Daily Archives: June 21, 2012

Update: NaNoWriMo, Confession: We Don’t Have a Flobie and Other Stuff on My Mind


Hello again. Thanks for reading. Have a great day.

Wouldn’t that be nice? I’ve got so much on my mind.  I’ve been writing a book I don’t think anyone will like.  Which leads me to my quandary: why bother? I keep going because I saw a great video the other night presented by Liz Gilbert who wrote Eat Pray Love ( elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html) that I found via another blog, Three Kings Books, “CarrTalks” whose author has become an e-friend of mine to me (I have no clue if I’m a gnat to her or not, but she’s very interesting and kewl and is inspiring me to test myself). I have found that there are more reasons to keep going than the one or two in my head.  I also find that going to a book store helps: look at all the books that someone in New York or Los Angeles thought were a good idea to buy the rights to, print and push at Barnes & Noble. I have to admit, sometimes it’s daunting: seeing reprints of War and Peace or The Road or The Great Gatsby or Hamlet and then I look around and see Leaves: All You Wanted to Know or Fashion for Dummies and Eyeglasses: A History then I figure, anyone can do this.  Which means that I can too.  Maybe I shouldn’t.  Shh.

Someone on my Grass Oil fan page on facebook (link to join at right margin for both of you who might be interested) asked me about the NaNo process and I am still unclear on what she wants, so I’ll spew what I’ve learned: it’s great. If you’re wired like I am: slightly frazzled, wound a little tight, but have a concept and the stamina to sit for several hours continuously (at least two) a day or break it up a couple times a day, then go for it. Having a deadline has been one of my favorite things that I miss about the working world. I loved the rush and the benchmarks of the editing and production process.  I loved having typos (shit!) on the final draft. But that’s the reality. A quick NaNo FAQ for my FB fan-friend:

Q: How do you take care of your kids during June and still write?

A: Cereal. Lots of cereal and lots of milk. Make sure everyone has clean underwear too. They can put on what they wore last week, it’s still in the hamper, I assure you. Oh, and an online subscription to “Club Penguin” can’t hurt. If I had a kid in diapers and was attempting NaNo at this juncture I’d also be under the table with an empty bottle of Tanqueray. Know your limitations. The book can wait, diapers can’t.

Q: What about nonfiction? I have a great personal story.

A: This is about writing novels, so pretend it’s someone else you’re writing about. Make it the opposite sex, make the city the same but in another state or planet. Lie.

Q: What is this all about? I mean, what’s the end result?

A: You get to say you wrote a book within a month and if that ain’t enough for you, you’ve got issues. Sorry, but true. When you’re ready to submit, they count it up and it’s still yours. ADDENDUM (this just in from NaNo winner friend): “But once you’ve validated your word count, you also get a snazzy certificate that you can type your own name into and print it out and put on your wall. Plus you can say you’ve written a 50,000 word novel/novella in 30 days. : )”  Novella… HEL-LO…

Q: Don’t they sell it?

A: No. They are there to help you along. To get you focused and committed.  Honey, if your first draft is ready for the shelves, then why’d you need NaNo? Fitzgerald took seven years to write Tender is the Night. (I like to say that a lot, it helps me procrastinate.) This program, to me, is all about getting shit done: showing up, suiting up, getting that coffee and getting busy. It’s about taking your dream to write a book and freaking making it happen.  The “value” of it then becomes an ego issue: isn’t it enough that you wrote one? Or do you want money now? Get an agent, get used to rejection. It’s OK: no chance ever taken is not worth taking. What you said? Never mind: Is it your dream? Make it a reality.

Q: Are there any requirements?

A: No. This is voluntary. You’re not getting paid.  Underperform if you wish. Overperform if you wish. There is one requirement if you choose to go the distance: a 50,000 minimum word count by the end of the month (providing you start at zero words) enlists you in some contest. I don’t know what that contest is, and a friend won it one year and while I’m totally excited for her, I don’t know what that means. But because I’m all about commitments and value and showing up, I’m going for 75k minimum because I started at 18k on 1 June and 50k is only about 135 pages at 12pt Cambria, but who’s counting?  That’s only 70 sheets of paper; that’s not much of a book to me. I want a book I can injure people intruders with. Not emotionally, by the way, physically. Emotionally takes too long. I want to give a bad guy a black eye with it.

Q: I missed June.

A: Next one is August. Then the big one is in November. Oh, and post-its are your friend. Get lots and write on them and then stick them on to other post-its and forget about them.

I will readily admit that I went into NaNo Camp with little more than zero knowledge of the process and I’m learning more as I go along; I’d be truly lost without my NaNo friends pushing me and helping me out. They better watch it or I’ll dedicate my book to them… 😉

No more questions, I’m out of hypothetical questions and rhetorical answers. 🙂

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Writing this book has taken everything away from my family. I throw frozen bread and deli meats at them when the sun is at a 45˚ angle on my street and the shadows are one-third longer than the trees. Clothes are clean, but well, it’s not pretty. Dog hair is everywhere. Zone Bar wrappers and empty coffee cups  are leading out of my office toward the rest of the house. My eldest has begun shaving. My middle son is 5’10” and my youngest has asked the dog to be his parental guardian. They need haircuts.

We have a Flobie knock off. It wasn’t a matter of money, it was a matter of warranties and not saying we own a Flobie. “We bought the ‘Robo Cut’ which is much more manly,” said no one ever.  I ply my three sons with chocolate to get in The Chair.  They like to come to me to have it done because I’ve always cut their hair, save for the photo-op time for each of them that we endured as a future warranty against claims of negligence to prove to them that we did actually throw money at other people to groom them and that this vacuum-haircut at home thing is all just a crazy made-up fiction. (Remind me to delete this post in five years.)

this is not the kind you dance on. you sit. now. hot towel?

They also like to come to me to do it because they like to be able to have a conversation with their barber.  Thing 1 who is 14 and freaking hilarious, said that when had a memory of going to the barber, it was always confusing for him due to the language barrier and three-word sentences between himself and his talented Asian follicular cutter. He regales us with stories, amplified by his father’s true experiences. This is one such event that happens around our house after dad gets a cut. T1 is playing the part of the barber… lights… curtain … cellphones on stun…

Barber: Hello! Welcome!

Field male: Hey, thanks. I’ll sit here and wait?

Barber: You sit here.

Field male: Ok, hey I’d

Barber: Off work today?

Field male: No, just on my lunch br

Barber: Number one blade?

Field male: Sure, uh, no actually just on the si

Barber: Number two then?

Field male: Well, you usually do it shorter on th

Barber: Remain still. I cut.

Field male: Do you remember me? You cut my hair last

Barber: Sure! How baby?

Field male:  Uh, I don’t have a baby. My youngest is eight

Barber: HaHa! I know! Just kidding! How daughter?

Field male: sighs. Oh, her? She’s great. She’s going to the Olympics.

Barber: So great! Rifle?

Field male: No, water ballet. She’s the ball.

Barber: Oh! My daughter love horses.

Field male: What?

Barber: Trim eyebrow?

Field male: Sure. Thanks. Water ballet is

Barber:  Shave too?

Field male: No, not today. I’m afraid of you.

Barber: Ha ha! Ok, hot towel?

Field male:  Definitely. I can hide under it.

Barber: I show you picture. Here’s my daughter on horse.

Field male:  Under the towel. Owh, waaow! Fthat’s freat! Fhe looks feautiful!

Barber: Ok. Fifteen dollar. Next!

So my kids like the Robo-Cut. Last night we ran out of chocolate bars. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Take care of your waitresses.

~ ~ ~

Nice problems to have: My ice dispenser won’t work. I moan about its bloody inconvenience but then I recall I have a refrigerator. Problem solved.   I’d also like to live in a slightly larger or more 21st century attuned home. I love where my house is: a private street with little traffic, but the living room is massive, a vestige from a time when people used to come home from drinking at the agency to drink some more with Larry Tate and his wife. But then I remember that I have a home and it’s very comfortable and we’re not underwater and then the problem vaporizes. I get this way about the house after I come from a home that is naturally larger and in which I am a guest. I think, “if our house were bigger, then we’d be able to have parties like this,” but then I remember that I don’t have parties like this very often and that for the five of us, the house is plenty. It’s all the hampers in the way. Stupid NaNoWriMo.

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The Internet has Taught Me

The internet has taught me that there are a lot of people out there. Many have great ideas and others just like to swear and be crass and shock other people. I mostly enjoy my time on Facebook and blogs. I think they’re great outlets for sharing ideas and being entertained.  I also realize in my old age that dropping F-bombs for the sheer habit of doing it isn’t nearly as hard as choosing another word altogether. Anyone can be crass and get a laugh.  And this just in: “The U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out fines and sanctions against broadcasters who violated the Federal Communications Commission policy regulating curse words and nudity on broadcast television.

The justices declined  to issue a broad ruling on the constitutionality of the FCC indecency policy. The justices said the agency is free to revise its indecency policy.


For Pete’s sake… talk about shitty timing. Is all hell going break loose now on everything? Time to cancel cable I fear. By the way, “shit” is not a swear word to me. It’s a noun, “what is this shit?”, an exclamation, “oh shit that hurts!” an adverb “that was a shittily performed play.” And the F-bomb does have it points. But man, I really gotta be in a state to write it, keep it and publish it. It takes a lot of shit from people to get me there. Oddly, the universe has blessed me with a couple such people, but we don’t speak anymore.

The internet has also shown me that if you think you had a crappy childhood, you’re wrong. Or you’re right. It all depends. The thing is, everyone has been disappointed. And if anyone out there thinks that giving a child everything he or she wants, sheltering them from every possible adversity and picking them up the moment they fall down or before they make contact is the key to raising resilient, resourceful and emotionally adept adults: stop smoking the crack. Hear me now: You have already disappointed your children, count on it.  Somehow you picked the wrong spoon or you didn’t give her the right amount of ice cream. Or he WANTED THE YELLOW ONE!!!!!!  The thing is: think twenty years into the future: my kids are going to have to fire your kids because they have no coping skills or no idea how to do things themselves. So stop. Stop constantly pandering to your kids. I’m certainly not advocating that you lock them in a closet for hours or deny them food, but let them not get the one thing want. Make them wait fifteen minutes before swimming.  Let them be picked last for the team.  Let them not have something else because they won’t eat peas at dinner. You might just spare them costly therapy one day.  Because life is not always fair.  One size does not fit all.  Living through disappointments and challenges makes us stronger.  Being a loving parent does not mean to pander; being a loving parent means to do your best, apologize when you blow it and teach your children how to pick up the age-appropriate pieces too.

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I Have A Lot to Say. Clearly.

I’ve written 14 posts in June. Well, no, 13, no, 12.  One is a reblog and one is a repeat of my own. But still, 12. That’s a lot.  If I can write 4k words a day, blog another 1,500 (average) as well and hang on facebook for a moment or ten, I have a lot to say. The thing is, for most of that time, my kids were still in school, so the slowdown is occurring.  My biggest cheerleader, Thing 2 (11) has also been my biggest complainer about how much I’m at the computer.  As much as I say I dig people, I also dig creating people, fictional characters and scenes, but this will come to a greater slowdown next week when I push off for vacation. Despite evidence to the contrary, I dig face time more than e-time though. There is so much I don’t say and that’s usually because I am reluctant afraid of pissing someone off, still. Despite my post “real” a few weeks ago, I feel I must be careful lest I alienate anyone. But I’ve been so pleased with both of the people who like what I write that I am feeling a little freer to be more honest.  Here’s this: I’m not writing anything I don’t already believe in.

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Happy Summer Solstice! Today’s the longest sunny day of the year! Enjoy! Six months to winter… (it’s so hot here I had to say it).

Thank you.