Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hooray! I'm a winner again, though my count and NaNo's count differ by about 250 words. Still, why argue with it--it's still over 50,000 words. And I did it in three weeks.
I'm happy with what I have right now and will wait until December to revise, since that's revision month. Then I seriously need to work on getting this published.
Most of the time, those of us who want to write seriously (meaning, for money and fame) allow too many things to distract us. I know I could use teaching, grading papers, family matters, and any host of distractions to keep me from the keyboard. Writing, for me, though, is somewhat cathartic and provides an outlet for all the tasks that suck up my time. When I'm writing for myself, I can escape to a world of my making and shape it according to my will (unless the characters hijack it--then I'm just along for the ride!); it's one of the few times I have a measure of control over what I'm doing. It's fun, for me, and I doubt that people who hate writing understand that.
The last part of November has been fraught with stress--papers to grade, advising for spring semester, as well as a myriad of other obligations. On top of that, my son has had health issues. He has a tumor on his spine, a Schwannoma, which is a tumor of Schwann cells that forms on the myelin sheath over the nerves. It can form anywhere in the body--this one is on his spine. It's a slow-growing tumor, so it's been there for a while.
He will have surgery soon, probably an all-day affair, and he might need two surgeries--one from the back and a second from the front--because the tumor seems to have wrapped around his spine. I'll be in Austin for part of December for the surgery and for his recovery.
Once finals are over and I've posted grades, I'll work on revising the novel. Right now, I need to concentrate on my son and on helping him get back on his feet.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have time to spend with your family and friends, eat tons of no-calorie, no guilt holiday food, and relax for at least a day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Last November, the students who tuned into my blog had to put up with me yammering about NaNoWriMo and had to endure endless updates of my word count.

NaNoWriMo takes place every November. For 30 days, NaNos write their brains out in an attempt to write a short novel in a month. To win, one needs to write 50,000 words between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. Editing and rewriting take place in December. The goal is just to get the words down.

I didn't provide constant updates this year. I'm not sure I mentioned it at all, except on my Facebook page. But, I am happy to say, I've reached 50,351 words, which is 351 words more than I need to "win" NaNo. And we have another week to go.

Last year, I wrote about 64,000 words by the time Nov. 30 rolled around. I have no idea how many words I'll end up with this year, but the novel's not finished. The story unfolded so much easier than the one I wrote last year. I like the characters; I like everything about it; I don't even mind that it's ended up being a fantasy/romance. That's just the way it played out. Sometimes, you just have to let the characters have their way.

So, here's my badge for this year. I hope, on November 30, to provide a word count update along with a winner's badge. nano_09_red_participant_100x100_1 Am I proud of myself? Hell, yeah! To do this for the second time in two years is something to be proud of.

Now, if I can just get this one published...that's my goal, and I'm going to do my best to make it happen.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Grading, Writing, and Meeting the Relatives

Usually, my life is routine.  I don't think it's boring--it's just "settled."  I teach on campus two days a week, teach two online classes, grade papers, mow the grass, clean the house...

Every so often, I have a hectic week full of meetings, lunches, errands, and sundry things that take me out of my routine.  Those weeks wear me out, and I'm more than willing to go back to my routine.

This weekend was one of those hectic ones.  I had a Guy Fawkes bonfire on Friday night that broke up around 10:30pm; I had to clean up, wash dishes, and get the cats' food bowls filled for the weekend, because my mother and sister were coming to pick me up around 8am Saturday to go to my uncle's 70th birthday in a town called Montz, LA.

Here's a picture of the funny Guy I made to burn in effigy:

GF1 On Guy Fawkes Day, Nov. 5, in England, effigies of the Guy are burned all over England.  If you don't know about this holiday, Google it! 

We had fun, ate a bit, drank a bit, and talked a great deal.  I love spending my evenings with my friends.

On Saturday morning, I headed south with my mom and sister.  My sister drives a Tahoe, which is too big for me to maneuver, so she drove there and back, bless her heart, with my mother as the GPS system.  That was enough to convince my sister to buy a REAL GPS system for the next trip we take.

I took quite a few pictures, which I've posted on a Facebook Group Page for my family.  But here's one of my uncle and his kids:

ripskids And here's a picture of my godfather's daughter and her daughter:

Janey_Olivia I hadn't seen Janey since she was a baby, so I was glad to have a chance to see her as an adult and meet her three children.  I also had some pictures of her father that I emailed to her.  He died several years ago, and I miss him terribly.

I discovered that many of my cousins resemble my immediate family, which shouldn't be a shock, since we share some of the same genes.  But, sometimes, the resemblance is shocking.  Here's my brother Mike, on the left, next to my cousin Alan, on the right.  The resemblance in person is more striking than, perhaps, is evident in this picture:

Mike_Alan2 But even my sister, Mary, who wasn't there, noticed the resemblance.

I had a great weekend, which, of course, put me behind on my grading.  But, really, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  I had a great weekend.