Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Month's Close

I imagine eventually my posts will return to non-NaNoWriMo content, but as it is November 30, I must conclude with a final post.

I met the goal of writing over 50,000 words. To be clear, I ended the month with 56,588 words. That translates to roughly 200 pages. It is still [Untitled]. When I allow people to read it, it will likely still be [Untitled], and I will need them to offer suggestions.

I still have some writing in me on this topic, a couple last things to add during my lunch breaks, but for now, until I tackle editing, I'm satisfied. There are passages that are clunky because I needed to make myself write every day, but then there were passages that pleased me in their orchestration.

I haven't read it in its entirety; the goal of the month is quantity. Perhaps this weekend I will do so--print out a nice fat copy and settle in at Starbucks as I brave the snow they tell me is coming. No matter, let it fall around me, as long as I have a steamy cup of chai to help stave off the cold!

In a spontaneous moment (let me emphasize that spontaneity is not easily happened upon when two indecisive people wed), Eric suggested we head to the theater after dinner for a movie. The selection? Stranger than Fiction. Not widely promoted, at least in my recollection, but a clever premise. We were both gratified with the execution [Look! Without even trying to deliberately do so, I referenced a word central to my last post. I know you're all tickled with this feat as well.]

Indeed, it seemed an appropriate way to end a writing endeavor. A tale of an author and her protagonist. Many light moments also try to raise some interesting questions. I came away with thoughts on an author's responsibilities, and my philosopher is contemplating questions of compatibalism/free will and whether we have moral responsibilities beyond self preservation.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Even Universities Offer Amusing Quips

First, let me encourage you to continue to email me any memories or thoughts you have on Jon for my NaNoWriMo endeavor. Even should I reach 50,000 words before you write me, or even if you don't get around to penning your thoughts until after the month has ended, I would appreciate reading and including them nonetheless. Now I hereby end this digression.

When preparing an examination for a professor, I saw this line on the front page, which appears in some format on every university midterm:
I understand that I must comply to the university's honor code when executing this examination.

I approve of the use of the verb "executing" in this sentence, as very few use it in this classy fashion. I do, however, find my mind wandering to the more popular meaning of capital punishment.

Humor me and consider the implications if we take the above statement to be using the latter definition. Especially since I imagine the students taking the exam would prefer to decimate the paper page by page instead of actually follow through with the request to conduct the exam question by question.

Does "executing" in accordance to a code have something to do with the Geneva Convention? Perhaps there are stipulations guarding the rights of the paper. But we are, after all, still allowing an execution to take place, as long as proper respect is paid. Perhaps it is okay to shred and tear, whereas slowly rubbing your eraser to produce holes is seen as cruel and unusual punishment.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Friends, Iowans, and Kin: Lend Me Your Stories

I am furiously writing for NaNoWriMo, and if you take a look at the counter in the right margin, you can see how I am doing on any given day towards reaching the 50,000 word goal.

I'm not sure it would be feasible if I were still teaching or if I had children. Having a one-hour lunch is such a luxury during this time, and even while not writing the whole time, I can often get in about 1,000 words. And then I retreat home or venture out in the evenings to get in a few more hundred words. Eric is supporting this undertaking by offering Panera gift cards, which I find impossible to refuse.

What is my topic? Well, I suppose I am cheating by not doing a novel per se. But I am attempting to do something in the vein of Joan Didion's
A Year of Magical Thinking or C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed. In that realm, I am reflecting on Jon's life and death and the changes I have gone through. I've dug up some of my writing from the last few years to remind me of the emotions and events that have already become hazy with time so that I can include them.

How can you help me reach my final wordcount? Share your stories. My memories of Jon are limited. What are your favorite memories of him? Any special anecdotes or conversations? How did you reconcile his death? How have your emotions evolved over time? What brings him suddenly to mind? Anything you want to share I want to read. Go ahead and email me with them. I certainly wasn't privy to everything Jon did, so as minor as your memories might seem, they will still be something I would appreciate.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween, Complete with Hair-Raising Felines

As new homeowners, Eric and I dutifully purchased some candy to distribute to greedy little urchins who might happen by. I say greedy because when you come with pillowcases to someone's door, you're just aiming too high. I worried they'd try to muscle past me in search of better items, should they find my candy offering unacceptable (perhaps our crystal candlesticks from our wedding). And to be honest, I'm less inclined to think you deserve more than one piece of candy when your pillowcase is already pretty hefty.

We soon came to learn that our cat is anything but fond of the visitors who found themselves on our front steps. We didn't even have to keep an eye peeled for prospective visitors; Augustine's arched back, extended fur, and loud hissing were enough to alert us. I guess she may have just been living up to the requirements of being a predominantly black cat on a late-October evening?

Since I was going to go stir crazy just sitting in a chair anticipating visitors, Eric and I settled in to a Scrabble game in between bouts of hair-raising felines. As a quick aside, while Eric was trying to comfort Augustine during a visit of goblins, one school-age girl commented, "That's a pretty little puppy you have." I restrained my desire to correct, but then she began giggling in embarrassment as she looked a little closer and made the verbal pronouncement that it was, indeed, not a puppy but a cat.

And our Scrabble game? That I effortlessly won. To be truthful, I did win, but it wasn't quite effortless. And Eric probably trounced me for creativity. My favorite quote from his lips last night was, "Wow. We had some pretty good words on the board tonight: varies, rejects, hotter, prawns, loonie." And all but the first were of his own doing. Rascal.