Posts Tagged ‘National Novel Writing Month’

And Then There Was This Little Thing

October 25, 2013

Called writing.

Man.

It just keeps coming back and I keep checking in with it and yup, fuck me, I am still a writer.  I didn’t suddenly become a tax accountant overnight, or a lawyer, or a pediatrician.

Ha.

A grateful writer, a, shall I be generous with myself, a prolific writer.

Shall I be honest?

A decent writer.

Maybe good at times, in moments, there are places and spaces I shine.

I have gone back and reread something and thought, you know, that’s not too bad.

And I am not looking for a compliment, nope, I am just thinking out loud here as I got a chance to write two other times today, yup, getting into the practise of when that will be a regular occurence with me, writing three times  a day–the morning pages in the morning, the new novel in the late afternoon, the blog when the day is through.

A habit I established in Paris, but I was not working full-time hours and making the time seemed crucial and death-defying and terrifying, like, listen here, bitch, you came all this way to sit in cafes and write, you better do it now.

NOW.

Scary, putting that kind of pressure on myself.

Oh, a little delicious too when I think that I basically gave myself a six month experience and now have a fodder of journals and notebooks, notecards, postcards, and letters to refer to, not to mention thousands of photographs, to look back on to pull from to write my next novel.

The days are ticking down and I am really going to give it my all to write this novel.

Fiction.

I still cannot believe that I am going to be writing fiction.

I think it will actually be really good practise for me as I plan on revising my memoir so that it reads more fiction and less me, I haven’t thought of that character as me in so long that what I need to do is separate myself even further from it and let it all out.

Not be afraid to get really crazy with it.

The really crazy is right there for me to run with.

I await my friends edits and look forward to re-working it.

And of course, doing this new piece.

Which, uh, sigh, I have decided to write on my lap top.

I will be hauling this baby around with me to do the work.

After more research on the nano.wrimo website (which, fyi, is shite, really people it is not a comprehensively useful tool for me, I have already spent too much time trying to navigate through it, redesign that sucker, please) I need to be able to upload the work to their site.

Not that I couldn’t take the damn challenge and just write it in a notebook.

But when playing baseball you don’t use a softball, I am going to try to use the site the way it was, poorly, designed and upload my novel from my computer to the website.

I will be better able to track my word count and that seems to be a big part of the challenge.

I have already had the thoughts, which I know better than to believe, that I won’t have enough words.

Jesus fuck.

I have the words.

Whether or not they are great words is not even debatable.

They won’t be great words.

The book will be a rough draft, not a polished, edited, publishable piece.

The point will be to sit down and do the writing, which, when it is boiled down to it, is the most challenging thing.

I keep going back to this idea that I heard from an old room-mate who was a musician that a master musician is not necessarily the person with the most talent, but the person who has put in the most time on their instrument.

He said that it was generally acknowledged a master was someone who had spent about 50,000 hours with their instrument.

Now, I don’t know exactly how many hours I have spent writing over my life time, but I can say, that I have written daily now for five years.

Twice daily now for four years.

That is nothing to sneeze at.

I keep doing this and eventually something masterful will come out from it.

Like it already has, the experience, the joy, just the great leaping unknown of sitting down in front of the blank screen and wondering what am I doing here again and what am I going to say and then, there it is.

In no particular order.

In no particular way.

Love.

Writing.

Life.

Me.

Words that define me, outline, enliven me, connect me with my humanity and desire to be a better person in this world, to live a better life, to be remarkable, remarkably me.

I sound like a god damn pansy ass, but fuck you, I don’t care.

The marvellous life that I have been granted just because I consistently set aside time for myself to put pen to paper or words to screen, I cannot deny myself that.

You don’t have to read this.

Although you might miss out when I talk about sex.

Ha.

Now, when I am sitting here writing, I am not also forgetting that there is other life to be lived, I mean, I got to get back into that water, I have the wet suit, I do.

Booties soon, by the weekend I believe, I will be running back over to Sports Basement, they were having a sale and fingers crossed, the booties will still be there in my size.

After that, more surfing please.

That’s the other great thing about doing the writing, any time I think, nah, let’s just watch a video, there’s a little voice in my head, sometimes in my gut, and often in my heart that says, yeah, that could be nice, but what are you going to write about then?

Sometimes it happens anyhow, but I do strive to do things and go places, partially, I completely admit, to have fodder for the word machine.

So too, do I read.

Then, too, it is such a pleasure.

I found myself actually turning in early last night.

I took a long, hot shower, did the hair, my god it was big this morning, going to bed with even a little damp hair can be risky, and got underneath the comforter with a book.

Unfortunately it was ass, but it was a gift and I wanted to give it a go.

I read through a few pages and blew a raspberry at it, I put it down and picked up the Eugenides I am also currently reading.

Read and write and work and write and sleep and write.

And get laid.

Please God.

And get a boyfriend and go surfing.

Do that recovery thing, but that’s second nature, don’t even have to think about scheduling that, it’s sort of like brushing my teeth, just do it every day.

And then read and write.

And write some more.

Go buy another notebook, fix the fan on your laptop and gird the loins.

November Novel Writing Month I will see you next week.

It’s Getting Busy In Here

October 22, 2013

I would like to say “up in here,” however that would slant my meaning a little the sassy way and that is not what I meant.

Not that I am opposed to it, mind you.

No, what I mean is that the next few weeks just got booked solid with work.

One of the dad’s picked up a contract that will go through the month of November and probably through the middle of December.

Add on to that there will be a work retreat for the two moms in the second week of November.

I am working a lot.

This is good.

Off set that wetsuit cost.

Pay some student loans.

Stick some money in savings.

Buy a plane ticket somewhere warm for the winter.

I am just thinking out loud here, but there are some folks I would like to see and one of the families will be in Puerto Rico for a week in January and I thought, hmmm, I have an anniversary of mine to celebrate maybe I will go somewhere that month to celebrate.

Maybe.

Just things on the horizon.

I am also filled with story thoughts.

November is the next week!

The first of the month is Friday and that will begin my month-long adventure in novel-writing.  Which just happens to coincide with the busiest work that I have had on my plate in a while and the Mike Doughty concert on November 6th.

That week is going to be off the wall.

That is the same week as the retreat.

I shall, however, have extra scratch should I want to get some swag at the concert.

I used to not think much about grabbing t-shirts and such at shows, but there have been a few times that I wished I had.

The Jeff Buckley show I saw at the Barrymore in Madison.

Soul Coughing in Milwaukee.

The J. Davis Trio out of Chicago, their show especially when they were promoting the New Number Two, definitely would have liked some merch from that.

Goldfrapp at the Fillmore.

There’s a few more shows, I have a set list somewhere from a Pete Yorn show I saw before he broke out, again in Madison, and I certainly have plenty of memories about shows.

The show were Michael Franti pulled me from the floor up onto stage and sang and danced a song with his big lanky, sweaty, body draped over me.

Being behind the booth with Donald Glaude New Years 2003, San Francisco.

Yup.

There’s some good times in there.

I am looking forward to seeing Doughty.

I have seen him once solo, at a Cafe Montmartre in Madison, which was sweet and very intimate, despite friends who were there shrooming their brains out who kept professing their love for him.

Yeah, it will be a busy week.

It will be a busy month.

The novel idea is a great idea and I did find the time in my schedule, the dribs and drabs of the hours that will come to mean so much to me as I attempt to cram one more thing into my schedule.

Because I am going to try to grab some hours devoted to working on my other book as well.

I will write the novel long hand.

I have been back and forth with this in my head for a couple of days, well, basically since I signed up for it.

I don’t want to drag my laptop around and I am leery of writing a rough draft of a manuscript on a keyboard.

It is too easy to hit delete and lose thoughts, movements, ideas or feelings.

A rough draft is the cutting of the cloth, you want lots of it to drape your suit of story from.  You don’t want to have to go back later and add stuff.  I don’t anyway.  I want a big swath of material.

Which is the thought behind writing it that way and also that I don’t want to drag around my laptop to work each and every day.

Partially because it is a little heavy and a bit of a nuisance and partially because I want to stretch the life of this laptop out.  I have been experiencing some more difficulties with it and I am getting the feeling that there may be a new laptop in my future before there is a new surf board.

The notebook is the way to go.

The only nuisance with it is that I will need to word count my book into the format for the website.  And I wonder if I will need to transcribe it by the end of the month.

I was doing a little poking around the site to see what the parameters were, but it is unclear at this time whether I actually use the site to write the novel, or I just use the site to track the progress of the novel.

Should I decide to write the rough draft in my laptop I would save it first to the laptop anyhow and then upload to the site.

In both scenarios, there is a word count.

With a notebook, there is me counting the words.

I can make a fairly good guess at how many words I get out on a page and when the fire is hot in my hands and I am a conduit of the muse, which is really always what it feels like, I sit down and the words come from somewhere outside of me, I can write about eight to ten pages long hand in an hour.

I have written so fast before that my hands have cramped to get the words out.

There is a kind satisfying adrenalin rush that comes with being overcome with the word.

It is spiritual in nature and overwhelming.

I feel a little used by it, but outrageously wonderful when it is happening.

There is a high involved.

I won’t deny it.

Even here, the tip tap typing and clack of the keyboards provides me with some sort of visceral fulfilment.

My day is not complete without the words.

The sentences stacking themselves up.

My friend mentioned last night that if I write on average 1,000 word posts (they tend to be a spot over I think, but I will go with that estimate) and I have written over a 1,000 blogs, that in essence I have written over a million words.

A fucking MILLION.

Whoa, damn Gina.

What the fuck is that?

That is not me.

Not this lazy bitch that would rather watch Breaking Bad and House of Cards then type out a story.

How I got here I don’t know, but I have to say, I rather like it.

I think I will stay awhile.

Even when it gets busy, the getting is always good.

Getting some may never have been better.

Well….

I Can Do This

October 20, 2013

I can totally do this.

“You can do this,” the small, still voice in my head said.

Not the crazy chorus of naysayers that usually live up there, and suddenly I saw where and when and how.

Last night after I finished my blog I watched a badly pirated version of Project Runway, hey we all have our foibles shut up, and then regarded the message a friend of mine had sent me about November Novel Writing month.

Or whatever the acronym is.

Basically it is a call to arms, or words, if you would, to write a novel in one month.

It’s totally doable.

I have done it before.

I can do it again.

I will be doing it again.

As it turns out,  I signed up for the thing.

The last time I took a writing challenge it was to do a post-a-day blog back nearly four years ago.

And look at me now.

Blogging away, even at two a.m.

Soul Coughing cheerily singing away about the Chrysler Building, and a hot cup of Bengal Spice tea by my side.  I lit up some candles, ambience you know, and slipped into my yoga pants.

After taking a few amusing photographs of my larger than life hair.

The foggy ride home did a number on it, it is gigantic.

I mean really.

The last time I had hair this big was when I was in Paris and I went and saw LOUISAAAA performing at a club.

I was out until the wee small alcohol soaked hours of the literally underground music scene–the club was a gigantic cavernous underground space–and my hair was smashed with cigarette smoke, sweat, and the vodka fumed breath of thousands of early twenty something grinding away in a night club.

I walked home that night through the chilly mist and felt like my hair was expanding off my head and it certainly was.

I took photographs of myself in the kitchen of the apartment and posted them up.

Partially because I felt sexy for being in Paris and being up at five a.m. at an underground night club, and well, my hair looked freaking amaze balls.

It did not smell good, but that’s the magic of photographs, they’re not scratch and sniff.

I have Paris a lot on my mind.

Harking back to this time last year as the last few days were winding down to my inevitable leaving, because I was given a book tonight “Time Was Soft There” a memoir of a man who lived above the infamous Shakespeare & Company on the Left Bank of Paris, and because of the aforementioned novel-writing month thingy.

First, let me say that I have no plans on writing a memoir of my time in Paris.

Second, let me say that I will be using every single experience, taste, touch, smell, notebook and blog post that I wrote to help me write this novel.

I wrote the synopsis on the website last night after I registered to do it.

I have had this idea kicking around for a while and thought I would be writing a short story but, no.

I am writing a novel.

I am further writing a science fiction novel.

Despite the last science fiction novel I read was when….

No clue.

I don’t really read sci-fi or fantasy.

Although I do love a good bodice ripper sci-fi read once in a while.

And some of my favorite writers, especially short story, were science fiction writers.

H.G. Wells.

Phillip K. Dick.

Frank Herbert.

Ray Bradbury.

I feel the general style of the writing will be something akin to Dick or Bradbury.

I do not put myself at their level, nor will I ever label myself as such, I am however, going to explore writing this genre.

My setting will be Paris.

The Paris of a post-apocalyptic world and the Paris of the near recent past.

Like, oh, beginning a little over six months ago.

I have the opening line.

“The monkey is off my back, but the circus is still in town.”

I have a thematic “man against the world”.

And there will be a love story, the near recent Parisian past will frame the love story.

Despite my not having a romantic liaison there, many, so many romantic things happened to me, not excluding receiving a package with mixed cds in it from a lover back in the states.

The night I got it was raining and I was disconsolate and the rain sluiced down in the courtyard and I was cold and lonely and it was raining in Paris and then I open the package, see the book, cry to find a few Euro tucked in the book, and then the cds.

I made it a quarter through one of the songs and started to leak tears.

Two songs in, maybe, it could have actually been the first one, I was sobbing.

Gut wrenching sobs.

Heart breaking open sobs.

And did I regret things?

No.

I actually wanted to feel some regret, but I knew that the feeling was bogus.

The choice to move to Paris, abandoning so many things, so many loved ones, lovers, and familiar places and faces to embark on a new journey into the unknown, carrying its own kind of romantic peril was totally the right decision.

It was.

My heart got peeled down to cordon and tendon.

I was not just wearing a heart on my sleeve, it was bleeding all over and it was a mass of sinew and song.

I won’t ever forget that night, it was ghastly romantic and it was all in my head.

It usually is.

The stories.

The story was already there.

It was just waiting to be lived.

The places I walked, the people I met, the kindness and sometimes unkindness of strangers, the Trocadero Bridge, seeing people come into visit that I had not really known very well and watch them become my friend and compatriot and supporter over night, all the museums and smells, the chocolate and boulangeries.

Oh.

My.

I have some material.

“Carmen, most writers would kill to have had the experiences you have had,” Alan Kaufman said to me once from his perch in the corner of his room up in the Tender Nob.

And that was seven years ago.

I have had a few more experiences to add to that.

I have a wealth of material to exploit and exploit I am.

“Write a book in a month?  Seriously?”  A friend who I poked to join the challenge e-mailed me back.

I could hear the incredulity in his voice.

Yup.

I did it when I took Kaufman’s class, and I do it every day, here, in this blog.

You think this isn’t some kind of book, The Book of Carmen (versus the Book of Dave, which I will also not compare myself, ever to Will Self, that is just retarded to think that), then you would be wrong.

This is a living memoir.

I am my own version of Anais Nin.

Sexy in my own way, courageous in my failings, leaping again, and again, into the arms of the unknown, fraught and full of angst, but also laughing like a fucking idiot when I do.

Because it is a kind of crazy love, this romance with the written.

I realized today when I was writing my morning pages that I did actually have time, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays between work and early evening commitments to sit down in a cafe, maybe Tart to Tart or the Beanery at 7th and Irving, and write a 1,000 words or more, and Thursdays.

Well, shit, Thursday is easy, I will write during my charges THREE  HOUR nap.

Friday I have currently booked as a half day, so I can get that kicked out then.

Saturday and Sunday, when I am not surfing, heh, I will also write.

I won’t tell you the rest of the story, but it’s there.

I have it.

I don’t know how it ends.

But I know how it starts.

And I know that I can do it.

Oh, yes I can.


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