Did you know it’s NaNoWriMo this month too? That would be National Novel Writing Month. I had no intention of participating as I haven’t written a word of fiction in seven years. Even though it was my focus for my thesis and it was my undergrad focus…I just could not write without the pressure of a grade or a workshop. I mean, my life is pretty much defined by non-fiction now and I’m not into creating my own escapism. Reading it or watching it, sure, but not writing it.
On my birthday I met with my dear friends Martin and Renee who I had been in the writing program with in college. We hadn’t seen each other in ten years although we had communicated via email, Christmas cards and eventually facebook. My birthday seemed to be as good a time as any to meet up and share some Chinese buffet and catch up in person and boy, was there a lot of catching up to do. We talked and decided we all wanted to be writing (only Martin was still an extremely active writer) and that accountability was good for all of us. We made a pact that starting in January we would aim for meeting about once a month for a couple of hours and swap stories, chapters, poems, essays, whatever we had written. I got Jeff’s enthusiastic blessing and we are going to start meeting sometime in January. Martin and Renee left me with a bag of gifts including a monogrammed journal and a mug (which has already seen many a cup o’ tea).
Until this last week, the journal had sat on my dresser mocking me. “You can’t write fiction anymore…” Renee’s inscription had indicated her hope that the next great American novel would be written on its pages. Frustration was compounded by a sentence that would not go away. Finally, this crazy week, I found an hour and grabbed the journal and a pen. I wrote the sentence and the words just kept going. Here I am, not an official participant of NaNoWriMo and I’m writing a novel. No joke. I’m way behind the word count requirement, but I don’t care, I feel better than I have in a long time and hope my inspiration sticks.
I want to thank my friend Susan Crispell, who was also in my writing program and is participating in NaNoWriMo for cluing me in, my husband Jeff for being so supportive, my professors Bekki, Lavonne, Sarah, Tim, and Clyde who have been inspirational in everyway and encouraging even when my writing was terrible, those three little people, Shelby, Joseph, and William who have allowed Mama some time to write again, to Meghan Barnes for just being an amazing writer and enthusiastic cheerleader and a fellow lover of the Oxford Comma, to Hallie for telling me she wanted my book to be “in the works” (even though this wasn’t the book either she or I thought might be the first or next! I’m gonna write one for ya Hallie!), and to Martin and Renee who never stopped believing in me. You guys rock! I couldn’t have done this without you!