Haven’t posted for 2+ months. Ever feel like you life is hurling by you and all you want to do is hurl back at it. Yeh. I’m there.
I’m preparing now for the 2012 3 Day Novel Writing Contest. 72 hours of adrenalin filled angst, with a hefty shot of sleep deprivation. Writing till your fingers cramp and then pushing yourself another hour beyond that, after multiple coffee infusions and Tylenol.
Good Times. Shows what you’re made of. Would Hemingway give up? I think not.
This is my third year of participating. Sounds hinky to do something you know will make you nuts, pounding out a whole, albeit small book in only 72 hours, but it is fun. I shit you not. Really fun! Honest!
I love pushing myself. The biggest problem in my life is that I don’t push myself consistently. Or I push the wrong stupid parts of my life, leaving the important crap floundering. 3DN, as we inside the inner circle of creativity like to call it, is the one time I push the right buttons in my life.
So this weekend, from Friday night at midnight to Monday night at midnight, I will be pulling words from every orifice to get them on the page, to have at least ten minutes for a cursory edit, usually consisting of making sure my name is spelled correctly even if nothing else is, and collapsing into bed to sleep the sleep of conquering heroes.
My first year, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing but damn if I didn’t make sure I had all the necessary accoutrements to survive a nuclear winter. I made dozens of mini-sandwiches out of a variety of cold cuts and packed them in ziplock bags, cleaned and chopped fresh veggies and fruit into bite-sized nuggets, cubed cheeses of various stinkiness, filled bowls with nuts(almonds cause they are the best!), moved the coffee pot into my bedroom where I did my writing, bought a new bottle of bourbon because, well…I feel like a writer when I drink it (don’t ask, cause I have no idea why), unplugged the TV and turned my phone to “no ringer”. I sent an email to family and friends warning them to not contact me unless MY life depended on it, filled a cooler with ice, sodas and green tea (someone say green tea helps to keep you awake-they lied) and announced to my mom, who at the time lived with me, that she was more than welcome to help herself to the goodies in the fridge but my cooking was put on hold for the duration.
I did pretty well the first year. Got over 35K words and even got in a little editing before the midnight end gun sounded. I didn’t win, but received a nice hand- written note from the judges saying they were intrigued and thought it might make a good screenplay. I was thrilled and felt accomplished.
We had food left over for two weeks after the contest. Which was actually kind of nice to just go to the frig and load up a plate. Made fixing lunches for work a breeze.
The second year, not as good. I knew what to expect, which should have helped, but I was just recovering from hand surgery, so typing was no faster than trying to learn to text for the first time using only the number keys. Tedious, frustrating and painful. I bought voice recognition software. It helped some but I am a writer who uses colorful and, uh shall we say gutter language, lots of it. Those words are not in the “out of the box” vocab of Dragon Speech Software. My dialogues were reduced to things like, “Ship”, “Buck off”, “Mothertrucker” and “arsswife”. (WTF is an arsswife and what is it doing in their vocab anyway?) Needless to say, it was slow-going and I only managed 28K, but it was a story with beginning, middle and end. No note from judges, but considering the hurdles I had to climb just to write through the fog of pain killers, and uninlightened, uncool software, all while maintaining a bit of coherence to the story, I was satisfied.
On the bright side, THE FOOD! You probably think I would have minimized my menu. That would be a big fat NO. Writing=munching on anything in sight. It’s a scientific fact. So the frig was stocked and once again, I didn’t cook for two weeks afterwards! Mother espeically loved those little sandwiches.
So, now it’s T minus 15 or so hours until the start of 2012 3 Day Novel writing marathon. At least this year, I have a new home-office to be creative in but….OH. MY. GOD!
There this weird thing that’s beginning to happen to me. It’s not a new thing. I always go through this right before I do something major, but that doesn’t make it any easier. And this year, it’s ten times worse. I’ve looked forward to this contest for a whole friggin year and now suddenly it’s here. In the flesh. It’s really here. I now think of a zillions things I should have done to get ready. I should have prepared better. Maybe an outline, although my outlines are about as helpful as a cold in the summer, or I should have read more “How to Write Brilliant Stories and Win Contests” books. Maybe I should have just prayed on it. More. And my story idea. Is it good enough? Will I be able to pull it off? And where the hell is my muse when I need her? Out consoling the crazed murderers and sociopaths about my obvious snub??? I’m starting to sweat, my heart’s jumping out of my chest and missing all kinds of beats, and a little voice inside of me seriously questions my sanity for putting myself through all this again.
I. Am. Not. Prepared.
Oh, I have the food. I mean… priorities, people. Come on! I tried to go healthier this year. So amid the chips, cookies, and chocolate bars are protein snacks, yogurt, fruit juices, salad fixings and a homemade casserole or two (including one recipe from a fellow participant that looks suspiciously unhealthy but very yummy). But I don’t feel ready to do this! Not by a long shot. I am utterly pertrified.
This year, I’m attempting to write in the unfamiliar territory of LITERARY NOVELS. Beleive me, it’s a scary place for someone like me. I’m testing the waters with a story void of supernatural beings, paranormal happenings, crazed child murderers, terrible secrets, rapists, batterers, serial killers or bat-shit crazy sociopaths. I haven’t invited any of those to my write-a-thon party this year. I hope I don’t miss them too much. I really hope they don’t get mad at me enough to not come when I do invite them back, because I usually feel more at home surrounded by them in my writing. I know. I am seriously sick.
So why am I jumping off a cliff, without my usual bloody, murderous lifejacket into the Literary Sea of Whatever, this year? I have a special story I want to tell. It’s still going to be fiction but it won’t be an easy ride. It will have a generous sprinkling of bits from the life of a wonderful person who left this earth four short months ago. My mom.
So Mom…l’m going to try to do this. For you. For me. For us.
I read this somewhere, and I don’t know who said it, but it really hit home for me. It goes something like this: ‘We have two birthings in our lives. The first comes when we are born of our mother and the second comes when she dies.’ That’s what I want to write about. A woman’s second birth. Just don’t ask me not to cry.
Ok. T minus 14.5 hours and counting.
Stocked frig: check.
Family/friends warning: check.
Phone ringer off: (not yet but will be) check.
New item this year – tissues: check.
Keep you fingers crossed, Mom. I miss you.