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Fat & Happy

The problem with being fat & happy is that it’s a distraction in itself. I’ve spent the last month and a half doing the following:

  1. Picking apples … and eating apples.
  2. Reading newspapers.
  3. Ignoring TV news (the newspapers picked up this slack) — it was election season and I can no longer take the negative ads and political acrimony any more.  People:  can’t we act like forward-thinking adults and find some common ground?
  4. Watching The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver as my primary sources for political commentary.  These jesters and their astute writers are driving in-depth conversation around national issues.
  5. Reading books.
  6. Working on a home improvement project.
  7. Going to the gym, sporadically.
  8. Cooking, also sporadically.
  9. Scribbling stuff down to eventually turn it into a productive blog post.

This last list item is just a weak plea to my weak self to get some word count in every day.  It’s NaNoWriMo month, and I’m sitting on the sidelines watching the parade pass by.  That isn’t altogether a bad thing.  I cheer the novelists who are in the throes of word passion.  I admire their grit and fortitude, because if writing a novel was so easy, we all would be publishing books every December.

Which brings me to my friend and inspiration, D.D. Syrdal.  I’ve known D.D. for a goodly amount of time, and she inspired me to take the plunge into the blogosphere.   Her work, Revenants Abroad, has recently been published!  Find it for sale on smashwords (a real bargain, if you ask me) and serialized on wattpad.  It gives me great pleasure to tell all of CanITakeANap’s elite followers about this labor of literary love.   Again, she inspires me with her dedication to many hours of BIC (butt in chair), and the leap of faith it entails to send her story out into the Universe to stretch its legs and find a home in readers’ imaginations.

Kudos, my friend!  D.D., well done!

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Creative Juice And Sweat

Last night we saw the TCNJ Musical Theatre production of the pop opera Bare.  I didn’t know anything about this show (other than the fact that the patron saint of this blog was Stage Manager for this production, and it had consumed her waking life for the past month or so), but it was a pretty ambitious production.   Set in a Catholic boarding school it covers a lot of ground:  coming out issues, love, secrets, crisis of faith, teen sex, death.  Props to the young cast and crew who did a superlative job.  This is truly a labor of love for these students, and they deserve a Thanksgiving break to eat like fools and sleep like infants when they head home this week.

So this morning I was ruminating on this show and began to imagine how people feel when a creative project is completed.  I include all of humanity in the creative process here: everybody has creative juice in them, and it is called sweat.  I count cooks, writers, actors, musicians, designers, mechanics, teachers, scrapbookers, laundry platform builders, basically everybody who creates something that didn’t exist before their effort.  I have a particular fondness for the inventor of  the nifty cardboard funnel that I used today to fill my brown leaf collection bags.   So simple and elegant… like an origami crane with a really lonnnnnng neck.

The spark of creativity is the easiest part.  That “stroke of genius” gives you the initial rocket burst of energy, but it is a real slog to bring the impulse to fruition.  Take my NaNoWriMo progress….. please!  The goal is 50K words by 11/30 and I’m hovering at 10K about now.  If I’m honest with myself it is clear that without Divine intervention (or solitary confinement) I won’t hit the 50K goal post, but I don’t feel disheartened.  Each time I plant my butt at the keyboard I find that I still have some creative juice and I can write more, imagine more, and retain some optimism that (I hope) will take me through the dry patches.  To paraphrase an old adage, “The harder I work, the more creative I get.”

Sure you feel good and proud about your work when it’s done, but how often do you take a moment to fully relish all the sweat, set-backs and occasional good luck that occurred in the process?  This goes for books, meals, students who can now grasp a complex concept, stage productions, and other priceless works of art.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, but don’t be afraid to sweat for your art — whatever your medium.

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Friday Night. Let the Great Tub Spin! Let the Words Tumble Out!

This says a lot about your life-stage when you are REALLY excited to get down on a Friday night by putting up a couple a’ loads of laundry and pounding out a couple thousand words at the keyboard.  Seriously, is this a country for old women or what?

But before I do this I must warm up on Can I Take a Nap First?, because I have been a “post delinquent” this week.   The hard truth is that I’ve just been lazy.  Not so lazy that I’d miss fun dinners with good and dear friends, but way too lazy to get up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later (or give up watching The Daily ShowSHAMELESS PLUG: The Daily Show is THE best written news show ever…. really, they say it’s comedy, but it is The Fool who speaks the truth).

And I started A Visit From The Goon Squad @ a week ago and I find myself saying, “Just one more chapter.”  I also find myself saying, “DAMMIT!  Why can’t I write like that?”   Then I remember that to compose good prose you have to actually write some words and then go back and edit them ruthlessly.  Which just brings me back to the original guilt for NOT working on my NaNoWriMo WIP.  But in the words of my home-improving, uber-optimistic Guitar Man, “I think we might have turned the corner.” With that inspiration, I’m fired up to get back on track and get my remaining 43,716 words out.

So thank you, my dozen corneas of followers,  for being my writing exercise warm-up this evening, and have a great weekend.

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I Got The Fever

…… for the 50,000 words that are NaNoWriMo.  My masochistic thanks to Digital Dame for getting me into this creative mess two years ago.  I did not “win” that year — only got to 28K words, but it gave me the strength to believe it could be done.  Last year I couldn’t do it, but I kept the flame alive and am going to make the attempt for 2011.  The NaNo folks say you should tell as many people as possible that you are crazy enough to try to squeeze enough time into each day to write 1,666 words.  Like dieting, you’ll feel more accountable for both the misery (and self-righteousness) during the exercise.  So I’m letting my half-dozen blog followers know so you can cheer me on or pelt me with virtual produce should I fall short.  My own family tries to ignore me in the hopes that I’ll doing something more in line with their own self-interest, but I know they really support anything I do that will keep me off the streets.

I’m feeling a little shy, but I will tell you that my story is about a group of superheros who are hiding in plain sight.   These fearless Guardians are always on the look-out for new recruits, and that is where the story begins….. because I haven’t thought any further than that yet.