Celebration Time- Come On!
Posted December 7, 2010on:
I’m celebrating today. It’s the one week anniversary of me finishing something. And that in itself is an accomplishment.
Today I can say “yes” I actually made my word count for National Novel Writing Month and also still managed some random journal entries, note taking, even reading and life. In fact, life found many ways of distracting me from the 50,000 word goal, and without an insane push, I wouldn’t have made it (though now, I am ready for that 30,000 word weekend that Dee posted on Facebook last year since I manged 12,000 last Tuesday to make my NaNoWriMo goal). But the pressure was good for me because it finally forced my internal editor to take a (mini-)vacation. This is something I’d never quite achieved with things such as my handwritten work or my 750words.com writings. I did let go more or less with 750 Words (though in a different manner, since they were most often me ranting into the keyboard –not all that useful for my novel writing), but it wasn’t the same.
I used my laptop for this November’s excursion into the depths of my story, an added challenge that actually made the finally victory all the more real. I’ve never been all that comfortable with this keyboard (as much as I love my old clicky key I’m not even that comfortable with that or my hunting and pecking style of typing –over 50 words a minute, but a very choppy “two steps forward and two steps back” style of typing). I used it anyway. I don’t like the way the laptop rises up instantly and doesn’t have a nice slope; I don’t like the “hot spot” under my left wrist where the network adapter and so many other parts seem to be baking; and I don’t like not having my numeric keypad as a separate and distinct entity from the rest of the crammed together keys–one that does not require me to use a special function key and thus force me to often hit that dreaded “Windows” key. (I have a keyboard remapping program that Dan sent me, but it’s been waiting patiently in my inbox until I had finished November and had done some recovery. Maybe that will be the mission for today after I finish this writing.) I still used it and I made myself adjust to it. And….
All of this probably means nothing to most people, but to me, this was BIG! I had discovered, or rather REcovered, my notebook as a writing tool, as something to bring with me to places like Panera and others and to type away in abandon at. Because I was so very awkward in my typing on this keyboard, and so much life (and writer’s block) seemed to be conspiring against me during this Novel Writing month, I had to force myself to let go in a way that I hadn’t been able to do in far too long. I didn’t stop over every spelling error and typo. I didn’t worry if the sentences were cohesive and flowed neatly. I wrote a lot of dreck and a lot of “in the character’s head” nonsense, nonsense that I would never dream of trying to publish, but allowed me to better understand and visualize the person I had chosen to tell this story. And to my surprise I learned something nothing just about her but myself. I choose Atyr well; she definitely has a real and important story to tell and she is not at all the person I thought she was. She’s both stronger and weaker than I knew she was. Her life is so very alien that often the biggest problem we had in transposing her story was that I didn’t have an adequate vocabulary to relate her experiences, and neither did she. I don’t speak in religious terms…I’m a spiritual person, but not a religious one. She is very religious, a zealot in many ways and the world she inhabits is one that I could not even image myself spending time in, except as a spectator. Indeed, I watch her as she moves through her life with the same uneasy awe that I have when I look a the great cathedrals of Europe and the destruction of homes in Palestine. She scares me with her intensity.
She scares me because she is inside me.
But this strong feeling, this passion and this reality is something I would have never found if I had not been forced to let her out. She’s strong, but she’s patient. To her, the “day” will come when she needs to do her greatest task and then she will be done, and like any young woman she doesn’t want to die yet. So she never felt a desire to force her voice forward. If anything, she’s always been one to subdue her own needs and desires for those of the Higher Cause. And since she is only a part of me, only one character of many, she was beginning to hide in the background, the Mouse that had become her nickname, content to let others stand in the sunlight and be noticed–not that their stories are any more or less important or interesting than hers, but they certainly were more available.
Or were, until now. And for that and so many other things, I am delighted to say that I spent a month of madness trying to write a novel. And I’m even more proud to say I finished and made myself finish.