NaNoWriMo: Days the Eleventh and Twelfth

No entry last night.  I was just too exhausted, mentally and physically.

I have gone off the reservation for NaNoWriMo, and decided to do something that’s not exactly according to Hoyle, as far as the rules go.  As I was taking my daily lunchtime two-mile walk, I had an epiphany about how I can salvage this project and still finish on time.  I have changed the entire work in progress.

My manuscript last year was called Fifty K in Thirty Days, and the story dealt with a teenage girl and her widowed father as they work on their respective projects.  I had fun writing it, and since I shared it to my Cloud, Susie was (after a fashion) able to read it over my shoulder.

I am taking a hiatus from the Robert Lowry book at present.  Once NaNoWriMo ends on December 1, I plan to pick it up again, and combine the best of my original Lowry book with this, and have a much more concise manuscript than before.

And I am restarting NaNoWriMo from the ground up.  For the first time since the competition began on the first of November, I actually felt impatient to get home and to sit down at the laptop.  Once I went through the mail, I turned on my Windows Media Player (which is playing even as I am typing this entry) and opened a new document, and began typing.  I won’t lie and say that it was effortless, but I went a little over the recommended daily quota, and finished the bulk of the book’s Prologue.

I was tempted to delete the file of last year’s project, but I have vowed not to look at it.  (I never printed out a hard copy, so I am not tempted in that way.)  Some things I kept from the first incarnation, other things (dialogue, a character’s name, and setting) are brand new as of tonight.

My fear is that I will stall on this manuscript, as I did last year.  I already fear that it may become like Greenwich Village bohemian Joe Gould’s ambitious An Oral History of Our Time, which he said was “eleven times longer than the Bible.”  After his death, Joseph Mitchell, the New Yorker writer who told his story in a 1942 profile, learned that the manuscript was imaginary.   Gould carted stacks of composition books around Greenwich Village, but they only contained the same four or five anecdotes and essays, written and rewritten ad nasueam.  The story is told quite excellently in the movie Joe Gould’s Secret (2000), starring Ian Holm and Stanley Tucci.

Two pages from a diary that Joe Gould kept from 1943 until 1947, during the time when he was boasting about his lengthy (and fictitious) manuscript.

Two pages from an 11-volume diary that Joe Gould kept from 1943 until 1947, during the time when he was boasting about his lengthy (and fictitious) manuscript.

The NaNoWriMo Website has said that if I continue at my present rate, I will finish on December 5.  I’ve beaten those odds before, although I am still racking my brain on how to compensate for two days, the day before Thanksgiving (when I’ll be at OSU East for a sleep study), and the holiday itself, when I am making a day trip to Cincinnati to celebrate the day with an old friend.

Robert Lowry’s story does need to be told, and I am in a unique position for this to happen.  (I ordered a copy of his 1990 chapbook, XXIII Celebrities from just before the Lowry project commenced, since my copy seems to have disappeared, or is buried under the pile of notebooks, Xerox copies, correspondence, and diaries that I refer to (in jest) as my files.)  My copy came from Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe in Toronto.  So, until this project regains momentum, I can be happy that it was a perfect excuse to replace my copy.

Today was the coldest day that I have walked outside.  I came out of the deli where I usually have lunch, and considered keeping the walk indoors, but decided to go ahead and pound the pavement outside.  I am still not used to the cold weather (yesterday, the temperature reached the mid-60s), and I wished that I had worn a hat, but I made the walk in the usual 40 minutes.

I will be much more wary once snow starts falling.  My 50-year streak of never having broken a bone ended this winter when I slipped on ice, so that has made me overly cautious about walking when the sidewalk is icy, or even overly wet from rain.  I go through my pocket notebook from last winter, and I can tell when I had the injured wrist, because my handwriting is spiky, uneven, and almost illegible.  Usually, it is almost textbook D’Nealian, just as I learned at North Hills School over 40 years ago.

I was sweating blood about my word count (or lack thereof) until I read a Facebook post from one of Susie’s friends: “At This Rate You Will Finish On: April 26, 2015.  Thanks, NaNoWriMo.”

That made me feel better about switching gears and starting a new project.  When it’s time to cut and paste the manuscript into their template for word count verification, I am going to put both manuscripts in there, since I have written over 16 thousand words since November 1 between the two books.


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