National Novel-Writing Month–the annual race to write a 50 thousand-word manuscript in 30 days–is what literate people do in November instead of following college football. It is also what has consumed all of my writing strength and energy. Not only have I neglected the blog, I also have not written in the holographic diary since very early this month. After working like mad to get in x number of words per day, I am too exhausted to produce any other writing.
|The first few days, I was keeping meticulous track of what music I listened to while I worked. You probably have noticed that my working music is quite catholic, lower-case C, when I’m going to be at the keyboard for awhile.
Last night, I felt really cruddy after dinner, with no energy and feeling lightheaded. So, I decided to go out and see if some fresh air would perk me up. Susie was in the living room, busily working at her laptop, being a role model to me by writing, while I was outside.
I drifted over to Mirror Lake. The Ohio State-Michigan game is Saturday at noon, and I have zero interest in it, since I have zero interest in football, and because I attended neither school. On the Thursday before the OSU-Michigan game, the students at Ohio State jump into Mirror Lake, regardless of the temperature. Channel 10 had predicted thunderstorms, and the Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper, thought that lightning would deter anyone would making the jump.
There was no lightning, but I knew that would not stop anyone. I remember inviting myself to an after-hours party in the spring of 1986, after the bars on High St. (the bars themselves razed a long time ago) had closed for the night. The party was in the courtyard of an apartment building near High and W. 10th (where the Taco Bell is now). There was a hot tub in the courtyard, and there were about eight or nine people in it, even though the sky was very cloudy and at some point before dawn, there was thunder and lightning.
I came early to Mirror Lake. I had no plans on diving in–I would not go in Mirror Lake if you paid me. At its best, it smells like Roadside Rest pump water. The bacilli that live in it, and all the rocks, broken glass and other trash that line the bottom, would not make me go in it at all. (I remember during Comfest 2010 seeing some high school kids swimming in the pond at Goodale Park. I had the same feeling, and thought someone should have a booth offering free tetanus and hepatitis shots.)
Maybe I was too early, but I didn’t see that many people there at 10 o’clock. I have seen videos of previous jump-ins where kids were shoulder to shoulder in the Lake, but I don’t think I saw more than 20 or 30 people in at a time. It was very popular to jump in groups of four, so you could stand in the Lake and do the O-H-I-O with your arms. (O = Arms over your head with your hands joined together above your head. H = Arms over your head, the palms held parallel. I = Like O, except that your fingers form a point.) What I found funny was how many people would swear up and down they had no intention of going in the water, and then would suddenly bolt in and do it, often holding hands with a friend as they jumped. Two young women planned, I think, to swan dive into the Lake. They had stripped down to bikini briefs and sports bras, scampered hand in hand to the lip of the water, and then decided to sit down and slide in, like they were entering a wading pool. When they came out, their teeth were chattering and they were running like mad to put on their dry clothes. (A lot of people who jumped in fully clothed didn’t have that option. The temperature was in the mid-50s when I got there, but it dropped almost into the upper 40s by midnight.)
I never saw the allure of football, college or otherwise. When I was younger, my dad took me to Saturday afternoon games of the Marietta College Pioneers at Don Drumm Stadium, but I was not very good at masking my boredom. (I went on my own when I was older, but because it was free to me, since my dad was on the faculty. Since it was free, I would take advantage.) I went to a few Marietta Tigers games my sophomore year of high school, but paying to be bored was even sillier.
When Susie was first learning to read, I went to Abebooks‘ Website and ordered a copy of All Through the Year, the Harper and Row reading textbook I had in second grade. I had always liked the book, and put off ordering it until I tired of reading the Berenstain Bears and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? repeatedly. The only section of the book I disliked as a second-grader was called “Captain Sam,” and it was about one of the major characters’ hero worship of the high school football captain. Besides the fact that I didn’t care about football, I remembered one scene that bothered me. David, the boy who looks up to Captain Sam, will have his birthday the same day as the high school home team goes against their arch-rival. (It’s apparently their version of OSU-Michigan, or Harvard-Yale. In Cincinnati, the big high school sports rivalry seemed to be between two boys’ Catholic schools, Elder and Archbishop Moeller.)
In the story, David tells his parents that he doesn’t want a party or a birthday cake. All he wants to do is go to the game. His parents agree, but also add that he would not get any presents. At the time, I thought that was a bit mean, and I still did when I read the story to Susie–knowing a story about football would put her to sleep with little difficulty. I came around a little when I saw that David’s parents paid for all his friends to go to the game, plus paying for their hot dogs and soda pop, I suppose, which does demand a significant outlay of money.
Football and writing in the same blog entry… I am as surprised as you are, folks. I first heard about NaNoWriMo when we were still living in Franklinton. I was at the library, using the computers there because we didn’t have any Internet at home, and I overheard one of the kids that worked behind the counter tell one of his co-workers that he knew a woman who entered this contest every year. I Googled “novel writing in one month” and that was what led me to NaNoWriMo’s home page. It was mid-October by then, so I didn’t have long to prepare for the project.
I usually have tanked by now. In 2008, I didn’t even make the effort, since my mother had died on October 30, and I was preoccupied with her memorial service and cleaning out her apartment in Athens. Today is the 23rd of November, and I’m farther along than I ever have been before, but I am not going to get cocky. I guess it’s good that this guy never attempted NaNoWriMo. It sounds like he won it on a weekly basis.
I am multitasking while I write this. Susie and I are having a little pre-Thanksgiving meal tonight, so I am upstairs with the computer, typing away, and trying to keep track of the turkey and potatoes I have in the oven in the kitchen. Unless the next entry describes a house fire, you can safely assume that we had an edible meal tonight.
My very amateurish footage of the beginning of the Mirror Lake OSU-Michigan jump-in last night. One of the funniest moments I captured was a guy berating his friend for losing his lab goggles in the Lake, and insisting that he submerge himself to locate them.