Tag Archives: National Novel Writing Month

What a Year it’s Been

On December 23rd in the year of our Lord 2010 I posted my first ever blog post. It was the first step to the wildest ride of my life. I hope it doesn’t end anytime soon! It started out as a chronicle of my road to involuntary retirement. But that was only the beginning. I learned a lot this first year about blogging and writing. The WordPress community is full of friendly and supportive people. I was honored with a Freshly Pressed in January 2011, and received a several nominations for Versatile Blogger. One of the many things I want to do in 2012 is get of my behind and give back via nominations to bloggers and commentors who inspire and encourage me.

January through April of 2011 was the last four months of my job. Marking time, waiting for it to be over. There wasn’t much to do those last 4 months. Many of my posts during those months were written at work. All I had to do all day was sat at my computer and bang away. Nobody asked what I was doing because it didn’t matter a whole lot. On my last day at work I threw my stuff in the car and left. That was that. I don’t miss it. Really, I don’t.

Immediately I took off on a train trip to Seattle with my Mom and sister. That was a hoot and a half and fodder for many posts. Then came the long summer of my discontent. What to do with myself. What to do… 40 years of the 9 to 5 fried my mischief bone and I had no clue how to go on. Still wrestling with that one.

The Cosmos handed me a project in the form of a 23-year-old grandson who came to live with us. He was in trouble with substance abuse. He stayed here for 3 months.  Mr. Husband and I put 30 pounds on the kid. He was an interesting and expensive pass time. While he was here I took him to every doctor in the Dallas Fort Worth area. At least that’s what it seemed like. The diagnosis was he was as healthy as a horse.

September found me on a road trip with my mother. We went to Yellowstone National Park, and Mt. Rushmore. We had a blast. And Mom and I hadn’t spent time alone like that since….well never. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I took temporary leave of my sanity November and decided to join the NaNoWriMo challenge for National Novel Writing Month. My novel turned out to be too much like a memoir and I practically had nervous breakdown in the process. I don’t recommend a 30 day forced march through one’s psyche and past. It’s no wonder they stress that a novel is supposed to be FICTION. I’m still working on my book but, it will be nothing like it started out to be.

And now here we are on the last day of December. I made it through the holiday season with nothing worse that a head cold. I hope everyone out there in Blogolopolis had a wonderful season. I also wish us all a wonderful 2012 full of new horizons and exciting adventures.

Happy New Year and big hugs and kisses to one and all.

Just for the fun of it, below is a list of most viewed posts of 2011:

DVD Hoarders Anonymous
A Squirrel Ate My Car
I-Like-Big-Steaks and I Can Not Lie
Just Smack Me With a Hammer
News Flash -Texas Declares Independence From Mexico
Never Cutteth Thine Own Hair
Ejected From the New Age Movement

Wisdom – I Hardly Knew Ye

Why must some people learn things the hard way? I’m referring to myself of course. I like to bend rules. Even more fun to break them. Sometimes there is a reason for rules though. This whole NaNoWriMo thing is breaking my brain. It’s also causing me to have a mini nervous breakdown. What rule did I break? Why the NO part of NaNoWriMo. No meaning novel. Well blow me down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still plugging away. The pothole in the road is that my story morphed from a novel into a semi fictional auto-biography. A biography is not a novel.

I broke another rule. Don’t go back and read what you wrote – keep writing! I did and opened Pandora’s box. Oh my god, I think, I can’t write this. Well yes, actually I can, but can I publish this? If I’m willing to run the risk of nobody every speaking to me again, including people I’ve never met, sure go right ahead. Scrambling for rationalization, I think, Eureka, I have a plan. I will wait until everyone I know is dead, then publish. This plan has a major flaw. I don’t know that many people older than me. So I will be dead too. Where’s the fun in that?

Writing about my life poses other problems as well. Scrutinizing one’s entire life on paper in 30 days sends one into a paroxysm of self-examination that would try the hardiest of souls. Maybe there is a damned good reason to explore someone’s life after they are gone. “Did that really happen? Why do you think that’s funny? That was a horrifying experience. Why was that so traumatic to you? That’s happened to others and they aren’t curled up behind the sofa in a fetal position, sniveling into a blanky. What will the result of this month be? Will I spend the rest of the year gluing macaroni smiley faces to paper plates?

So I struggle onward, cursed by my own stubborn attitude. The month is 2 thirds done and the draft is 1 thirds done. Now I remember what I liked the least about corporate hell. Deadlines…the bane of existence. Deadlines are here to stay in my life though. I have to get the inspection sticker renewed on my car on a deadline. Snarling “yer not the boss of me” to the traffic cop who pulls me over for an expired sticker isn’t going to get me very far. Well maybe to the local lockup if he’s had a bad day. But, it’s probably not a good idea to create situations as fodder for future stories.

I’m not writing a long and winding novel like Atlas Shrugged here. More like Atlas Staggered, fell to one knee – then went to happy hour to recuperate and didn’t come home for a week. Never read that book, actually. But, the title has always given me a giggle. Mom hates that book with a passion, so if you’re reading this, Mumzelle, please don’t go into a tizzy. We’ll talk about it next week when I get to New Orleans for Thanksgiving. Turkey and family, that’s living.

My Head is Going to Explode



Part of it is fall allergies. But the main problem is preparing for the NaNoWriMo novel challenge in November. Been thinking about story lines, characters. Worrying about losing my mind in the process. Started jotting down ideas on a legal pad a few days ago. Now I have 2 pages full of snippets. Glanced over the list last night and a strange thought came to mind. “Good grief, much of this is from my own experiences.” I could write an auto-biography and no one would know, or believe it. If they did, I ‘d get a one way ticket to the basket weaving academy.

True living in New Orleans for 20 odd years added to the list of oddities. One night in the French Quarter is the rough equivalent of a year in the suburbs. The most exciting things in my life this last month is the bug guy came and sprayed for termites. Well Mr. Husband ate something bad and hurled, but that was a vicarious experience at best. And oh yeah, my girlfriend got a boob job. Now I want one too. But that will pass, I’d want a new pair of boots if she got some. That reminds me, I bought 2 pairs of boots last week. A gal just can’t have too many pairs of boots, in my opinion.

Back to the novel contest. It will be interesting to see if I persevere. I’ve given up on New Year’s resolutions because they are sooo…permanent. I know I can do something for a 40 days because I frequently make some kind of habit change for Lent. One year I gave up the F word. That was an incredible challenge. It made me realize just how much I used that as a go to word when ticked off. During that time I researched more interesting ways to swear. My 2 favorites are “great crucibles of balderdash” followed with “by Thor’s left buttock!” Try saying that to the person who stole your parking place. Doesn’t help, but they might be a little scared of the crazy lady.

One thing that concerns me is that Thanksgiving falls right at the end of this dash to the finish line. Ah Ha, see there I’m making excuses already! Maybe I need to come up with some sort of reward to finish. A trip to Berlin or Moscow. Yea buddy.

Don’t Should on Yourself

Want vs. Should“Don’t Should on Yourself!” People told me this all the time when I used to go counseling and Al-Anon meetings. It means don’t spend time beating yourself up over what you think you should be doing, according to other people’s definition of what you should be doing, or not doing.

Sometimes I’m the master at this. I learned it from a long line of shouders and then, of course, I married a Master Shoulder. The even uglier side of the shoulding is the dreaded Should Notting. Should not do this, want this, think about this, or even let it creep into dreams.

I came home from my trip and turned into a vegetable. I should not have done that HA! See there it is again. Now I realized that what I was doing was taking the time to grieve grandson’s poor choice to leave the Guard and thereby forcing me to eject him from my home. Got past that and spent the next week feeling like I should be doing…something.

Finally, I put my foot down and said. OK dammit, Self, stop it right frigging now! Give yourself a chance to figure it out. You are retired and now you have all the time you need to let it all bubble and boil in your subterranean thoughts. It will come, you don’t need to force yourself into an activity just because you should be doing something. Sez who!

Then I got to investigating the annual NaNoWriMo contest coming in November. All you have to do to win is write a 50,000 page novel in 30 days. The purpose of doing it in 30 days is to force you to just bang it out without editing or rewriting or any other way fiddling it to death. The mere thought of this paralyzed me so severely that I didn’t write a single word for 5 days.

What happened? Well I know exactly what happened. The inner critic that sits on my shoulder started whispering in my ear. “Bleh, you never finish what you start.” Not true. “Anyone who reads the first draft of your novel will shout ‘what utter drivel’ and organize a nationwide draft burning party.” Yea, hows that for insecurity and hubris in the same fear? I will be invited to speak on CNN as the world-renowned author of the worst novel ever written. English lit teachers will buy it with the purpose of using in class as an example of how not to write.

I guess it is obvious how ridiculous my fears can get. The thing to do is switch from should to “so what?” So what if I write a 30 day novel and don’t even read it myself. So what? Just doing it is the accomplishment.

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