Bright Ideas

November 20, 2010 at 5:21 am (Uncategorized)

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An Update on NaNoWriMo

November 20, 2010 at 5:10 am (Uncategorized)

Happy November My Friends!

As we are nearing National Novel Writing Month’s November 30 deadline, I feel like I should publicly share my progress.  By midnight tonight, I should have written well over 30,000 words.  I confess that I have not, but I assure you that this confession is not infused with regret, shame or even melancholy.  In fact, I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished.

I have written 20,562 imperfect, unorganized and unworthy words.  I have written incomplete sentences.  I have ignored typos and worst of all, I’ve lost all track of point of view and tense.  My inner editor has crawled, no skulked, into a cave, and is hybernating for the winter.  (Speaking of, does anyone know if skunks hybernate?)  I would really love to tell you what a piece of unredeemable crap my novel is, but truth be told, in the past 19 days I’ve found out some pretty interesting stuff about my characters and my creation.

For starters, I sort of dislike my main character.  She’s a bit too whiny for my taste and that really needs to stop.  I think this character flaw stems from her lack of development, which is my fault and not hers, though I certainly did want to throw her off a bridge about November 7.  For some reason, I am reminded of  my Junior year in college when I read Madame Bovary..

Oh, and several of my minor characters are not very well developed either.  Great.

Also, I am writing a love story.  This bugs me as I am in a very cynical phase right now.  I don’t want to think about love and I certainly don’t want to write about it.   I sit down to compose a wonderful romantic scene about two people meeting or kissing for the first time and I gag just a little bit.  I search for the words to express how it feels to be breathless in the presence of a lover, and all of a sudden, I’m craving potato chips and scanning the channels for reruns of Two and a Half Men. Breathless is completely overrated.

Now, add this to the mix:  I may as well use my chapter outline as a kleenex because that’s about how disposable it is.  Do I really need to say anything more on that point?  Nope.

In conclusion, all I can tell you with any certitude whatsoever is that NaNoWriMo is a wicked task master. And the most absurd aspect of this whole ordeal is I’m thankful, not in the the turkey and cranberry sauce kinda way, but in the this-is-exactly-what-I needed-to-kick-my-butt-in-gear way.  So thank you NaNoWriMo for being the slave driving wench I desperately needed.

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The Darker Side of Voting

November 3, 2010 at 5:25 am (Uncategorized) ()

Here’s my secret: I haven’t voted in eight years.

Now, before you start lecturing me on how voting is not only a civic duty, but also a great privilege, let me explain my lack of participation in politics.

In 2002, I moved from my hometown in rural Virginia to the progressive town of Eugene, Oregon. I was overwhelmed with finding a job, adjusting to the culture and trying not to get cussed out by the local gas station attendants for attempting to pump my own gas. (That’s a big no-no in Oregon for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of traveling in that state.) On an average day, I barely knew what county I was in; I did not think I knew what was best for the state because I didn’t always have solid opinions about the issues. I was raised in a Pentecostal southern town, majored in Comparative Religions during college and then moved to the Northwest on a whim. Now if that isn’t a time for sorting out your political stance, well, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Several years went by and before I knew it, I was living one state up in the mighty state of Washington. And while I was somewhat more familiar with the Northwest by that time, I was still very confused. During my five years in Washington, I lived in three different counties and worked in four. I was The Gypsy of I-5. But more importantly, I was not an educated voter and I knew it!

This is where I stop to say: If you want to be angry at me, be angry at me for the right reason. My crime was not in my failure to vote. My crime was my inability to 1.) Learn local politics in an expedient manner and 2.) Take a stand on “the big” issues. For a multitude of reasons, I have always shied away from political discussions and the older I get, the more I keep those opinions to myself especially around those I love. Perhaps this is wrong or worse yet, cowardly. But trust me folks, I’m working on it.

With my twenties over, I find myself back in rural Virginia and for the first time in years, I know where I stand. When I got my new Virginia Driver’s license I finally registered vote not because I was old enough or because I caved to peer pressure, but because I am ready.

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