October First

NaNoWriMocHArt

Since tomorrow is October first, two important things will happen:

  1. In order to better traumatize the neighborhood children, Dylan will change out our boring, ordinary porch light bulbs for spooky purple ones.
  2. I’ll start outlining my seventh (!) NaNoWriMo novel.

(I think we are equally excited.)

My mother is the one who introduced me to National Novel Writing Month, so she’s the one to blame for the past six Novembers. Six years of frantic typing, meandering plots, poorly-designed covers, and antagonists who randomly disappear halfway through the novel have not yet (if you can possibly believe it) resulted in a polished, complex story that’s ripe for publication.

Here are some things that I have achieved over the course of six National Novel Writing Months:

  1. 302,954 words
  2. Two finished novels and four semi-coherent “things” that resemble stories
  3. Carpal tunnel
  4. Several classes of students who, while incredulous at first, end up finishing the competition and finding themselves remarkably proud of what they’ve accomplished
  5. Countless grey hairs (the kind that make me look like a witch rather than an elegant, dignified author)

But hey. Witches are kinda cool. And at least I’ll have the spooky purple light bulbs to match.

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Everything Else Will Remain the Same

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There is snot on my keyboard.

It’s not my snot. It’s imperative that you know that. There are many things that the snot is (for example, green, sticky, and copious), but I’m more concerned about what it is not. (Mine.)

See, my tiny, precious son has a cold that is neither tiny nor precious, and out of all of the places in the world he could have chosen to sneeze, he settled on my keyboard. This is possibly a sign of love, but more likely a sign that autumn is upon us.

I live for fall. I love everything about it — the juxtaposition of the changing leaves against a pre-storm sky, the tacky Halloween decorations on my neighbor’s lawn, the sweaters and fruit pies and rotting leaves underfoot. Most of all, I love the overwhelmingly insistent urge to write that needles under my skin each September. There’s just something about chapped cheeks and nutmeg that begs for stories.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written. I’ve lost touch with my online writing community and my half-finished novels have lost the will to become something worthwhile. But still — there’s a pumpkin on my porch and a story lying in wait beneath the rubble of real life. The seasons will keep changing, but everything else will remain the same.

There’s snot on my keyboard. It’s time to write.

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