And this year it ended triumphantly for both Susie and me! Completely in character for me, I was working on my project until the bitter end, logging 50,028 words when I submitted it to the NaNoWriMo Website for verification. I sent it in around 4:40 on Wednesday afternoon, and Susie followed around 9 p.m. the same evening. Very little incentive to cheat, since bragging rights and a neat little graphic for your Facebook page are really the only “prizes” you win.
The contest has not been without cost. Susie has been sick with a sore throat and a headache (she even stayed home from school today, which has been completely out of character for her since she started at The Graham School), and I have been rather draggy and unmotivated in both physical and mental energy. I’ve had a hard time focusing at work, and seem to want to sleep more than usual. I’ve always liked wintertime, so I can’t rightly attribute it to seasonal affective disorder, but I do find myself in a bit of a slump mentally. My way of celebrating the completion of the project was going to bed before midnight for the first time in God knows how long. I am hoping that this cafard will only be temporary, and, since Susie is going down to Florida for Christmas break, I really need to keep it from getting out of control. (Again, cafard is a word that I picked up from reading The Journals of John Cheever. He experienced enough of it for 10 people.)
Just by re-reading the two paragraphs I just typed, I can see that I’ve made some progress in coming out of NaNoWriMo mode. To wit, I am using contractions again. As a way to pad my word count, during the narrative of the novel, I stopped using contractions. (I continued to use them in dialogue, and I admit that dialogue has never been my strong suit when it came to writing.)
My manuscript was called Founder’s Day, and Susie’s was/is Vengeance is Sweeter. I am not sure what the fate of mine will be. Even as I was writing it, I knew that I am capable of much better, and that I was pouring on the excess verbiage for the mere purpose of increasing my word count. If you have ever seen You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, or listened to a recording of the music, you would understand what I was doing by following Lucy’s part in “The Book Report.” Right now, Founder’s Day is hermetically sealed on my hard drive, and I can’t even bring myself to open the file, let alone start editing it. I have a feeling that I may be working on it from the ground up if I ever decide to write it with an eye toward publication. (And yes, I do have fantasies that it ends up being my breakthrough book, and then years later, I’ll do what Stephen King did with The Stand and publish “the NaNoWriMo edition.”)
I left work early today to run some errands (paying rent and getting a long overdue beard trim headed the list), and when I came back home, Susie was fast asleep in her bedroom. I followed her lead and collapsed for an hour or so in my room. But, she is awake now, and it is amazing what a little food did to perk her back up. (I think the fact that she wants to go to the Marriage Equality rally downtown with me tomorrow morning, and see her friend in Romeo and Juliet at Dominion Middle School tomorrow night, may also have played a role.)
Another temporary casualty of NaNoWriMo has been that–completely out of character for me–I have barely written in my diary for all of November. I guess what energy I did have, I poured into the NaNoWriMo project, and I was either too written out or too exhausted to turn my attention and energy to the pages of the composition book that always comes in my knapsack with me. One of the reasons I’m writing in the blog tonight is to see if that will kick-start me toward resuming daily diary entries. I don’t want to be as meticulous or as compulsive as the late Robert Shields, but when I go back and open the book, with my pen in hand, I am going to feel like I’m meeting someone and having to explain to them why I haven’t called them back.
I posted on Columbus Underground about needing to find someone to repair my Royal Royalite manual typewriter, and have yet to follow up on the suggestions folks posted in response. I wish I could have used it for NaNoWriMo, but that would not have been practical, since you need to cut and paste your finished product into their Website so they can verify your word count. Here is a picture of the Royalite, which has been on the receiving end of much abuse from me, in my old home office in Franklinton:
I loathed almost every TV series he produced, but, in the pre-YouTube days, I always loved seeing the ending credits of any Stephen J. Cannell program. (Cannell, who died last year, produced 21 Jump Street, Silk Stalkings, and The A-Team.) It is especially appropriate to post, as someone who “won” NaNoWriMo:
(I can never decide which one I like best, so this one seems to be the most inclusive.)