Sunday, November 29, 2009

He-e-e-e-e-re they go! Off and pacing........

We went to Vancouver - to Fraser Downs Racetrack - to watch the pacers today. The ferry ride was smooth, though when I looked outside, the water was grey and so was the sky.

I kept thinking that the sun was bound to come up.

Then I realized it was about 9:30 in the morning, and the sun wasn't going to get much more up.

Robin and I decided to call the scenery "atmospheric," because that sounds much better than "grey."

We had brunch with the grandbabies and their parents. Then we headed for Fraser Downs to watch the harness racing. Between the brunch and snacking at the races, I think I ate every possible Bad for Me food. I ate anything that stood still long enough. I ate Eggs Benedict, for god's sake. I haven't done that in years. Then I had part of an order of nachos at the races. I am so going to have to be really, really good for the next week or so.

Anyway, I did enjoy the day. Robin won enough money at the races to almost compensate for the amount I lost, so I didn't come away feeling guilty. And when Robin and I were on our way to the ferry terminal afterward, my daughter-in-law found my cell phone, which had apparently fallen out of my purse at the racetrack. She and her husband called us on Robin's cell, told us they had my phone, and met us in a parking lot along the road to give it back. I hadn't even realized the phone was missing. Phew. Disaster averted -- and we still got to the ferry on time.

Now, I'm back at home, laptop in lap, listening to my characters call my name. (The one I killed is still dead, so far.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Remember NaNoWriMo?

This is Day 28. I did take a couple of days off, because my brain hurt, but this morning I started my next installment. That NaNo deadline, I've decided, is magical. Now that I don't have the 50,000 words in 30 days stick goading me on, I'm finding it much more difficult to write than I did even a week ago.  However, I made an effort. Then I went to work. When I got home, not long ago, I remembered suddenly that I had killed one of my main characters this morning. Now I'm a little panicky, and very guilty. I'm not saying who the character is (was!), because I may want to change my mind. Maybe the next chapter will begin with that
character saying "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." 

I rather feared that once I stopped writing, I wouldn't be able to start again at all, that it was only the fact that I was running headlong through the manuscript that was keeping me on my feet. There was some justification for that fear, but after some stumbling and reeling, I did regain my balance and get going again.

Tomorrow, we are off to Vancouver (again) to watch the harness racing. That means I'll have two more ferry rides, and I plan to use that time for writing - and for reading Margaret Atwood's Life Before Man, which somehow I have never read before. I am always of two minds about Atwood's work. I respect it, but I don't always enjoy reading it. It seems to me that she stands back from her characters, carefully moving them around, but doing it with gloves on, so as not to dirty her hands. That can't be a fair judgment, because I know that millions of people have read her books and loved them, so with Life Before Man I am trying once again to feel comfortable in the company of Atwood and of the unhappy people who inhabit her books.

P.S. I posted this, then read it and thought Oy. Look at me. I write 50,000 words, and suddenly I'm the newest literary critic on the block.  Somebody peel me a grape. ;>)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Friday Photo Shootout, with 59 minutes to go.

The photo on the left shows the  Rocksalt Anthology group, who read their poems at the Poetry Gabriola Festival last week. I borrowed (?) the picture from Facebook, where Kim Goldberg (that's she at the front of the photo) had posted it. Such happy faces. This week's topic, Faces and Smiles, was suggested by Sarah.  For more Friday Photo Shootout posts, just click on the big camera in my sidebar.

And the 59 minutes? That's how long I have to wait before my ferry leaves. I came went to Vancouver today - on the 8:30 a.m. ferry) to visit my son, this being his day off, but I wanted to get back to Nanaimo in time to do WordStorm (remember WordStorm?) We decided I would have to catch the 3 pm ferry, which would get into Nanaimo at 4:35, lots of time to go home and have supper and then go to WordStorm for 6:30. However, by time I came by ferry to Horseshoe Bay, caught the bus downtown, and then caught another bus to where my son lives, we only had an hour and a half to spend together before I had to do the route in reverse. I could live with that. We went  to a Thai restaurant for lunch and spent an hour catching up on each other's lives, but then it turned out that the bus going back downtown was re-routed due to construction, so I got to the connecting bus stop three minutes too late to make my 2:07 connection to Horseshoe Bay. The next bus (the 2:20) was five minutes late, and in the end I got to the ferry terminal at precisely 3:00 p.m., ten minutes too late to catch the ferry (they cut off ticket sales 10 minutes before sailing.) So here I sit, enjoying an Americano at the Blenz coffee shop, watching for my 5 o'clock ferry to come in, reading Margaret Atwood, trying not to be too annoyed about being here when I could just as easily have hung around with my son for a couple of hours more. Okay, an hour more.

I sent a Facebook message to David Fraser, my connection at WordStorm, explaining my situation and asking whether, if I don't get to the theatre until 7 o'clock, I might still take part in the open mic (which doesn't actually start until then). Then I scrolled down a little on his page and saw that on the 22nd, he was sending messages from Mazatlan. Hmmmm. So I sent a p.s. that read "Never Mind." If he has returned to Nanaimo, I hope he'll find my message before he goes to WordStorm. If not, I'll just have to take my chances. I do have the poem in my bag, so I can have Robin pick me up at the ferry and drop me off at the theatre without going home first.

All this is to let those of you who don't live on islands know that once in a while, the situation is less than idyllic. ;>) - especially if you don't organize very well.

Oh, and this means I'll be having ferry food for dinner, folks. Pray for me.

Later:  Well, the boat ran half an hour late, so I didn't get to read my poem, but I did tell my sad story to the emcee, who suggested that I get on the list for January, as there will be no WordStorm in December. I told her I would be in Hawaii in January, so we settled on February. Then I sat down and listened to the poets and musicians  - first, the open mic folks, and then the three featured performers. They were all very good, all very different. Speaking of faces and smiles -This is Dinah D,the last of the featured performers, who made me laugh so hard that my stomach hurt. She lives on Gabriola Island. I think I have to move to Gabriola.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 23, which was another day of less-than-stellar accomplishment, and
Day 24, on which I won! I won! I won!

Doing a happy dance, I am. To backtrack a little, I fell asleep over my work again last night, having added only 1,133 words, so I was a bit discouraged.

Today started out with a trip to the swimming pool (stress reduction), then work (stress enhancement). After work, I went to The Vault, where I wrote the first 1,000 or so words of today's NaNo. I had a decaf Americano. There was no pumpkin pie, but they did have a slice of pecan pie, so I ate that instead, to bolster my spirits.

At home, I ate a little dinner and sat down again to write. I'm not sure how it happened, but I ended up writing over 3,000 words, and as of just a few minutes ago, I sent in 50,141 words to NaNoWriMo for verification, and they sent me this lovely banner. Actually, I had a choice of banners. I chose the big one, because if I can't jump and shout "Woo-hoo!" and wave my arms  about this, well  ---

Isn't it pretty? I'll keep it here until the 30th, and then I'll move it over to the sidebar, where I can admire it all the time.

Now, the fact that I've won NaNoWriMo does not by any means indicate that I have finished my first draft. I'll keep on plugging, and I'll start printing, so that I can look back at some point and see what I've written. As I was copying and pasting from My Writing Nook to Open Office tonight, I found myself glancing at the text and saying things like "Who on earth is Christine?" and "Oh, yeah. Now I remember that scene!" and such. If I go much longer without looking back, I'll completely forget what I started out to write about.

I shall, however, spare you the blow-by-blow. I know now that I can do it. Isn't that just cool?

One more thing -- the musical celebration. I listened to this on the CBC yesterday, and I thought yep. When I win NaNoWriMo, I'm going to post this music. It's perfect.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 22 - Steady progress on the NaNovel, and the saints come marching in.......

I added another 2,675 words today. I just quit a few minutes ago, when I realized that this scene could go on forever, but I couldn't. 45,877 now.

I  nearly went to sleep without posting, as I hadn't much to say, being pretty well written out for the day, but then I remembered that today  was the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of "music and also of musicians, composers, instrument makers, and poets." That seemed to call for a quick visit to The Turtle, since so many of us fall into one or more of those categories.

(The photo on the left is Saint Cecilia by Guido Reni, 1606 , as found at Wikipedia.)

In celebration of the feast, I offer the Sanctus from Gounod's Mass of St. Cecilia, sung by Stephen Costello.

 ....and this, the Grand Chorus from John Dryden's "A Song for St. Cecilia." For the entire poem, click here.

As from the pow'r of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the bless'd above;
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky.

Isn't that last line a wondrous thing?

Good night, now. I wish you all a happy night and a year full of music and poetry.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 21. So, was there a problem?

No problem. I just finished my 2,000 words -- 2,126, actually, bringing the count up to 43,201. Again, I had a scene that absolutely begged to be written, and that helped a lot. Also, my eyes are fully open tonight. That helped even more. I'm an okay touch typist, so I can type with my eyes closed, but writing in my sleep is outside my skill set.

Today's scene took place in 1945 in New York City, which is a pretty iconic setting.  That was a big help. So was the fact that the scene was a crucial plot point, and that it involved a tearful reunion.

That honeymoon that I thought was over? It's back on. Sigh.

Day 20, when I'm thinking it's a good thing this race is nearly over -

not that I'm not enjoying it. In fact, I'm loving it. But I'm tired. I suspect that it's the rest of my life that is making me tired, but NaNoWriMo, being the new kid on the block, is a handy scapegoat.  NaNo has, in fact, given me some moments of real, honest-to-god joy this month. Just this morning, I found the latest pep talk in my e-mail. It was written by Kristin Cashore, a best-selling author of YA fantasy novels, whose writing process is so similar to my own that I nodded and said Yes Yes all through the pep talk, then followed the link to her blog, where I found music and inspirational readings and this YouTube video that made me cry while I smiled and vice versa, because it is so full of joy.

You see? NaNo has opened new worlds to me, and I am grateful. I have been having little pep talks of my own, self-directed ones, in which I consider the possibility of doing a mini-NaNo all year, establishing a daily word count goal and sticking to it (except when I fall asleep at the keyboard, as I did last night). Not 2,000 words a day. That's a lot, when you have to do annoying things like go to work, do the laundry, brush your teeth, as well. But 1,000. That is do-able.

But yesterday was another of those days when the honeymoon seemed to be over. I did finally remember what I had planned to write about, and I started writing about that, but I wandered off topic by about twenty years, which was okay too, because it will all be relevant at some point, but (yes, another but!) I would be typing away, seemingly making progress, and then I would realize that I had actually been asleep, sitting up, with my hands resting on the keyboard. Closing my eyes just felt so-o-o-o-o good. I gave up the fight when I had 1,074 words on the page. That brought my total to 41,075, and that would simply have to do.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 19, AND Friday Photo Shootout - The Double Whammy

By a stroke of good fortune, this week's theme at the Shootout is "My Town's Premier Attraction" - The theme was assigned by Kent. (Thank you, Kent. You are a lifesaver.) As it happens, I do have some photos of Nanaimo's premier attraction, which is our beautiful harbour. Thus, without actually taking - or having - the time to go out and shoot a photograph, I can contribute one (several, actually)  to the shootout, thus retaining my membership in the gang. At least, I hope so.

This is a photo of the harbour as seen from the dock where our float planes load and unload. There are two airlines operating out of downtown Nanaimo, so watching the planes come and go is a popular pastime. 

There are usually some people standing along the railings, watching the planes, but the day that the Snowbirds, the Canadian Forces Demonstration Team, came to town, our gangly, overgrown adolescent of a city turned into a small town again, just for the day, as hundreds of people lined the docks, oohing and aahing and shooting pictures. I had a great time, and it looked as if everyone else did, too.

I did take pictures of the Snowbirds, but I kept being distracted by the play of light on the water, so my camera ended up filled with shots like this one.  In fact, even when there is no special occasion, I find it impossible to walk along the waterfront without stopping to take photos. I always seem to find something interesting to look at. Sometimes it is something new, but not always. I love it when something familiar, seen in a different light, becomes newly fascinating.


I have been playing hooky from Friday Photo Shootout and from Theme Thursday, as well, devoting my time to NaNoWriMo and neglecting some of my favourite theme posts - neglecting, as well, my visits to bloggy friends. As NaNoWriMo winds down, I look forward to returning to my familiar haunts.

Not that the project is finished.  I still have over 12,000 words to write, but the task does not seem nearly so daunting now as it did at the beginning of the month. I hope to finish my 50,000 words by next week at this time.

Now, my next confession - and my last for the evening, I promise. Remember that I said I was going to be very brave and read my poem at WordStorm tonight?  Well, this is what happened. I was held over at work, so I didn't even get home until 6:10 p.m., and WordStorm starts at 6:30.  I threw a Weight Watchers dinner into the microwave, printed a copy of my poem (the original, by the way), ate my dinner, brushed my teeth, and rushed back out into the storm - the rainstorm, I mean. It was ugly out there.  I drove to the theatre where WordStorm is held, parked the car - which was easier than I expected. I was able to park only a few feet from the door - locked it, and walked over to the theatre door, which was locked. Oh, dear. I rang the bell. Nobody answered. I walked down the street a bit, to make sure I hadn't gone to the wrong door. No, it was the right place. I knocked on the door. Nobody answered.

This is what I thought:  Hey, I'm only five minutes late. Surely they haven't locked the door on purpose. The readings don't actually start until seven, and people are always wandering in, even after they start. This must be a mistake. Someone must have locked the door by mistake, and nobody has figured it out yet.  Phew. I'm glad I figured it out. I'll go home and find a phone number to call, and I'll explain what has happened, and then I'll come back and somebody will let me in.

So I came home. I turned my computer on and found the website where WordStorm events are announced.  Look!  See? WordStorm is now held on the fourth Thursday of the month - the WHAT? The fourth Thursday of the month. That's next Thursday. A few hours ago, I would have sworn that WordStorm was held on the third Thursday of the month. Obviously, I would have been wrong. I was wrong. I was all dressed up, with no place to go.

(This is the end of the confession.)

If my time were my own, and not given over to the whim of my muses, I would take advantage of my dressed-uppedness by heading straight to TFE's poteen party, but I have some writing to do, so I've changed into my official Writing Pajamas, and I am even now thinking of donning my Hat for Conjuring Stories and my sandara goddess of the written word wig. Yes, that's what I'll do. Good night, bloggy friends.

p.s.  Oops! I forgot to say - If you click on the big black camera over there on the sidebar, you will be magically transported to the Friday Photo Shootout site, from which you can reach all the other Shootout blogs.

p.p.s. It's 12:41 a.m. now. I started to write, and I sort of got carried away. 2,626 words tonight, 40,001 to date. 9,999 to go. Hot damn!
Day 18 - ended.


When I came home, I did manage to scrape out 1,166 words. I had resigned myself to writing no words at all, but a voice in my head kept telling me that if I didn't write something, I would remember how restful it was to lie around soaking up whatever the television wanted to throw at me, and That Way Lay Failure.

So I wrote a scene. I think I'll write it again when I'm not so tired, but I am glad I made the effort. Total words now? 37,375.

Today, I'll be working until 3:00 p.m., and then I'll be working myself into a lather over my pledge to read a poem at WordStorm tonight. I decided to read one of the poems I published here - the one that begins "Death comes in the morning" - Then I decided I didn't actually like the poem, so I rewrote it, and I asked Angel May to read it for me and tell me her thoughts. She thought she liked the first one much better. So I've printed out both versions of the poem, and today I'll decide whether to use the poem in its original form or incorporate some aspects of the new one. I owe my dear friend a great deal of gratitude for her efforts.

If I don't die of stage fright, I'll come back tomorrow - or tonight - and tell you how it went.

Meanwhile, I think I'll go check out TFE's castle to see whether the poteen party is under way yet. I'll bet it is, because they keep their clocks eight hours fast over there

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 17, when Week Two's stormy seas finally give way to the calm waters of Week Three -

And high time, I think. The week is half over. I wrote a little bit extra today - 2,606 words - because I doubt I'll be able to write much, if anything, tomorrow. I have at least a 10 1/2 hour work day ahead of me, and something tells me I won't be In the Mood.  That brings my word count to 36,209. Again, today, I had a good idea what scene I would write - it was one I had thought about weeks ago - so writing it was not a problem. The wandering plot that afflicted me last week has settled back into line, and I am feeling much more hopeful that when I finish writing my 50,000 words, I will have something in the way of a story to work with, not just 50,000 words.

At any rate, I wrote a little extra today, and I'll write a little extra on the weekend, Muses willing, to make up for tomorrow's expected shortfall.

And now for the really good news -  There's going to be a party - another party - in Blogland!  Totalfeckineejit (That's his self-portrait on the right. I borrowed it for purposes of the invitation. I hope he doesn't mind.) Anyway, TFE,
whose grand entrance at Willow's Manor Ball was the talk of the interwebs,  is throwing a party of his own, the Maximus Miracle Poteen Party, on Thursday, and we're all invited, all those who visit TFE's blog and read the invitation and learn what on earth poteen is. If you haven't done that yet, here's your chance - just click here to read TFE's post and RSVP.  Don't miss this gala - not only will there be a special guest, poet Liz Gallagher, but there will be a prize - not to mention a stellar cast of entertainers and celebrities with whom to rub elbows. (I'm not kidding. Check out the guest list!)

Speaking of being In the Mood, I think a little music would be a good way to close, don't you?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 16 - Putting the Horse Before the Cart

Before I talk about my writing, I must give a shout out to John Hayes. His new blog, The Days of Wine and Roses, brings poetry back to its rightful place - front and centre. I am thrilled, and I wish him all the best.

Now, as for my writing: I had almost convinced myself that waiting until late in the evening was the best way for me to write. I don't know what gave me that idea. I am most decidedly not a night person. Having fallen asleep on the job a couple of times, I finally decided to try something different. When I finished work today, I felt exhausted, but Robin wanted to go for a walk, so that's what we did. We parked the car down by the supermarket and walked along the waterfront. It was a mite nippy out, and as we started to walk, the wind came up, so we both donned the chin straps for our Tilley hats and walked downwind.

Along the way, I took a leaf out of Reya Mellicker's book by taking some pictures in the dark. It was a mixed experience. (Reya makes it look so easy!) First, I saw a fishing boat named  Ivory Gull. It was such a lonely sight, it stopped me in my tracks, so I photographed it. I only hope you can see it.

Then I remembered the blue lights that the City had put up all over the parking lot by Swy-a-Lana Lagoon. That's where the park is, the one where I took pictures of my grandbabies in the playground, and where the statue of Black Frank is. The lights are very striking, and I hope they become a permanent fixture.

When we got tired of walking, and we really didn't want to head into the wind to get back, we called a cab to take us back to the supermarket. No flies on us. ;>) Robin was right. We both needed the exercise - but we didn't need to freeze our noses off.

At home, we prepared and ate dinner, and then I sat down and wrote 2,109 words. Just like that. Maybe it was so easy today because I'm still riding on the high from yesterday, or maybe it was because I had an idea for a scene in my head already, or maybe it was because I didn't wait until I was really tired to start writing.

Whatever it was, I'm grateful for it, because now my word count is up to 33,603.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 14 (about which the less said,the better) and Day 15, on which Sandra's beleaguered soul is restored by a whopping dose of real, live poetry...

First of all, there was yesterday. I took a notebook and pen with me and managed to write a bit, off and on, during the day. I think I came home with 622 words, or thereabouts, which I then typed into My Writing Nook in order to count the words and get them into the story.  I figured I was home free. 2000 would be a breeze, with this great head start I had made. I didn't count on the effect of exhaustion, which was to send me off to dreamland with only 1123 words to my credit. I had had high hopes (alliterative, or what?) of reaching the 30,000 mark last night, but I got some sleep instead. I did read somewhere, in the last couple of days, that Week 2 is the time to give yourself a break if you need to, and I seem to be doing that, intentionally or otherwise. So...I came into Day 15 with 29,477 words, which is still ahead of schedule, but not as dramatically so as I had hoped.

Today, I didn't have to work. What I did do was go over to Gabriola Island - a twenty-minute ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo - to take part in the last day of the four-day Poetry Gabriola Festival. I dithered, because the ferry fare, including my car, was close to $30, and then there would be lunch, plus a fee for each session I wanted to attend - and I knew I would come home with at least one book. In the end, though, I decided to go. This has to rank as one of the best decisions I've made in quite some time. I took my netbook along, thinking I would find a table near a wall outlet when I went to the pub for lunch (that being the first item on the agenda) and make a start at today's writing. The netbook never came out of my bag, though, because as soon as I walked into the pub, I was invited to sit at the long table where the presenters were sitting. I knew a couple of people at the table - Kim Goldberg, whose book "The Red Zone" is in its second printing (She launched the book at The Vault just a few weeks ago), and David Fraser, poet and editor of Ascent Aspirations Magazine. I know David (slightly, as yet) through WordStorm. David presented me with a gift certificate for my lunch. That was a complete surprise, and it allowed me to feel free to buy a copy of Rocksalt, the first anthology of BC poetry in 31 years. Seven of the poets featured in the anthology read at the first session I attended after lunch.

After the poetry reading, novelists George Szanto and Sandy Duncan read from their jointly-authored novel, Never Sleep With A Suspect on Gabriola Island, and offered some insights into their collaborative methods.

At 3:00 p.m., I was treated to a round-table discussion by Alexis O'Hara, Christian Bök, and Paul Dutton. The brochure advised that these three would: discuss what has led them out of standard narrative and into the cacophonic hubbub of sound. What causes artists to make departures from language as we know it? How do these artists understand the relationships between form and content, improvisation and scripted scores? ...I went, because I had absolutely no idea what this meant. I'm not sure that I'm any the wiser now, but I had a wonderful time listening to them. Just now, looking for links to put here, I came across some YouTube videos of Christian (who, by the way, is very charming.) I'll embed just one of them, so that in case you are as ignorant as I of the art form under discussion, you can hear it first here.

Finally, there was a reading by the absolutely delightful Antony Holland,who read a number of poems from a variety of genres. We heard Dame Edith Sitwell, Ogden Nash, Dylan Thomas, and - oh - this special poem, which Antony referred to as the Worst Poem He Had Ever Read. It was written by William Topaz McGonagall. I found it online. This link takes you to the poem, Attempted Assassination of the Queen, but then if you click on Home, you will be taken to a page where you will find the following description: (McGonagall)  "poet and tragedian of Dundee, has been widely hailed as the writer of the worst poetry in the English language.." so apparently Antony is not alone in his assessment.

At the end of his presentation, Antony read from King Lear. He has played the part of King Lear on stage. He read from the beginning of the play and then from the end, to demonstrate the change in Shakespeare's use of language over the course of the play. He brought me to tears.  When he had finished speaking, I had to rush out in order to catch the ferry back to Nanaimo, but I did so with regret. I would love to have spent some more time getting to know these people. Fortunately, I know that at least some of them are involved in WordStorm, so I may well be seeing them again next week.

On the way home, I sat in my car on the ferry. The boat was dark, and Gabriola was also dark, at least by comparison to Nanaimo, which  positively glowed, just off the bow. Because I couldn't see the water, the trip home seemed much shorter than the trip out had. I turned on the overhead light inside the car, and I leafed through my new anthology. I came across a poem by Rachel Rose. When I went googling, I found a post about her at a blog called Nowhere, B.C., whose author, Zonko, says of Rose,

"...she's writing some Of the most vivid poems of her generation, poems so intense they're nearly
Scary, easily passing emily dickinson's test of poetry q.v. making the hair on The back of your neck stand up."

The poem that I read in the anthology is called What the Sea Perhaps Heard. I don't dare reproduce it here, because I don't have Rachel Rose's permission. I can say, loudly, Buy This Book. I read the poem, read it again, then turned off the light and just stared out across the bow, felt the boat rise and fall  on the waves, and decided I had had a truly wonderful day.

Now, having written nearly 1,100 words here (I couldn't help myself. I was well and truly stoked!) I'd better go do some NaNoveling, don't you think?

p.s.  It is almost midnight now.  My word count for today is 2,017. To date: 31,494. Enough.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

and Day 13, well, not so much.

That's mostly because work had sucked the marrow from my soul, and I had nothing to give to my story. I trudged into the fray, though, and I finally passed the 2,000 word mark - but not until 12:15.  Never mind. I hereby declare 12:15 a.m. to be part of yesterday, for NaNo purposes.

"Today's" word count: 2,016. To date: 28,354.

Tired now. Must sleep.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 12 is a Red Letter Day - 
because not only do we have water - hot water, at that - courtesy of the new water heater (and we have the new water heater courtesy of the nice plumber, who looked nothing like the man in the clipart illustration) - but  - Ta-da! - I've passed the 25,000-word mark, the halfway point in NaNoWriMo. I should finish tonight's work with about 26,000 words, if all goes well.

You know what that means, don't you? Tomorrow morning, instead of going to the Aquatic Centre and taking a shower, swimming, taking another shower, trying to soak up as much hot water as I can, as if I could store it up for later - I can have a nice soaky bath, if that's what suits me, in my very own bathtub. I could even do that tonight, after I finish my writing. Right now, the washing machine is busily washing all the towels that I used to soak up the flood, and the dryer is drying the ones that have made it that far in the process. We have had our dinner, and the dishes have been washed (in hot water, which came gushing from the tap on command). My carpet - not wall-to-wall, thank goodness - is hanging over a rope strung across the covered porch. Little by little by little, the house is drying out. Robin and I were moaning this morning about how we had only had that water heater installed four or five years ago, and already it was falling apart. The plumber checked his records. Eleven years. It's true. Time does fly when you're having fun.

And to think that there was a time in my life when I didn't have running water!

As for writing, interesting things are happening. My character Marie, the daughter of Bridget, is writing a novel. I was reading the NaNoWriMo page yesterday, and I came across a video that set out a few dares for week 2 of NaNoWriMo. Most of them were a little outrageous for me, but there was one that I found intriguing. Tavia, who made the video, dared me to have my character write a novel -- about me.  So poor Marie, who is up to her neck in mysteries already, woke up at four o'clock in the morning

and decided to take advantage of her insomnia by working on her novel. Her main character isn't exactly me, but she is the woman I've always feared I would become -  a woman who is self-destructive to the point that she has lost all her options, and now she is homeless, living on the street, afraid to take even such small opportunities for friendship as present themselves. Marie's work for the night is to learn about the mystery that is Daisy, her MC, and that is my work, too. It's rather cathartic. It has nothing to do with the story, but on the other hand, maybe Daisy will make a cameo appearance in the final book.

p.s. 9:15 p.m. Word counts: 2,207/26,338

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 11 -When Murphy's Law Came into Effect 

 Remember the strange odor in my house, that turned out to be coming from the water heater, which is in a closet off my bedroom? The problem that the plumber will be here tomorrow afternoon to fix?  Welllllll, I slept in the living room last night, so as not to have to smell the strange smell in my nose all night. This morning, we turned the water heater on long enough to heat water for our showers, then turned it off. Then we left home.

We spent the day in Victoria, came home to find the back of the house flooded because the water heater had exploded (or imploded, or just fallen to pieces. God knows.). We have mopped up what we could with towels, and I've spun the towels dry in the washing machine, but I can't dry them, because the dryer and the water heater are on the same circuit. Oh, and it rained here all day, from the looks of things. (It did not rain in Victoria. That's a bright spot in the story.)  There are heaters running, all over the house. It feels like the middle of the night, but it's really just after 7 p.m., so I suppose I may as well try to write. It's not as if I can go have a nice hot bubble bath.

                                    Big sigh.

p.s. It is 11:44 p.m. - I did write, though it was a struggle. One of my characters had a nice, hot, steamy, lavender-scented bubble bath. Today's word count: 2,116. I also added a little information about Albany to a previous day's work, so my total to date is 24,131.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 10 - I printed it out.

I shouldn't have done that. I think it's against the rules, but I was getting really confused. So I did it. The trouble is, now I want to take out my red pen and start making  notes, crossing things out, editing. No, no. I know for a fact that that is against the rules, as well it should be. If I start editing at this point, I will never get to 50,000 words. The thing to do now is take the duo-tang with all the printed pages in it, and put it in a closet until December 1. At least now I know that if my Writing Nook and my e-mail both go belly-up in the next couple of weeks, I will still have a copy of what I've written to date. Maybe once a week I should do this, just to reassure myself.

Meanwhile, Marie (my MC's daughter) has completely hijacked the story and wandered off, meeting interesting people and squirrels and getting herself involved in a bit of a mystery, and I'm left standing here saying "Hey! What happened to my story?" I gather that my experience is not unusual in the world of NaNoWriMo, and I'm not particularly worried about it, but it has required some deep breathing on my part to accept my marginalization. I must trust that at some point Marie will remember that she has a mystery of her own to solve, and she will get back to work at solving it.

Today's word count: 2,155. To date: 21,977.

And meanwhile, we have a bit of a problem here. I woke up this morning to a very strange odor in the house, which turned out to be coming from the water heater. We have arranged to have a plumber come in, but he can't come until Thursday afternoon, so in the meantime, I guess we'll have to turn on the water heater a couple of times a day, just long enough to heat water for showers and dishes, and leave it turned off the rest of the time. If worse comes to worst, we'll go to the Aquatic Centre for our showers. That would give me a chance to try out my new bathing suit (an early Christmas present) at the pool. Tomorrow, we're heading to Victoria for the day, so we'll be eating out. Thank goodness. No dishes.

Oh. And I found some Jergens self-tanning lotion, and I've started using it, so that by the time we fly to Hawaii in mid-January (Did I mention that?) I will have lost my Canadian fish-belly whiteness and everybody will think I'm an island girl.  (Well, I am, but this island isn't tropical. Not right now, anyway.)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Day Nine - on which Sandra plays hooky in order to celebrate an historic event -

I may, in fact, get my 2,000 words in, but somehow that doesn't seem as important as coming here. I'll come back later and add a postscript with my word count.

 Some of us are old enough to remember the Cold War and the fear that was implanted in us as children. Our bodies remember how to crawl under our school desks to protect ourselves from nuclear attack (Yep). And we remember the symbols of that war. One of the most visible of those symbols was the Berlin Wall, which divided Germany from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989.

All day, I've been hearing reports about celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the wall's fall. I heard that a wall of about a thousand foam dominoes was erected in Berlin today, only to be knocked over by school children. What beautiful symbolism.

I also heard that two days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich walked up to Checkpoint Charlie, took out his Stradivarius cello,  and played this:

As my own celebration, I'm posting Robert Frost's "Mending Wall." After today, I think I'll move it over to the sidebar for a while. Some things really are worth commemorating.

Mending Wall, by Robert Lee Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

Poem - Source:
Photo - Source: Flickr

Here's to the breaking down of barriers, the fall of walls, the reunion of the human family.

p.s. 2,053 tonight, 19,822 total.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Day 8 - and the plot thickens.

Well, no. Not really. Or maybe. I can't tell, because I've lost track, and I'm not supposed to look back.  Forward, ever forward. I may be writing three or four different books.

I drove down to The Vault this afternoon, carrying my new purse/pack, which held my netbook, two reference books, cell phone, camera (just in case), wallet, and water bottle. I think I'm going to like this 'purse'.  I hoped that some other NaNovelists would come in while I was there, but once again I was on my own. I consoled myself by ordering an Americano and pumpkin pie.

I saw the pumpkin pie in The Vault's cooler last week, and ever since then, I've been craving pumpkin pie. I ordered it and started writing. When the proprietor brought me my pie, I thanked him and went back to work. Then I looked over at the pie -

"Do you want whipped cream?" he (the proprietor - not the pie) had asked me.

"Just a little bit, please," I replied.

Well. I guess the amount of whipped cream on the pie was 'a little bit' in relation to the slice of pie, which was the size of  Nebraska, but really, it wasn't all that little. If there had been anyone sitting at the table with me, I would have felt compelled to share my pie, but I was alone. So I ate the whole thing - and now I remember that I had my camera with me. I should have taken a picture. I think I was being Cleo* for the day.

*That requires some explanation.  For a while, when my kids were little, we had a guinea pig, one of those short-haired, tricolour, common-or-garden guinea pigs. His name was Cleo. Cleo was not only a pet, but a four-legged composter. When I made salad or prepared fresh vegetables, I would just chuck the peelings, etc., into Cleo's cage, and he would make short work of them. I think I was being Cleo today, getting rid of the old pie, making way for the new. Not that I'm complaining. It was delicious.


To change the subject - just for a moment - I must tell you a story about Cleo. There came a time when friends of mine were raising guinea pigs, and they decided that their gene pool needed some fresh material, so they asked me to put Cleo out to stud. "Sure," I said. "The poor guy has been all on his own. What a great idea!"  So off he went, poor little celibate Cleo, to spend a halcyon holiday in the midst of my friend's piggy harem. Two weeks later, my friend suggested that perhaps Cleo should come home. Fine. How had it gone? Were there little Cleos on the way?

"Actually," said my friend, "I think they've been playing bridge all this time."  Poor Cleo. He just didn't have a clue.


By the time I left the Vault, I had gained ten pounds (or so I fear), but I had written 2,078 words, bringing my word count to 17,768.  When I got home, I decided I had earned some surfing time, so I was playing online, and I made a couple of great discoveries. First of all, there was this, courtesy of one of the NaNovelists wasting time at Facebook like me. It's a blog called how to write badly well. I love it.

Then I discovered that Bibliofreak is having a Kindle giveaway.  Oooooh. If you've been lusting after a Kindle, you may want to pop over to bibliofreakblog and have a look at the rules and regs.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Day Seven. Time for a bumper sticker that reads:  

I survived one week of NaNoWriMo!

I've found out something surprising, though, in the course of this week. If I go off to work, having maybe written two hundred words (or none, like today), and I'm gone for ten hours or so, and I come back thinking omigod I have to write 2,000 words tonight and I DON'T WANT TO! and I just want to eat and turn on the television and veg out, and I don't - I mean, I do eat, and I may even turn on the television (or the radio, or YouTube) for background noise - but I don't just do that - I also sit down to write - if all that happens, then a couple of hours later, I realize that I have in fact written two thousand words, and I did not die. In fact, there were moments when I forgot about the word count and simply enjoyed the moments. How about that?

Tonight, for example, I came home thinking that I had nothing in me. Nothing at all. I could barely be civil to my husband, and he hadn't done anything wrong. He was just another human being, and I had to speak to him, and that was, at least at that moment, a herculean task. I made small talk for a few minutes, ate some dinner, and then opened my netbook and started to write.  I stopped  a few minutes ago, with 2,234 words added to my count.

It seems I may be able to meet some more NaNoWriters tomorrow at The Vault, if we can agree on a time. I hope that works out. In a write-in situation, I bet I could put 3,000 words on. This is the night when I get to read the Week 2 pep talk in No Plot? No Problem! It's going to warn me that I'm coming to the Slough of Despond for real, this time. Oddly, I feel rather optimistic about this week.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Day 6 - and a fine day was had by all.

Belatedly, my report on Day 5 (the real Day 5).  I tried to do my 2,000 words for yesterday, but I fell asleep after 1,974. That's okay. It's more than I need to have each day. I still don't  know what I wrote, but I did write.

Then came today. Jane and I had a much-needed Girls' Day Out. We drove to Qualicum in the rain and went straight to My Girlfriend's Closet (the consignment shop), source of every article of clothing I own at this point (Yes, that's an exaggeration, but not much of one). We both thought at first that there was nothing in the store that interested us, but then each of us found some pants, and I found a great shoulder bag for traveling (one of those new ones that's shaped sort of like a wine skin and has a wide strap). Then I found a suede jacket, the first one I've ever owned. It's a lovely, fitted one that's soft as  - soft as suede, yeah! And then, and then.....

We left the shop with our huge bags of booty, and went off to lunch. On our way back to the car, we stopped in at a little tea shop we had never visited before, and I added to my considerable tea stash. The lady who runs the shop also teaches the Japanese tea ceremony by appointment. I think we'll be making that appointment before long.

Jane and I were having such a good time, we decided to extend our little holiday by going to Acme Foods in Nanaimo for dinner, it being Frugal Friday. Dinner was delicious, and at half price.

Here it is, now, nearly midnight, and I'm finally here to make my report. Today's word count is 2,028. Total word count: 13,366.

I feel very good about that.  Oh - and I just popped over to Barbara Ettridge's blog, Finding My Voice, and there I found Dr. Wicked's Word Count widget, which I have borrowed for my own sidebar. Pretty cool.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Day 5 and STILL alive -

See? I told you my mind had turned to pudding. All day today I've been chanting "Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

but it wasn't until I went to My Writing Nook this evening to (finally!) do some writing, that I finally noticed that if today is the 5th of November, then it is Day 5. Yesterday was Day 4. Pay no attention to the title of yesterday's post.

And just now I inadvertently posted this entry, long before I had planned to do so. I wanted to come in and say again Whoopee! I've written 2,000 words! but I haven't done that yet. I wrote a couple of hundred this morning before work, and I'm just setting out to do my evening's writing.  Now look what I've gone and done.

So - tomorrow I'll come back and report today's count and tomorrow's count - or I'll come back later and leave a postscript. At this point, I have no idea what I might do.

Meanwhile, the image and verse in this post both came from Wikipedia.

Is there  a full moon, by any chance? Happy Guy Fawkes Day, everybody.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Day 5 - Stayin' Alive.

If you had asked me, a couple of hours ago, I would have said that today was going to be my slack day. I've been trying to do 2,000+ words a day, so that once a week or so, if there's a day when I just can't write, for whatever reason, I'll be able to take the day off without falling behind the pack. Today, I spent the day at the office, learning a new skill, turning my mind to pudding. I had only managed to write a couple of hundred words before I left for work, so I had a long way to go. I slaved over a hot microwave long enough to prepare a sumptuous Weight Watchers dinner (Thai chicken and noodles - quite tasty, actually), then sat down to write.


2,114 words today, 9,364 to date.

I know you can't see me, but I'm taking a deep bow.

Before I came to write this post, I checked my e-mail, and there was a very welcome note from Kat Magendie to cheer me on. Thank you so much, Kat.

So - the dreaded Slack Day has been put off, and I am nearing the 10,000 word mark. I keep thinking that I should print out what I've written and read through it, to make sure I have some idea where the story is going - but it's against the rules. That's going to make for some fun, come December.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Day Three - Whoopee! (and Shazam!)

And now for something completely different.  I've had quite an interesting day.

2,071 words today/ 7,250 words to date

First of all, I went for a walk. That was a good thing altogether, because it gave me time to think. Among other things, I thought about some of the advice I had been reading on the blogs. I think it was Jodi Cleghorn (Writing in Black and White) who was talking about creative head space. That reminded me that one of my best thinking activities (besides walking) is knitting, and somehow I'm just not doing that. Before I even start to write, tomorrow, I shall pull out my bamboo sock needles and start a new pair of socks. I think what has been holding me back is that I was 2/3 of the way through a lovely blue-grey sock in a wool/silk blend, and I can't remember what the pattern was all about - not the basic sock pattern, but the decorative stitch pattern. It has just been too long since I started the project. Either I have to find the tiny notebook on which I wrote down the pattern as I started knitting, or I have to unknit the sock and start again, with some new pattern. I'm hesitant to do that, as I've already turned the heel, and I'm halfway down the foot. It's sort of like having to do a massive rewrite.

And speaking of writing, and thinking, I was also thinking, as I walked, about the problems I was having with Fly Away Home. I figured out, in a flash of insight, that the voice in my head isn't Charlie's (that's the brother I chose to do the narrating) and it isn't even Bridget's. It's Marie's voice I hear. Marie is Bridget's daughter, and she is a woman close to my own age. Her life experiences are different from mine, but I think I understand her. In the weeks leading up to NaNoWriMo, I've been writing Marie's blog, so we've become very close. I wasn't planning on Marie's narrating Bridget's story, because she was only two years old at its end, but suddenly, today, I realized that of course she could tell the story. She could tell the story that her Uncle Charlie has told her - and her Uncle Eddie, and her Aunt Maggie, and her dad  -  because they all knew her mother, and they would all want to pass on the story of Bridget to her daughter.

So I came home and started writing in Marie's voice, and as I wrote, I started to smile, because this was natural; this was right; this was the story as I had been hearing it in my head. Hallelujah!

But I couldn't write for long, because there was a flu clinic being held at one of the local secondary schools, and it started at noon. I grabbed a bit of lunch and drove up to the clinic. I got in line behind several hundred other people. It was cold outside, but fortunately I had thought to wear a sweater under my jacket. The line moved slowly along, and after an hour and a half we got to the place where a spokeswoman for the health unit announced that if we weren't on the list of people who were considered especially vulnerable, we should just go home, because we weren't going to be getting our needles today. Fortunately (?) I have asthma and I'm under 65, so I qualified, but the woman beside me, who had been moving her walker along for that hour and a half, bringing out snacks from time to time and passing them out to all the children within reach, was in her seventies, and thus she was out of luck. She was also really annoyed. Really. Why couldn't they have sent their spokeswoman back to the end of the line to make her speech, thus saving people from the discomfort of standing in line for an hour or two before being rejected? On the bright side, this lady's daughter spent a lot of the waiting time telling me about her mother, about what sort of woman she is, and what life was like for her when she was growing up in Ontario - and the fourteen-year-old grandson of that same woman was making comments like "What if somebody suddenly started shooting? I mean like a sniper." It was altogether an interesting afternoon.

Anyway, I got back into my car two hours after I had got out of it. I had whizzed right through the procedure, once I was indoors, because they had a special line designated "Adults Only" where those of us who didn't have to wrestle recalcitrant children into having needles jabbed into their arms could go right through. It was like the Express Lane at the supermarket, except it actually worked. Shortly after I arrived, I was sent to Table 8, where there sat two nurses. I removed my sweater to expose my arms. The nurses raised their needles, counted 1-2-3 and jabbed me simultaneously. My left arm got the H1N1 jab, and my right arm got the seasonal flu jab (or vice versa - I hope it isn't important that I remember). Wham-bam-thank-you-ma-am. Then I went over to the row of chairs by the wall and sat for a few minutes, to make sure I didn't go all anaphylactic on them. When I got bored with that, I left.

After a stop at the supermarket, I went home, took a couple of Tylenol just in case, made a pot of tea, and sat down to write. I had a small window of opportunity again, because I had made an appointment to meet a young lady at four o'clock. I found her through the NaNoWriMo website. She had said she would be up at the university, in one of their coffee shops, at four - so off I went. I found her. I hope she wasn't too shocked. I knew how old she was, because she had listed her age (22, if I remember correctly) at the site. I'm not sure she expected to meet somebody who could be her grandmother. She was gracious about it, though. We chatted for a few minutes, then had a Word War (a competition to see who could write the most words in ten minutes. I won. Hee.) After that, we just sat and wrote, each of us intent on her own work. I couldn't get on line there, so I wrote in Word, which was just as well. Now that I'm at home, I am having trouble saving my work to My Writing Nook for some reason*, so I've just left it on Word. I had added a few words to yesterday's and Sunday's posts - just chapter titles, mostly - so my count as of this morning was 5,179. That, plus 2,071 today, makes 7,250 words to date.

I am a very happy writer today. I must come back and look at this page when I have another day like yesterday.

*I figured it out. My Writing Nook doesn't like working with stuff that's been typed in Word and then transferred. I can edit my previous work, and it saves just fine, but the stuff that I transferred from Word just keeps bouncing. Hmmmm. I guess I have to choose my poison. (p.s. Or - I've written an e-mail to the site, asking for advice. I hope they can help me resolve this, because otherwise my arithmetic skills are going to be challenged).

p..s.  Woo-hoo! I got a very prompt reply from Peter, the developer of My Writing Nook, who advised me to save my Word (Open Office, actually) document with a .txt extension, rather than whatever it had before, so I did that, then copied it into MWN, and it worked perfectly. Thank you, Peter.

Note: Photo from Google Images

Monday, November 02, 2009

Day Two - Tickety-Boo! (or not)

2,001 words today. 5,009 words total.

I hesitated to post daily NaNoWriMo counts here, because I imagine I'm one of one people in the world that actually care how many words I've written today (or tomorrow or the day after), but I changed my mind. I need a daily kick in the patootie to keep me going. I'm over five thousand words into my WIP - ten per cent of the total - and I have absolutely no idea where I'm going with the story. You would think I hadn't been planning scenes and making index cards and family trees for the last month and more. I'm having trouble getting  twelve-year-old Bridget out of her mother's kitchen, and she has a long way to go. I may have to set fire to the house to pry her loose. I know where and how old I want her to be at the end of the month, but I am at a loss as to how to get her there. Hence the need for a daily kick. If I don't keep writing, I'll never figure out what to do with poor Bridget, and if I don't have to come here and report my progress, I'll soon despair of Bridget and go write a poem.

I thought the Slough of Despond was on next week's itinerary!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Day One, All Done

...and I have written 3,008 words of a completely crappy first draft of Fly Away Home. Never mind. I have seen my internal editor peeking her schoolmarmy head around the corner, and I have given her my best Bronx cheer.

And speaking of cheer, this is what things looked like down at the corner last night, when my batteries were running low - and so were my camera's. It took me until today to realize that that was the reason my photos were coming out so blurry. In the photo above, some of our local goblins are awaiting the arrival of the torchbearer. I may have discovered a new art form.

The lady in the photo on the right is
 awaiting the arrival of the flame so that she can carry it on to the next runner. It appears that the torches are butane-fueled. When the torchbearer arrived, the torch was not passed on, just the flame. I meant to ask whether the torchbearers are allowed to keep their torches as souvenirs. That would be rather special.

So - here comes the flame. I had run back to the house to get fresh batteries, and after all the waiting, I nearly missed the big moment. I actually jogged the last half-block, as my aching hip will attest.
And there it goes.  

I wrote my first thousand words between midnight and 1:00 a.m., then went to bed. Today, I feel as if I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. However, I soldiered on, adding 2,008 words to my Day One production, for a total of 3,008. Now, if I can just do that fifteen times more, I'll be able to skate through the last two weeks of the month. (Yeah, right.)

We both had the day off today, so Robin was here to remind me that I needed some exercise. We went out for our usual walk/bike ride. Then, because it was still sunny but not expected to stay that way, we seized the day by driving down to Chemainus and strolling around. Chemainus is a lovely little town, full of murals, and it was the murals that I wanted to see - but as soon as we arrived, Robin discovered this fellow - who was actually a little startling at first glance.

We took a walk around the town, enjoyed the murals (I particularly like this one) and drove home.

Then I wrote another thousand words or so, to fill my quota. My question is this: If I can write that much today, while still getting some exercise and spending a couple of hours playing tourist on my island, why can't I do it all the time?

Wait! I almost forgot. I wanted to show you my latest writing props, the Hat for Conjuring Stories and the sandara goddess of the written word wig. I have displayed them both on the closest thing I have to a model, just for you. I wore the hat last night. When I hit my first brick wall, I'll put the wig on to get me over it. Who could be anything but brilliant while wearing such bling?
On Your Mark -- Get Set --

I discovered tonight that there is a NaNoWriMo group at Facebook, so I joined it. I've quite enjoyed watching people from various time zones fidget their way to their midnights, then come back to brag about the word counts they've racked up before heading off to bed.  I'm still waiting my turn, getting fidgetier by the moment, changing my POV somewhere in the course of the evening. I think Bridget's little brother Charlie is going to be the narrator. At least, that is how the book will begin. Time will tell whether Charlie works out. I have high hopes for Charlie. He's Bridget's favourite brother. But if he doesn't work out, I'll ruthlessly fire him and choose a new narrator. I can do anything I like, because it's my book.

My new, devil-may-care attitude comes from my having pushed the "Take My Inner Editor" button that Chris Baty kindly provided on page 108 of No Plot? No Problem! Now that I've sent my Inner Editor away for the month, I'm likely to write some outrageous stuff, so I'll apologize now, just in case. The attitude could conceivably leak out into my blog.

Originally, I came here to tell you about what I did this evening. I found out that the Olympic torch was to be carried through my neighbourhood, so I went out to watch it go by. As it turned out, the torch was passed from one runner to another, right at the end of our block. Robin had finished work and joined me in time to watch  the transfer -- because the relay was running way behind schedule. Then we went downtown to see the fireworks, but we ended up sitting at the Fox & Hounds, playing rummy and having a pint while we waited for the fireworks to start. Finally, we drove down near the harbour to see what was happening. It looked as if everybody were leaving. We weren't sure how we had missed the display, but apparently we had, so we gave up and came home. I was sitting here, tweeting, when I heard the fireworks start (at least an hour late). Never mind. I had things to do here.

This is what I wrote at Facebook:

"I have signed the pledge and read the Week One chapter of "No Plot? No Problem". A few minutes ago, I pushed the "Take My Inner Editor" button. Now I am sitting in the living room, wearing blue and white striped pajamas, fuzzy pink slippers, and a stunning black witchy hat with a large purple flower on one side and a black half-veil. I have my cup of tea at my side, playing on i-Tunes. Now all I need is midnight. Fifty minutes to go."

 By the way, the stunning black witchy hat is something I picked up downtown, earlier today. I found Hallowe'en paraphernalia on sale at 70% off its regular price, so I bought the hat (my Conjuring Stories Hat) and a gold ribbon wig (my sandara, goddess of the written word wig). I figure they'll both come in handy in the course of the month, and afterward, my granddaughter will enjoy wearing them for dress-up.

The minutes are clicking by, now. Wilson, Duffy, and Steinbeck have joined me in the living room,  for moral support. Robin keeps asking whether I'm going to fly away on my broom. He really likes this hat.

Ten minutes to go. I've brought My Writing Nook up on the screen.

Five minutes. I've poured a fresh cup of gen mai cha.

It's midnight.......Go!

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