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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Facing the Page



One thing about blogging: as insulated and singular as it feels, as the words go down on the screen, my window is open to the world. I can hear the traffic. Beyond the real voices of my neighbors outside, the basketball bouncing on the pavement, a dog barking – there’s the clamor of the Internet, ever present, a connection I’ve chosen to make, subject to the inquiry and surveillance of anyone out there who happens by.



And with that comes my own curiosity – a prevailing need to know, an intense desire to grasp something new every day. No matter how mundane my topic, knowing someone out there is searching and possibly finding this makes the pursuit all the more interesting. Say I were writing about something as boring as changing a light bulb, and here you are, on the same page with me -- I have the obligation, would I not, of knowing something about light bulb-changing, and advising you, perhaps, that you could save money on your electric bill (approximately how much TBD with a quick Google search) if you changed your conventional incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs, or better yet, LED fixtures. And let’s say, you were searching for more than straightforward information. As the writer in charge, I would want to add color or humor or something of value to further illuminate the topic for you-- or poof, you’d turn off the light and be gone.



But I digress. The lighting in your home is your business. My business is facing the page.


I’ve been blogging (and not calling it writing) for a number of weeks now. As I mentioned in a previous post, I started the blog at the encouragement of my friend, Ann. ( see Fact or Fiction ).The other day, Ann upped the ante on this “writing thing” in a post on her blog, Lake E Writer. http://lakeewriter.blogspot.com


Go… she suggests, or casually just drop in – to a website called NaNoWriMo – NaNo what? (Sounds like a respiratory disorder when you say it fast. Stands for National Novel Writing Month. http://www.nanowrimo.org


NaNoWriMo is a community, a non-profit org that fosters writing and writers. Judging from the cheery demeanor of the site, they sponsor all sorts of literary merriment and madness. Joining them involves a commitment to write a novel – in a minimum of 50,000 words – in 30 days in the month of November.



“I’m in, I so want to go there,” says Ann. “Anyone else? Come on, jump in, it’ll be fun”.



50,000 words in 30 days. I do the math, 1667 words a day. Not counting Thanksgiving, ‘cuz I’m already committed to the turkey, not to mention the stuffing. 50,000 words is a short novel, or a long short story -- or more realistically only the start of real work. No one at NaNoWriMo seems to care about the weight of your words, but they’re happy to count them for you, with little goal posts along the way, like a Walkathon or a Blood Drive. There’s no winner for the fastest, the smartest, or longest 50,000 words submitted. The prize is what do you think: a novel? As best as you can write one of your own.



But I’m a No-NoWriMo, I write back to Ann. My engine doesn’t run like that, I reply in my comment on her blog, noting that’s I’m using a panicky tone and exclamatory punctuation. The lady doth protest.



Next morning, I’m still thinking about the 50,000 words. I’m intrigued. I don’t have a story. But I have an image – perhaps the glimmer of a character that I can’t get out of my head. And perhaps that’s all I need to start. No one’s saying the writing has to be polished, everyone understands it can be 50,000 words of scraps and pieces, sketches, crapped out however it comes. “If you think it’s a novel, then it’s a novel,” the helpful NaNoWhammy people like to say. Righty-right,write. The challenge then is to go down that road, dig through the tunnel, and get to the other side. 50,000 words in 30 days, give or take the Thanksgiving turkey.


Am I talking myself into this madness? If you’re reading this and believe in fairies, clap! And I’ll hear you. And perhaps I'll believe in my own fiction, as well.


So Ann, I’m not quite ready to say with full heart and absolute certainty that I’m in, but hey, you got me thinking, and that’s a helluva start.


Dang this blogging thing anyway!


Oh yeah, and in the words of the NaNoWrito people . . . let me just add, if I were a song, I’d be a Beatles song,

Obladi Oblada, life goes on, bra!

Lala! How the life goes on


(As always, thanks for dropping by)

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