level of speed and daily commitment. But stopping to edit what I've just written kills any momentum that I've built up. I just have to blaze on through the weak sentence structure or the awkward prepositional phrase or that bland supporting character and just keep writing. I have to just keep on writing. Because I'll get to the editing. I'll have all the time in the world after November. December will be novel editing month, but I'm guessing I'll need about ten Decembers to craft this into something I'm proud of. But I'm getting there, everyday a little closer. I'm sitting there typing through my self doubt, typing through my weak plot or my strained character development. I'm typing, I just keep on typing. And I keep typing with the hope that something good will come out of all it.

Whether that good thing is my first completed novel, or becoming a better writer and reader or just enjoying the process of getting here, I'm happy. 

Monday, November 01, 2010

Glutton for Punishment- National Novel Writing Month

I have signed away the month of November. In a flurry of hubris and irrationality, I have signed up to write a novel in November. Not a short story, not an essay, but a novel. 50,000 words or 175 pages in one month. That just sounds ridiculous. Last week a friend on Facebook posted a link for the National Novel Writing Month website. And I turned my own world upside down.

Ok, that's a little dramatic. But I've been namby-pamby about this whole writing thing lately. With enthusiasm and vigor I attended the Writer's Workshop at UMKC over the summer. And then what did I write? A little thing here or there. A few blog posts, plenty of emails, a grant or five, about fifteen grocery lists, but nothing else. No fiction, nothing longer than 2,500 words. Nothing really. I spend time daydreaming about characters and plot, possible settings and likable scrappy protagonists, charmingly devious antagonists, but what do I write, zilch.

I'm an edit-as-I-go writer. This is paralyzing. I can write one sentence and then try to spend the next two hours making it perfect, switching the phrases, swapping out synonyms, fixing the flow. By doing this I make writing a long slog. I don't save the editing for the end. I never get much written because I block myself out from the very beginning. But with 50,000 words in 30 days, there is just no time for editing. And I checked. The rules do not allow you to just type one word or sentence repeated over and over, like Jack Torrance in The Shining, he was a writer too, remember? (And side note, how many movies has Jack Nicholson starred in where his character name is Jack too, like 50?)

The blog writing has helped me a bit with this early editing disease. But it takes me much longer than I want to admit to write one even one of these simple brief posts. I hammer away at the language and I'm still not satisfied with the final result 80% of the time after I hit "Publish Post." But I'm going to do it.

Again, I'm publicly outing myself about this, so I have someone to report me when I lose focus on November 17th and start surfing Facebook for hours or Go Fug Yourself and avoid writing. At this point I don't really know what I'm going to write. I'm just going to think about it until November 1 and then hope that inspiration takes over, inspiration and hundreds of hours of English lit classes and creative writing classes, and decades spent devouring novels and books by the box load. I can do this. I want to do this. I don't want to turn around in ten years and think I could have written a novel. I should I have tried. Why didn't I try? I'm going to try. (Joe has taken to calling this whole thing TGAN, the great American novel, in a slightly mocking tone, thanks, dear.)

Blogging will be light in November. I'm getting used to writing in larger quantities by writing and stock piling  five or six posts in October. Then I can share them this month while I'm busying writing my novel. (That sounds so cool.)  I've thought about lining up a couple of guest bloggers, so stay tuned. Maybe if the novel writing is going well, I might post a random excerpt or two. Don't count on it though. I'm shy with the fiction and easily wounded by early criticism. So hang on and I'll be right back!