Thursday, November 1, 2007


today is the beginning of na-no-wri-mo. for the uninitiated, na-no-wri-mo is not an obscure pagan feast. it's not rooted in celtic lore, it's got nothing to do with gods, goddesses, the natural order of things or the mysteries of the universe. unless of course, you want it to.

na-no-wri-mo means something like national-november-write-a novel-in-a-month month. the idea of writing a novel in a month is something that has always intrigued me. a whole novel, tidy and done in a month! possibly only people who've actually attempted to write a novel at all can appreciate the seductive lure of a program that promises a novel in a month. a first draft, of a novel, to be sure... but a novel - or at least the completed draft of one - in a month is the kind of consummation not only devoutly to be wished in my world, but one of i've only ever dreamed of.

alas, na-no-wri-mo doesn't work for me.

first of all, november is probably the worst month of the year for me in terms of writing. november is the month i begin to gear up for The Holidays. from thanksgiving through twelfth night, we celebrate thanksgiving, hannukhah, christmas,the winter solistice, twelfth night, my wedding anniversary to Beloved, my youngest daughter's birthday, my mother in law's birthday and my little sister's birthday. i have baking to begin, presents to buy and wrap and send (my christmas list last year was 25 people - and that was just my immediate family - and doesn't include the birthday presents for the people above), meals to plan, logistics to execute. any writing i do in november tends to be in the form of a list. also, november only has 30 days. what were they thinking, whoever started this, to choose a month with only 30 days? if i really were to contemplate write a novel in a month, at least i'd pick a month with 31 days.

but the real reason i haven't tried yet is that stories just don't come that way for me. i can't force a story to come beyond a point. it's like trying to induce labor in a woman whose just not ready to give birth. you can do it, of course, if you apply enough of the right kind of chemical, but the process will be long and painful and tortured. i had that experience with silver's lure. i may not be real sure of what does work for me in terms of writing, but after silver's lure, i'm very sure of what doesn't.

but the idea of a draft... a whole completed draft... is such a delicious tease every year i struggle with the idea and every year reluctantly conclude november is just not good for me.

and so i bid my na-no-wri-mo sisters much luck, as many appropriately caffienated beverages as required, and perserverance on the road ahead. strength to your sword arms, sisters!

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

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