What writing can do for you, too much to read, and a nano-sized delay

Last things first. My work plus work I’m doing outside of work plus Thanksgiving came up and bit my NaNoWriMo novel write on the neck, at which point it bled out, died, came back to life, saw the blood, passed out, woke up, ran away, and has been hiding in a cave somewhere in Fort Greene ever since. So I’m working on coaxing it out of there with candy, pens, and blank notebooks scattered around the park. I’ve convinced myself that the 50k word limit is an excellent goal for the end of the year, and I swear on my life that a coffee-induced December will be the extremely writerly-productive.

Quickly now, before you realize I’m writing this instead of doing 2,000 other things on my list: I’ve officially hit a limit on book purchases. With the additions of Margaret Atwood and Milan Kundera (as recommended by this Power of the Introverts TED Talk) and two Bukowski’s, my 4 book shelves are full. There’s just no more room. I did a count, and at 3 books per month (already asking too much for me) I’ll have them all read in about 4 years. So I’m going to be saving money on books for a while. I would say my eyes are bigger than my stomach, or brain, but neither really makes sense, because you don’t really eat books (not raw, anyway), and because that doctor in Synecdoche, New York said the eyes are part of the brain, even though it just doesn’t seem right, or accurate.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! The holidays are a good and strange time. You take a step back and think about last years and forever ago’s Thanksgivings. You get some perspective on where you’ve been and where you are going. It’s not too different from writing. Writing gives you a fresh perspective, a chance to see things in many different lights. You notice little things and see if they fit in somewhere else, or if someone’s minute body language has broader implications, or if, just maybe, this is the setting where the aliens can make their plausible entrance into your story.

Bird By Bird and writing prompts everywhere encourage writers to dive into their past and figure out what went on. This weekend I remembered a story from when I was 6, at the grocery store. I wanted gum from the mass of candy at the cash register. My parents said no, put it back. I put it in my pocket. BOOM. Master Jewel Thief, in training. We got home and I ate most of a pack of Bubblicious in about 20 minutes, secretly, guiltily, alone in the basement. Later my parents asked where I got that (probably gigantic wad of) gum, and I was toast. They took me back to the store, where I had to apologize in person to the manager and pay him back. It was terrifying, but I was pretty good after that, I think. Unless there’s more to unearth somewhere. We’ll have to see.

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