Novel

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For the last few years, I've participated in National Blog Posting Month. Though it's moved to an every-month thing now, it used to be an annual event that took place in November. It was created, I believe, in response to National Novel Writing Month. NaBloPoMo is pretty simple: blog every day. NaNoWriMo is a bit more complicated (but just a bit). The rules are:

  1. Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.

  2. Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people's works).

  3. Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you're writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!

  4. Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.

  5. Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.

  6. Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.

You know where this is going, right? I've been writing. In the last month, I've written more than 50,000 words (though I wouldn't call the result a novel). So, this month, no NaBloPoMo. I'm going in. I'm going to try to write a novel.

I won't be posting it her. I don't have any illusions about it being good. But it's something I've wanted to do for years and thought was beyond me. I know now that it's not.

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Seeing God in other people

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Thumbnail image for goth god.jpgOn Joan of Arcadia, God appears to Joan in the guise of regular people. The people aren't delusions--everyone else can see them as well. It's unclear (to me, at least) whether they are people who exist when God is not speaking through them, or whether they exist only when God needs them as mouthpieces. Either way, though, every conversation Joan has with God is one with another person. My personal favorite God is Goth God (left), followed by Joan's original and probably most common God, Cute Guy God (right).Thumbnail image for cuteguygod.jpg Some of the God are irritating (Old Lady God and Little Kid God both bug me), some you forget as soon as you see them (the episodes are full of one-off Gods as delivery people, cafeteria workers, substitute teachers, etc.). Often, Joan mistakes people who are not God for God, based on what they say to her.

Maybe I'm dense, but I like a metaphor that hits me upside the head. I'm not sure I believe in God (nor am I sure I don't), but it's difficult not to believe in other people, given that they are overtaking the planet like cockroaches. On the show, God mostly gives Joan assignments, most of which are difficult for her to complete. God gives vague advice, rarely answers questions, and is generally kind of a pain in the ass. The non-God people she's surrounded by--her family and her friends--are usually more helpful to her than God, at least in seeing the results of her wacky actions. Yet she gives them none of the acquiescence she gives her many Gods.

Maybe that's the point. Maybe instead of looking for a higher power in a Church or even inside ourselves, we should look around us. I'm going to try to do a better job of listening and watching and paying attention to what other people are telling me. You never know, there might be God in there.

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Don't wait to love

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If you were wondering, this is what a wholly good creature looks like.

If you have one, hug him or her for me today. Leo died this morning.

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Love Thursday: The writer in me

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I love to write. Or, at least, that's part of how I feel about writing. I've been doing it for as long as I can remember--compulsively, methodically, guiltily, and for the past few years, professionally. It's part of whom I am.

Until college, or just about that time, I had ideas of writing fiction professionally. I wrote a lot of stories, a couple of truly terrible immature novels, and quite a few embarrassing poems. And then I stopped. I can't say, exactly, why I stopped writing fiction. I think it was partially because I left home and my real life started to be more interesting to me, so I didn't have to live inside my imagination so much anymore. Partially, it was out of some idea of the type of writing that is serious and responsible--non-fiction. Plus, I spent so much time writing for school in college (Reed wasn't a multiple choice kind of place), it kind of killed my desire to write anything I didn't have to.

After college, I still didn't write much. I wrote emails. I started blogging. Eventually, I started writing professionally--technical writing, grant writing. It's nothing like writing for pleasure, whether you're writing fiction or not. The writing I do for pay is all about making things clear, simple, precise. It's craft, but it's not art. I don't mind doing it--in fact, I take a good deal of pride in a well written technical document--but it's not any sort of creative outlet.

Suddenly, a week or two ago, I started writing fiction again, all at once. Inspiration struck, from an odd place, and I started a story. Now I can't stop. I churn out a couple thousand words a day. I think about my story in the shower and when I am going to sleep. I weigh the pros and cons of what should happen next. I live inside fictional lives again. And I feel like I just picked something up that I dropped over a decade ago and have been missing the whole time. Everything about where I am right now feels wrong, doesn't fit. Writing feels right.

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Living Out Loud 9: Your Theme Music

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Being, as I tend to be, terminally behind, I missed Genie's 9th Living Out Loud project. I meant to do it, but it was due yesterday and I didn't.

However, it's such a good question, and food for such thought, that I'm gonna blog about it anyway.

Genie asked about theme music. What's your theme music? I've answered this before, at various times and in various ways. Lots of songs about being too far from home, about loneliness and living in your head. Not unexpected, probably, for anybody who knows me or who has read here for very long. When I try to think of one single song, though, to play in the background of my entire life, the one I come up with isn't about either of those things. It's strangely more positive.

Boats to Build
It's time for a change
I'm tired of that same ol' same
The same ol' words the same ol' lines
The same ol' tricks and the same ol' rhymes

Days precious days
Roll in and out like waves
I got boards to bend I got planks to nail
I got charts to make I got seas to sail

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It'll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Sails are just like wings
The wind can make 'em sing
Songs of life songs of hope
Songs to keep your dreams afloat

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It'll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Shores distant shores
They're where I'm headed for
Got the stars to guide my way
Sail into the light of day

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Where do the batteries go?

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dog toy?
Seen yesterday while browsing dog toys.

I don't think my dogs are old enough for that kind of toy.

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