NaNoWriMo Week 2: Into the Weeds

Current NaNoWriMo Word Count since November 1: 24,506

Cool, procrastination music video for proper writing atmosphere:

I am thankful for: those moments when inspiration hits and your feet just take over the dance floor. Confetti helps, of course. And screaming.

Excerpt from a random bit of writing (goals achieved for 14 straight days in a row! Woot!):

Meggie was frantically snapping shots, running almost in circles around each couple as the groomsmen escorted family up to their seats, parasols aloft, and then took their place beside the chaplain. There was a pause and then, each bridesmaid, in a delicate swirl of pale green silk, carrying bouquets of cream with arches of greenery and ribbons cascading from the bottom, began their slow procession to the alter. I knew, without a doubt, what those ladies had sacrificed by wearing thongs under Spanx and walking through the sand in high heels. There was sand between their toes and misery in their nether parts right now, all in the name of love. Psh. The fact that they could slap smiles on top of that makes me proud of strong women everywhere. But also shake my head.

I saw a swatch of pale gray pantsuit through the gap. Finally, I’d found her. Then I saw a swatch of black tuxedo and a sinuous slink of white lace pause at the end of the sidewalk. Two things happened at once. Lizzy McEwen turned with her back to me, to let them pass, and a sudden gust of wind came around my corner. The bride shrieked and when the pantsuit moved forward, I saw white flowers flying away on the beach, tumbling down the sandy shore. Someone at Dandelion Daydreams was going to be fired today and it made me happy to think that I wouldn’t be alone on the streets tonight. My hands started moving before I realized that I’d had a thought. Snip, snip, and another snip later, my arm reached out from behind the bushes.

Ms McEwen cocked her head to the side just enough to see the voluptuous cluster of exotic pink flowers in my proffered fist and that it was attached to an arm in black sleeves that extended from nowhere. She seized the hibiscus and with one deft twist, the bridal bouquet was filled with pink. It had taken almost no time at all, and immediately the bride and her father were down the aisle. Ms McEwen waited for a beat, then placed a hand on the corner of the building, the other on her bluetooth, leaned over and made eye contact with me, frowning a real, live frown.

I felt like a mouse caught in a trap, waiting for its fate. She looked at me like I was an alien with two heads. “Eagle has landed, cake in place, Zach no-show with the accordion, and can the florist.”

Now who had two heads?

“Who are you?” she asked.

“I’m Gina,” I said, “I can explain.”

NaNoWriMo Week 1: So It Begins

Current NaNoWriMo Word Count since November 1:  12,391

Cool, procrastination music video for proper writing atmosphere:

I am thankful for: working from home where I can shout, shout, let it all out without coworkers giving me the side-eye or putting customers on hold. I can cough and cough and cough without missing any work days. I am deeply grateful that I am able to spend my time spinning straw into gold. (Watch the whole bit. You’re welcome.)

Excerpt from a random bit of writing (unedited because knickety-knack and we don’t look back, please refer to #1 and #5, above):

Currants and Cream Catering was having none of it. Loretta herself wasn’t here, but it was apparent that she had a bouncer hired as her representative. The catering commando stood squarely in front of the gorgeous Mr O’Donnell and from what I could gather from peering through the window, was calmly informing him of the error of his ways. I was next in line, and I cowered mostly behind the windowsill, watching in mute horror as Shane had a few words with her.

I couldn’t hear a word because the piano man had obviously ignored the fact that everyone else was in the house now, and he put forth an energetic rendition of Elvis’ “I Want to Be Your Teddy Bear”. I thought I could hear him singing along with his tune, softly. Some people really get into their jobs.

When the commandant was finished, Mr O’Donnell began speaking. I could tell by his arm motions and the cock of his head. As he proceeded, Ms Currants and Cream began to thaw. Her shoulders dropped a little. Her face softened. She took her tightly crossed arms down and put a fist on one hip. I shivered a little in the evening breeze. It wasn’t cold, but I was wet in places that had no business being wet. My toes were swimming in little champagne pools.

“Tiny Bubbles,” crooned the piano man.

The catering queen smiled. Who wouldn’t? Just watching Shane – er, O’Donnell – from the backside was a treat. I watched her nod once, say something dismissive, and take the hand that O’Donnell extended. Her smile grew and she said a few more things before releasing his hand but once she did, he marched away and into the house. We both watched him go and she had to bark my name before I turned back to the business at hand.

She never told me what he’d said, but I was to remain a gainful employee of Currants and Cream Catering at least through the next week. This dinner was the prequel to the main event and if O’Donnell had put in a good word for me, it seemed that she was going to at least keep her word and not fire me until their contract was completed. This meant a wedding. A glorious affair next Sunday at the Hotel Del Coronado itself, the crown of San Diego, the historical monarchy of the coast, the next gleaming paycheck with my name on it.

I left with the catering truck and never saw him again, not even when I peeked through several windows while we packed our boxes and stacked leftover trays in their gleaming perfect kitchen. He was taller than a lamppost with a flaming red top. How hard could it be? But there you have it. Story of my life. What are you gonna do? It was really sweet of the guy. If I couldn’t thank him, I could at least pass on his good karma to the next klutz I met.

I passed the piano on my way out with the last box.

“You can stop now. Unless you know anything from the 80s?”

Tiki torches bounced their light off his smile.

I listened to his tune all the way home in my head. A deep rhythmic, rebellious, perfect for a wedding and my new job, rendition of “Another One Bites the Dust”.

****************

When I told Jen the story, she went nuts.

“You did what?” she questioned, “And Loretta took you back?”

She spooned mashed peas into her eleven month old.

“Loretta is pretty tough about her reputation. I can’t believe it.”

“It wasn’t my fault,” I began, “accidents happen, you know.”

NaNoWriMo Because I Hang Out with Crazy People

Lest I feel that dedicating this year to earning a “Novel Writing Certificate” is small potatoes…

Because it’s not enough to spend Tuesday and Saturday mornings driving in traffic for an hour in order to diagram plot points and decide whether my historical protagonist likes her coffee black or with a smidge of stevia…

Because meeting total strangers for the sole purpose of discovering that they are master writers and I am a kindergartner wielding a purple crayon…

They gotta throw “National Novel Writing Month” on top of it.

Did you know that novelists – the guys doing the real deal – have three to four books somewhere in progress while simultaneously coming up with new book ideas to pitch to publishers and they still teach classes, hold workshops, and market like crazy to make the money happen?

Do you know how much work it is to maintain a business social media, website, and amazon presence? No, you don’t, because if you’re smart you’ve hired me to do it for you. I run a freelance writing business on the side to pay for my obsession. That puts me one step closer to crazy town than I thought.

Me: “Don’t you think attempting to write a brand new novel in a single month will distract me from the one I’ve been trying to write for the last three years?”

Teacher/Author: “I highly recommend NaNoWriMo. Especially if you have a hard time with perfectionism.”

Me: “Who, me? Don’t be ridiculous preposterous silly.”

Teacher/Evil Person: “The idea here is that in one month, you sit down and make 50,000 words. That’s only 1,666.66666 words a day. Easy peasy. As long as you don’t edit while you write.”

Me: “But that’s what people love me for pay me to do.”

Teacher/Gastroenterologist: “You can’t keep a good steady outgo if you’re blocking with analytics. You have to relax. Just enjoy the word vomit.”

Me: Simultaneously whimpering and signing up online. My code name is Jolie Guacamole.

If you clean your house before the cleaning lady arrives, you know exactly how I feel.

And if you know how I feel about vomit, you also know exactly how I feel.

Buckle up. You will still get regular blogs in November because I love you, but they will be made ahead of time and auto-post with updates on my progress.

If you have a completely random character, setting, villain, plot twist, vehicle, pet, name, or an especially exciting way to kill off boring side characters, give it to me right here in the comments! Then tune in next month and see how I wrote about it.

Better yet, sign up yourself and join me on the dark side. *evil laughter*

The Yams Did It

Farewell, November

I tried, I really did.

For like, three whole days.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.

It’s a wonderful website for setting aside the month of November to finally write that novel.

Of course, I signed up three years ago, and I spend the last week of October every year daring myself to jump in the deep end and not look back.

I’ve been wobbling on the diving board for ages and my novel is all of two chapters long.

Maybe next year.

I had much better success with No Shave November.

My sons participated along with me.

They twirled imaginary mustaches and massaged two blond chin hairs, trying to encourage a goatee.

Tomorrow they get to shave.

Frankly, I have a bigger beard on my kneecap.

But whatever.

There were a lot of options for November, some of which are simply on my list of “some day”: International Drum Month, National Inspirational Role Model Month, National Fun With Fondue Month.

What I really feel good about, though, is my unwitting participation in Sweet Potato Awareness Month.

If there’s one thing my family demands on the Thanksgiving table, it’s candied sweet potatoes.

Not yams.

(Whole ‘nother tuber, that is, and very rarely sold in the produce aisle, even if the sign clearly states “YAMS”. Nope. It’s a sweet potato.)

We are very, very, highly aware of the massive steaming tray of candied sweet potatoes that my mom makes faithfully every year.

She makes another whole pan-full and leaves it at home, just for herself, because she knows her daughters won’t be leaving any leftovers.

After all, I’ve been known to rate restaurants entirely on the merit of their sweet potato fries.

Sometimes I’ve made them with pecans and maple syrup instead of brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows.

Once in a while I’ll cheat and buy canned sweet potatoes, mashing them up in the casserole dish, but they aren’t the same.

My sister recently opened my eyes to a new way of preparing them, and really, I should’ve thought of this years ago.

I mean, I am the oldest sister. I know stuff.

Usually, you need to bake whole sweet potatoes on a tray for an hour or so until they are soft; then you peel the wrinkled, sugar-blackened, drippy skins open and scrape out the stringy orange flesh.

I haven’t done a potato in the microwave since the unhappy debacle of 2009.

Enter: the crockpot.

Half inch of water, whole sweet potatoes, low for a few hours or high for three-ish hours. It depends on the fatness of your roots.

But you don’t have to poke them with a fork or scrape burned bits from your pans, and the taters aren’t stringy at all. Just moist and mashy.

Technically, I observed National Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, Vegan Month, Gratitude Month, Native American Heritage Month, and Diabetes Month all at the same time.

Take that, November.

Not only did the native americans know you could live off of sweet potatoes in a famine, but these little spuds stabilize blood sugar, and are full of all the good vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Sweet potatoes are also used in estrogen replacement therapy.

Not that I’m looking sideways at my mother or anything.

But it would explain my kneecap.