Friday, November 30

Sparks, Nevada Random thoughts for a random day:

  • Not only had my bags marked for the special x-ray (again--happened last time I was in New York), but that also means I got an up-close and personal search when I boarded the plane, complete with hand metal-detector wand search and a complete unloading of my carry-on bag. I am just too lucky.
  • So far, so good in the staying up late. I'd love to make it to 5 a.m., but I think I need to call it quits. I've already lost a bit (I won't say how much) at black jack, but I will say the table kept me occupied for a good three hours. I figure when you factor in the free beers, I'm doing okay.
  • My favorite sight tonight: the woman at the open mic night at the Great Basin Brewery who was holding a book entitled Step by Step to Stand-up Comedy. Unfortunately, the folks before her were too painful (or too bitter) to listen to.
  • So much great story material here. I'll have to work on it.
  • How is it no substantial work is supposed to be getting done in the office, but i have over 200 e-mail messages in just over 36 hours. Pisses me off.
  • Speaking of pisses me off, I'm so sure I psyched Adam out when I claimed I wasn't feeling well and could we postpone our b-day celebration for him (since I will be gift wrapping in Fernley on his actual birthday of Dec. 8). I needed a way to get him to Ballard without suspecting. Yet, when we pulled into Le Gourmand, he said he knew where we had been heading. Between that and the present incident (he said three days before we were celebrating his birthday "you know, I think at one time I would have said I wanted a robe, but I really don't think I do," when I, of course, had been listening to what he had said, and had bought him a robe a month before that was hiding under our bed), I think I'm ready to wash my hands of his birthday (see what you get, Adam, for being a wise-ass?).
  • I have the humidifier going, my personal soothing sounds alarm clock set up, all my food out and pretty, and still, I'm ready to be home. What will it be like when I start work tomorrow night?

Okay, can't keep the eyes open any longer. Good night.

Wednesday, November 28

I feel somewhat at a loss now that we come home and I don't have to run to my novel. I'm not yet ready to start the slicing and dicing on it, and I certainly don't have the energy to start anything new.

Last marriage class tonight. I'll miss going--it was a lot of fun. And now, now I have Fernley to look forward to. Oh, joy. Fernley. I cannot contain the excitement,

Tuesday, November 27

I'm having a hard time dragging myself off to bed. I want to revel in my 50,000 wordness.
I'm doin' a jig, I'm doin' a jig. Because 50,565 is such a wonderful place to be. So what if there are massive gaps, huge plot problems, and disappearing characters? I have a beginning. I have a very long and dragged out middle. And--surprise!--there is an end. An actual end. My novel is done.

And I have no idea what the hell I am going to do with all this free time I will suddenly have. Maybe I should start another...?
It's my bed time. 10 p.m. And I've had too much red wine. BUT I CAN'T QUIT NOW! I don't care if don't go to bed, I'm about to kill off my protagonist's love interest and I have just a mere 865 words to go!! No sleep for the novelists!! I feel like I need to run around the block or something to work off this energy. I'm feeling very sad about killing off this love interest. I've grown rather fond of him. As I told Adam, if it weren't for the fact that this character is going to die, I might consider leaving Adam for him.

Monday, November 26

Home stretch territory. My spelling and grammar have become atrocious. I can't remember even the simplest words until I see Word correcting them for me. At this points, it appears only Maria, from writing group, and I are the only ones in running to finish this thing. Spent this morning shopping (two pairs of comfy Fernley shoes, plus some holiday presents for my friends) and this afternoon and evening writing, writing, writing. Word count: 45,935. The end is in sight (although Adam just pointed out to me that I originally wrote "site," which just proves my point about the spelling. When you are writing for speed, nothing counts but the number of words on the page).

Sunday, November 25

Oh did you see that? That was my "I hit 40,000" dance. Do-do-do, I'm dancing, I'm dancing. Actually, I'm at 40,907 and I'm calling it a night. Tomorrow, I plan to buy sensible shoes for Fernley and to hit at least 45,000. I can do this. Oh, yes I can. Now, to go back to my dancing. Good night!
Everyone in my novel shrugs too much. She shrugged, he shrugged, and for a change, he grinned and shrugged. These people must have amazing shoulder muscles.
Time to resort to the Maker's Mark. I'm getting there, by God, I'm getting there. I survived a great Thanksgiving (14 guests), with surreptious trips to the computer. I toiled all of last night. I have been at this computer for the entire day, except for one series of frantic chuppah-related conversations with my family and a trip to the gym to help this nervous energy. I am still going. At this moment, I am at 38,620. I hate my novel. I hate my main character. I hate the cliched and tedious story line. I hate the fact that my narrator and about 12 characters disappeared about 12,000 words ago, and I'm not sure where they are at the moment. I know the motto was "no plot no problem," but I was better than that. I was supposed to be writing brilliantly, with insightful characters, humorous situations, and just the wittiest dialogue this side of Dorothy Parker, but all I am producing are merely words on a page! I almost found myself cutting three extraneous words, and I thought, what the hell am I doing! So I added three more extraneous words. Oh the agony of nanowrimo. Only five more days after today.

P.S. Check out the particularly biting article on nanowrimo in the Seattle Weekly. It wouldn't be a Weekly article without an dig. As Adam said, they probably get paid more per slight. This time, however, it's more annoying, as the only Amazonians he most likely met (other than himself, as he admitted to being a former freelancer for toys or kitchen or something) were those of us at the kickoff night. Screw him and his pathetic word count.

Thursday, November 22

I'm not out of this yet: 30,352. And a pie, a cake, and three kinds of cranberry sauce. Not too shabby a day. Tomorrow, though, I will go to the gym, cook a turkey, and plow through my word count.

Monday, November 19

I'm behind on the novel, but I've at least passed the halfway point: 27,090 words. I'm still not sure where it's all going, but it's still going. Embracing the "quanity not quality" has really helped me get the words down, but I know what a mess it is. Tenses are changing mid-paragraph, the narrator keeps showing up and then disappearing, there are scenes with great big holes in them. If toward the end I'm low on words, there are a lot of places I could go back and add descriptions and scenes that I've ignored for now, because I didn't feel like writing them. My cold is pretty much over, which is making it much easier to get to this. I find the Walkman with the Israeli music really helps me set my scene.

Now that the main rush for holiday is done at work, I can start to close projects out and begin learning things in my new position. I'm quite excited to be starting something new, and while it may only be mid-November, the beginning of January feels incredibly close, and there's so much I'd like to get done before I move on. If I had any doubts about changing positions, that's over now that so many folks are leaving work. I was really shocked by Friday's announcement, but I guess I shouldn't have been. I think everyone was surprised at first, but when they thought about it for a little bit, it made perfect sense. But with so much of the original team going (even if they were in other departments, they were still there), there's little left to stay for. I'm appreciative that he got me out of my old job before moving on. Everyone seems to hit their five year anniversary and then pack their bags. Actually, more and more folks aren't even making it to their five-year point. So few people left remember the Columbia building. The majority of folks left never even worked there, never had to share a cubicle or have any idea what a bunk-desk is. They don't remember the strange smells on the mezzanine or the old printed phone list with everyone's home numbers. Now it's all blue shirts and khaki pants and modern offices.

Speaking of blue shirts and khaki pants (and my new career), Adam and I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday (yes, I will shop there) and I picked up Why We Buy, a book on "the science of shopping." I made Adam walk in front of me in case I saw anyone I knew--I didn't want to be seen in the business section, nevermind picking up books such as The Portable Marketing MBA. Anyway, I'm really enjoying it--a fast read. Lots of this stuff is plain old common sense that I had never even thought about. It's giving me ideas for my next novel... (As if. After this one, I may never write again!)

Friday, November 16

Being sick is not condusive to writing a novel. Now I'm way behind. Haven't written for two days. Probably won't write tomorrow either, given my schedule. It's gonna be a major writing weekend.

Wednesday, November 14

This is what passes for intellectual conversation this days (via I.M.):

medros: mmmmmm--- KRISPY KREME...
jbrown68: what?? i thought you weren't a fan of krispy kreme.
medros: I'm a fan of all donuts
were it set up like the pepsi challenge, I would choose dunkin donuts over krispy kreme and 4 out of 5 dentists would agree
but in this oasis of donuts, I will eat krispy kreme

Tuesday, November 13

Word count: 20,809. It's difficult not to go back and edit. I've thought of things I want to add in from previous days, but then I realize that's just inviting editing, and that won't get me to 50,000 words. Must just keep plowing forward and save additions and rewrites for later.

Monday, November 12

All of the news sites are down--I imagine everyone is trying to download articles about this morning's plane crash in Queens. The fact that it happened on take-off makes me really think it was just mechanical--not the "just mechanical" is any kind of relief to anyone, specifically those in the plane and in the houses the plane hit. Things felt scary enough before--but now, now you could just be sitting in your house, having breakfast, and a plane could come nosediving toward you. American Airlines is truly going to be having a hard time now. In a way, it will be worse if it's mechanical--you can increase airport security all you want, but if something is going to fail on the plane when it's mid-air, there's not a whole lot you can do about it. I'm personally feeling very freaked out about the idea of getting on a plane in two weeks to go to Fernely. More than that, I'm really uncomfortable leaving home for two weeks when so much seems to be going on.
Word count: 18,525. I was hoping to be a little farther ahead, but that's okay. Spent too much time this weekend working on work, which made me not want to sit in front of the computer anymore and write. Our Saturday dates at Zoka's to write, though, are a tremendous help, forcing me to churn out words when I would normally not feel like it and therefore not be bothered.

Went tonight to watch Adam play hockey. I had no idea what was going on. Half the time I finally caught sight of the puck, and then, whoops, there it goes and I have no idea where except there is a mass of bodies shooting in a whole new directions. I could barely even recognize Adam, buried as he was under all that gear. At first, I couldn't figure out which one was him from the front (his number was on the back) until someone else pointed out that the other short guy in the black shirt had on red sweats. Duh. This is the first, and most likely last, game of his I've seen. The other games are all at 11 p.m. on weeknights, way far away. This one was way faraway too, except that for a 6 p.m. game, I can make it. Unfortunately, they lost to the Geoducks (and if you can't say that name properly, then don't even try), 2-8.

Sunday, November 11

Word count: 17,287. And do you know why? Because I rock. That's why.

Friday, November 9

Oh, yeah, baby! I have not only caught up, but I am now ahead, which is good, as I'll have to stop two days early to go to Nevada to work the lovely graveyard shift maniacally wrapping gifts like some psychotic elf on speed. Got 2,818 words done today, which brings my word count 14,385. I'm still not sure how this story will end up, although it's flowing much better now that I've placed it on the kibbutz, and I'm actually enjoying myself. To help me set the mood, I have a photo of my kibbutz sitting underneath my computer screen, and I'm now writing with my Walkman on, listening to the tapes of pub music I made while I was there. And while the novel is settling in, it's making me miss travel. But who knows--maybe someday Adam and I will make aliyah. I can still ask in Hebrew where the bus is or for someone to hand me the milk. That should be good enough, lo?

Thursday, November 8

The problem with churning out so many words at home is it's making it impossible to churn them out at work. Thank goodness I won't have to anymore after December 31! Ah, back to homepages...
Joy! I've caught up! Made up for the trashed day and the skipped day. Well, okay, I'm supposed to be at 11,662 and I'm at 11,567, but that's friggin' close enough! Yeah! My novel has lots of digressions, and a few out-and-out rambles, but it's got a progression to it. Fewer than 40,000 words to go. I can so do this.

Tricks I'm using. Be verbose: similar vs. not dissimilar. Same idea, twice the words! Contractions? A thing of the past!
Oh, it gets even worse. In my novel, my character is reminded of "If You Had Wings." I, of course, start singing the song. Adam looks at me blankly, and I ask, "You do know what that is, don't you?" "Uh, a TV show?" he asks, in his "duh" voice. Doesn't know what If You Had Wings Is. I used to love "If You Had Wings." You didn't need a ticket for it, so you could ride it as many times as you wanted (which was a lot, but only if Peter and Carol had the patience for it, for by the time I was old enough to go to Disney World without them, the ride was long closed). He also has no recollection of GE's Carousel of Progress:

Well, looks like the robins are getting ready to celebrate Valentines day today. What year is it? Oh, right around the turn of the century. And things couldn't be any better than they are today. Yes sir, buildings are towering now as high as twenty stories. And moving pictures flicker up on a big screen. We have almost 8,000 automobiles in this country and we can travel by train from New York to California in less than seven days! And I even hear tell of two brothers from North Carolina who are working on some kind of flying contraption. [He chuckles to himself.] It'll never work. Closer to home, we've now got gas lamps, telephone and the latest design in cast iron stoves. And that reservoir keeps 5 gallons of water hot all day on just 3 buckets of coal. Oh boy, it sure beats chopping wood. And isn't our new icebox a beauty? Look at that! Holds 50 pounds of ice.

Everyone now, "Now is the time, now is the time, now is the best time of our lives."

Wednesday, November 7

Word count: 7,560. Still way, way behind. But, I'm making progess. I'm counting on tomorrow night to make up for a lot of lost time. My novel is definitely a novel about life on the kibbutz, but I haven't quite figured out where it's going. Maybe she has a romance? Maybe not. I have no idea. This is a lot tougher than I had thought it would be. The main character is me, but it's completely not me at the same time. I think there's mostly me in the omniscient first-person narrator. My main character (the third person one) is experiencing things much differently than I did. Basically what I'm doing is using my old diary as a frame for events, and then having my character react to them in her own way. And since I don't yet know her very well, it's hard to say what she's going to end up doing.

Tuesday, November 6

Word count: 6,255, which means I'm almost 4,000 words behind. I'm counting on this weekend to do some serious catching up. It's my own fault. Last night I was exhausted and couldn't force myself to write. This morning, I churned some out after the gym, but there's so much more to do, and we have our Aleph-Bets class tonight. I may just have to stay up late, to get at least 2,000 more words done. Tomorrow night I have no plans except to write, so that's what I shall do.

Monday, November 5

Day 5 of Nanowrimo. If I'm to keep on target (for a Nov. 30 end date, not even the Nov. 28 end date I need to finish before I leave for Fernley), I need to write about 3,000 words today. Currently I'm at 5,357. I've changed the focus pretty dramatically, making the main part of the story third person, although there's a first-person narrator. You can tell I'm rereading Kundera. I've decided to write about the trip to Israel after all, but it will be more fiction after all, as I'm making it happen in today's environment, and my character is beginning to drift away from who I am. Writing in the cafe on Saturday morning was actually a huge help. Changing environments was good, and having the support of others made me sit at the laptop (my work one) longer than I normally would have. Mary, Eugene, Simon, and Betsy showed up, so with Adam, myself, and a friend of Eugene, we had a pretty good-sized group there. One woman came up to us and asked if we were a writing group. She'd never seen so many laptops going at once. We must have looked pretty silly, but it did the trick.

Saw Monsters, Inc. on Saturday night. I'm hooked. Can't wait to see the extras on that DVD.

Work will be difficult to concentrate on today--I've got my character running through my mind. Must get a lot done so I can get home on the early side and pump out those (gasp) 3,000 words. As if.

Saturday, November 3

I'm going backwards! I had inspiration this morning on my run, and realized that the structure I had thought I'd do on my novel was not sustainable, so I've switched tracks. So now I'm down to 1,639 words, but I've got this weekend to up my numbers. I'm much more excited about my new ideas, which will make it much easier to drag myself to the computer to write them.

Friday, November 2

Word count: 2,659. How much of it makes sense? Ah, who cares? I only need to hit 50,000. "No plot? No problem."
Adam doesn't know who Rhoda Morgenstern is. I'm horrified.

Thursday, November 1

Nanowrimo word count: 1706

Went to see the opera Rusalka last night. A Czech opera based on a number of fairy tales, most recognizably "The Little Mermaid." A new thing at the opera. The lights went down and we waited for the overture. But then the lights came up and the orchestra started to play "The Star Spangled Banner." Everyone, of course, rose and sang. Then the lights went down and the overture began. Slightly surreal. Wonder if they'll continue to do that. Anyway, I toyed with the idea of using the plot for my novel, but really, I'm writing about myself. Although, I could work it in there. The opera was beautiful, and I enjoyed it (well, except for maybe that part in the second act where I fell asleep, but really, it was more about my being tired than about the opera). At first, I was feeling incredibly tense and aggravated about work, but slowly I was able to sink in and watch. The set design was spectacular, and they created a lake on stage that truly looked like it was filled with water, when it had to have been no more than plastic and lighting. Dinner at Racha first and then Mentos during the show. Opera is the only time I ever eat Mentos--it would never occur to me otherwise, but it's become somewhat of a ritual since Andy started buying them years ago. We figured out last night that this is the fifth year Andy and I have subscribed to the opera. Doesn't seem that long. Looking over a list of past operas, we both agree that we have little memory of the ones we enjoyed, but the ones we despised really stand out. Florencia of the Amazon was painful, inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose writing I adore. Wagner I despire. Long, boring. But the ones I enjoyed--the lighter Mozart pieces, Lakme, Faust--I have a hard time remembering the story lines. I can only remember bits and pieces of the scenery.