Friday, November 30, 2007


Okay. If I can somehow write 9,100 words between now and midnight, I can still be a winner in this year's NaNoWriMo.

But since the squirrels are currently playing handball with what's left of my cranium right now, I can't see that happening. As it is, I racked up about 8K today, which is a hellacious output. Just not enough to make up for several days this month where my brain went to Never Land and didn't inform me of its flight plan first.

I have to say, I got up this morning at 4:15 am with express intention of busting out some serious wordage. I needed 17,000 words, give or take, to become a NaNo winner. And I seriously believed I could do it. Probably could have, if I hadn't had to take care of some minor business during the day, like teaching.

Say it with me: Mimi, you are insane for thinking you could write 17,000 words in a day. But, I squeak, I wrote 13K in one day last year to finish and win, and it worked. Now say, Mimi, you have serious procrastination/adrenaline addiction issues. You might want to explore other avenues, like, say, writing a little more every day instead of morphing into crazed writing bitch who frightens pets and small children. Not to mention the husband with the clenched teeth. (Not really, he's wonderful and very supportive, but for argument's sake...)

I had to face reality. Throw in the towel. Put down the Alphasmart and back away slowly. This year, the winner badge wasn't gonna happen. Well, it could have. I'd have to change my user profile to say that I lived in the Aleutian Islands to do it (I'm telling you, I was on a roll!), but I could have.

But that's a lot of personal integrity to sell out just for a cute graphic to post on the blog saying I was a "winner." If I had to cheat to get it, I wouldn't be much of a winner, would I? Plus, DH, who is one of the most ethically strong people I know, would be disappointed in me, and that would almost be worse than being disappointed in myself.

I thought about it, though. I did.

So here's what I learned this year during NaNoWriMo:
  • One, I really do have to be more consistent with output. Whether it's the 100 words a day method or BIAW, BICHOK, or any other method, I have to get the words down and not leave them in the cortex for the squirrels to hoard.
  • Two, quit being so competitive already. If it'll practically kill you to win at this late date, it won't really kill you to admit you have to stop.
  • Three, don't waste the effort. Finish the book, let it hibernate a while, drag it out, revise the proposal, and send it to dream agent.
BTW, props to my buddies Macy and Pam for being NaNo winners. Hats off to you!

Okay, that's 499 more words. Should I add them to my official writing total for today, or would that be cheating? (Just kidding!)

Friday, November 23, 2007

What Really Matters: Political Edition

Much is being made these days over trivial matters, at least when it comes to candidates for President: Clinton's "boys' club" remarks. Obama's flag pin, or lack thereof. Edwards's hair. Romney's flips (or flops). Thompson's energy level. Giuliani's wives, plural. Kucinich's UFOs. Nearly all the Republicans namechecking Ronald Reagan as if he were the second coming (yeah, right). Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Whatever happened to issues? You know, information about how these candidates plan to govern, delivered in complete, adult, non-sound bite-sized sentences. Remember those?

Whether you support the candidacy of John Edwards or not, you have to love this gem, spawned from the YouTube debates. It makes a very valid point.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I find there are far too many adults who are cranky and ungrateful. Instead, they carp about what they don't like, what's done wrong (in ther eyes), how other people are, etc., etc. Get trapped in one of these litanies and you'll see what I mean. I admit to being the cranky sort on occasion, but today, I find I have far more to be thankful for than not. To wit:
  • My daughter and son are curled up on the sofas with our dogs. What would life be without them--children or dogs?
  • I have a messy kitchen thanks to a morning of baking. Thanks for original recipes that rock (chocolate chip cookie bars), the smell of bread in the oven, and key lime pie.
  • Thanks for cows. A cold glass of milk with one of the aforementioned cookie bars is pretty close to perfection!
  • My living room o'erflows with books we need to trade and donate. Thanks to authors for hours of learning and escape.
  • My hallway o'erflows with laundry. Thanks for favorite jeans, jammies, and T-shirts. And for washing machines.
  • DH is currently ferrying his mom back to her house after spending Thanksgiving with us. Thanks to her for giving me him!
  • Thanks for friends, who enrich our lives (and Happy Birthday to Nancy, who's turning--erm--some classified number I can't reveal lest she kill me).
What do you have to be thankful for?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NaNo Update, Week #3

Still behind--about 2,500 words off last year's pace, which was behind enough in its own right. And I'd been sick for three days. Then. I have no excuse now! Using Chris Baty's suggestion of 1,667 words per day to make writing 50K in 30 days manageable, I'm more off the pace than on. I owe more words than I've written.

That's okay. I think I'm out of a bog. Past Chapter 5, at least. I'm having a really hard time not just letting go and moving on, which must be the key if this is to work at all. Today, the kids will be fairly self-starting, once I make breakfast. DS and DD will both have friends over. Yay! Actual writing time...squeezed between the trip to the grocery store and an attempt to find the Holy Grail Toy of Christmas. But that's a depressing thought for tomorrow...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NaNo Update, Week #2

As I supposed, I'm behind. Got some good writing done tonight, though. Amazing what free time and a child-free atmosphere can do for your powers of concentrations. I am really looking forward to having time off next week so I can catch up!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Criminal Misrepresentation

You know, it always seems that when Florida is featured on a TV show, the Hollywood folks get it wrong. Like the TV movie of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Most of the book is set in Eatonville, about a mile from my house. At one point, Janie is heading down to a lake for a swim--not that would any self-respecting Floridian go for a swim in a lake at twilight, when it's gator feeding time anyway--and she walks through a twenty-foot swath of goldenrod to get there. Hello? Goldenrod doesn't grow here! Or the more infamous and obvious oldie of mountains in the background in the old show Pensacola: Wings of Gold. Florida's flatter than Dubya's approval ratings, peeps.

This week's screwup, tonight's episode of Criminal Minds. It's set in "Bridgewater, Florida," somewhere off I-75 near Alligator Alley. Fine and dandy. DH and I sat back and waited for the errors. About thirty seconds later, cute blonde victim drives her Jeep into the state park. We know we're in Florida because of the Florida tag on the Jeep. The one on the front bumper. The tag that's not even freakin' issued on Florida vehicles!

And I don't even know where to start with the cheesy Southern accents. Everyone sounds like they'll be breaking out the Dueling Banjos at any second. Florida Cracker accents don't sound like deep-fried, Deep South, California voice coach Southern accents. Grr.

I know it's cheaper to film in California, but dang it, people, just because you have palm trees doesn't mean it looks anything like Florida! Please, please do some real research!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Snip, Snip

Today, a haircut. This isn't earth-shattering news, but it's been a while. A bra-strap length while, actually. Hair with my kind of curl doesn't need to go that long, especially since my favorite shoes are a variety of Birkenstock--Tatamis, the cute ones, but Birkenstock nonetheless. Add the streaky going-back-to-natural hair, and you have a recipe for granola girl, which is so not me. As I told Maria, I'm one Stevie Nicks handkerchief hemline away from a walking cliché. Yipes.

Maria gets aggressive with the shears. Lo and behold, shape! Lightness! Joy! The gel she tries is all-natural and yummy smelling (pineapple or papaya or some such tropicalness). Unfortch, my hair is now crunchy. Crunchy is good if you're talking potato chips, but not Botticelli-style curls. Can't wait to shampoo this out, condition the daylights out of it, and see what it does on its own.

She did notice the color, or lack thereof. Turns out my natural color is about a tint browner than black. Who knew? I've been some form of medium golden brown for so long, I had no idea it was that different from the heredity. The oxidation from riding around in a convertible with the top down didn't help, either. And then there's the encroaching silver.

"Color?" she asked.

"Nope." Either I'm the bravest 43-year-old I know, or the craziest.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NaNo Update, Week #1

Week One of NaNoWriMo is ending, and I am already seriously behind. My first two days I was ahead of the curve, mostly thanks to a complete synopsis that I'd typed out and divided up amongst the twenty planned chapters of the book. So the word count is including the synopsis words, which will be replaced by text words as the weeks go on. Fair enough.

As usual, my problem is that damned internal editor. You know, the one that wants an actual logical entrance and exit from each scene, the one who wants things to make sense and be nearly camera-ready, to use an old typesetting term. Using the NEO helps, but I still have the tendency to go back, erase, retype so it's spelled right, twiddle with the verb tenses, and what not. Generally, lots of what not. Thank god NEOs can't access the 'net, or I'd find all manner of time-wasting things to do. Amazing how pointless comments on a political blog take on Defcon 3 importance when avoidance of writing is in the air.

I have some close writing buddies this time. Last year, my whole department tackled NaNo, with mixed results. This year, I have only a couple of buds from my RWA chapter and one surviving English department friend, who's now at a different school. Nik's a perfectionist, too, so I have a welcoming shoulder to whine on. The other ladies, not so much. Macy, Dara88, and Lorenas--they're the butt-kicking squad. I could use some. More later.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tuesday Ten: TV Shows on DVD

Drat that wench Macy O'Neal. She knows what a procrastinator I am and tags me anyway for a Tuesday Ten. She's probably figured out that once I get started, I must continue--pretty much my OCD limit, but there you have it. *sigh* So now I have to come up with Ten TV shows I'd like to have or already have on DVD. Kind of a problem, since I'm a big cheapskate and don't buy TV shows on DVD. But if I did, here are my picks:

1) A&E's Pride and Prejudice. Okay, so it's a mini-series and not technically a "show." But it is the definitive P&P on film and has those lovely dripping wet Colin Firth moments. Sue me.

2) CSI. Accept no imitations. Love the Gil Grissom. I'd take CSI:NY as well, but I'll pass on Miami. I get enough Florida weirdness living here; I don't need David Caruso and
those freakin' sunglasses to screw it up for me further.

3) King of the Hill. Because I love wit, I love Southerners, and I think Mike Judge is hilarious.

4) Invader Zim. We do own these--three DVDs of animated craziness thanks to our comic book store friends. You have to love a show that celebrates Santa's Jolly Boots of Doom, public school teachers who rattle like snakes when angered, and feature dialogue like "Lemony fresh victory is mine!" Or maybe that's just my warped little universe.

5) 24. Jack Bauer saves the world--again! I could probably bag the season where his wimpy daughter gets mauled by the cougar, though.

6) Fantasy Island. Not the rich-Corinthian-leather Ricardo Montalbán "Da plane! Da plane! version, but the slightly creepy, edge-of-the-Twilight Zone remake with Malcolm McDowell, Fyvush Finkel (that's brave, for a stage name), and the raspy cigarette smoking woman from Beetlejuice.

7) Sports Night. Great writing, Felicity Huffman before she moved to Wisteria Lane, Peter Krause before he became the hunk o' the month in Six Feet Under, and Nuwanda, all grown up.

8) Speaking of Florida weirdness, Maximum Bob, a short-lived bit of bizarro starring Beau Bridges as a no-holds-barred judge who married an ex-Weeki Wachee mermaid. I think about five of us got the jokes, and we're all serious Carl Hiaasen fans.

9) The Andy Griffith Show. Because it's a classic, and because Andy is just the sort of father we need more of in this crazybusy, money-obsessed world.

10) Monty Python's Flying Circus. Own it. Love it. Could quote it for hours, and have.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Here We Go Again

Not satisfied with one round of crazy, we embark yet again on the month-long insanity which is NaNoWriMo.

Stepping into the batter's box, Life After Little League--a little romance, a little women's fiction, a little like me. Sort of. At least, the mom and the baseball part. Divorced, not so much (thank God). Forward into the breach...

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