That golden time of caffeine shakes, nicotine poisoning, and sleepy bags under our eyes is upon us. None other than National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), when brave (or stupid, I suppose?) writers and wannabe writers around the globe (that’s right, we’re actually international now, during our tenth year) attempt the somewhat possible and write 50,000 words in 30 days. I am grateful for this – NaNo is essentially a month long therapy session for me. No one worries when I don’t sleep, I get everything from the last year out on paper, and I can fully cloak myself in “bitter writer syndrome” and chain smoke and suck down coffee as if my life depends upon both. NaNo brings me back to nights working at a movie theater (who needed sleep? I was 17 and invincible); sunrises pontificating with fellow policy majors in college; road trips; good books.
November is, oddly enough, always a new chapter for me. I have a chance to get it all out in my 50K and at the end of these thirty days I can walk away feeling drained, exhausted, and ridiculous, but wonderful. This year, I’m doing it both mentally — with a novel of embarrassing encounters, a Year of Yes, living with actors & vegans, somehow coming out on the other side alive — and physically, with a move into a new house. (We’re not leaving the Green Line; the thought alone slightly terrifies me. I may be ready to stop hiding in the basement, but I’m not prepared for the Redline again just yet, these things take time).
Limbo has, while blessed with the literary abandon of November, also hit a stone wall. A plague of sorts, to be more accurate. A cold – which has lead to ear infection, sinus headaches, muscle soreness, fevers, exhaustion, and a weird sort of non-asthma asthma – has officially taken hold and doesn’t seem willing to let go of me for anything in the world.
Thanks to this, my writing these days is, I’ve been told, a little on the ‘bitter’ side. I apologize. I’m using it to my advantage though; everything that I’m dealing with these days – being sick, packing up too much stuff to move, being broke, feeling down – lends itself wonderfully to writing. To writing a novel filled with good music and old friends and deliciously melodramatic angst. A novel that I will never in a million years show to anyone because of it’s pure saccharine prose. But I’m writing, aren’t I? Isn’t that the part that should matter?
As I struggle through – all ready behind on my first week’s word count – missing write ins in favor of chicken soup and hot tea, I keep in mind that what really matters is: I’m writing again and no one can take that from me.