Archive for December, 2009

Saying Goodbye to 2009

As the holiday break slips away from me (already?!), I can’t miss the opportunity to post pics from our holiday trip down south.  Low country south, I mean.  Since there are too many pics to post all at once, I’ll throw them up in chunks so you can see our journey progress.  First up, our drive down to Savannah out of snowy, seriously snowy Maryland.


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We’re in the middle of a blizzard.  It is still blizzarding, in fact.  We’ve gotten somewhere between 15 inches and a crapload.  Here are some pics of our winter wonderland.

Greg and Donnie snowblow and shovel our driveway

We rarely have Christmas lights and snow at the same time

The above-mentioned crapload of snow

Lucky for us, it is warm and Christmas-y inside with new lamps and lotsa Christmas trees

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It is December 15.  I have only three work days left until the New Year and 16 days until I must determine my New Year’s promise to myself.  (In full disclosure, I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I appreciate the concept in the same way I enjoy horoscopes — look, don’t touch.)  That said, there was an article in the Post this weekend written by Ann Patchett, who wrote Bel Canto.  Bel Canto is on my list of top five favorite books.  I have read it a half a dozen times, and have referred to it on numerous other occasions to appreciate her writing, transitions, character descriptions, and more. 

That said, I was stunned to learn that an author at that stratospheric level of writing would have trouble generating the motivation (and time) to sit down and write.  And so I guess, if a 32-day resolution is worthwhile for Ann Patchett, it must be worthwhile for someone like me.

So resolved.

Read her article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/10/AR2009121003658.html

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A month of learning

November was meant to be the month of writing.  And I did write.  A lot.  I crammed as much as I could into two weeks before Tennessee, Canada, and the death grip took the month back from me.  I didn’t make it to 50,000, but I surrendered somewhere close to 40k, and I really don’t regret that I didn’t make it all the way to the end.  (Though the death grip did dramatically increase my daily levels of apathy, so that might be somehow related…)

I haven’t finished the draft of the novel, so I am going to keep plugging away until it is done.  (I suspect I am not even half done.)  I also haven’t reread anything I spun out last month, but I can guarantee most of it is pure crap. Even as I wrote certain sections, I thought to myself, well this will be the first section cut.   Nonetheless, it was an exercise in time management, and it taught me that it was possible to live life with work, the dogs, a husband, a commute, and writing, all crammed into my day like a closet in Brooklyn.

Just as valuable perhaps were the letters of motivation nanowrimo writers received throughout the month from real writers who told stories of their own struggles and confided their own failures.  No matter how many times a great writer tells me how difficult it was to write her novel, I still believe she is lying purely for the salvation of my self-esteem.  But eventually, having read enough writer accounts of the years they spent on their novels, a new reality has begun to settle in.

Which is why this account from a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer resonated so strongly.  Perhaps a year spent writing my little book in the corners of my days  is really not such a long time after all.  And perhaps there is still hope that my novel will find its voice among the rubbish I have typed so far.*  http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife/12/04/o.junot.diaz.becoming.writer/index.html

*In full disclosure, even when this book finds its voice, it will not win a Pulitzer Prize.  I am fully okay with that fact.

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Dog Park Day!

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