I will die this month.
I will also meet new people, rescue and be rescued, laugh at least a little, and cry a lot. I will have adventures and find peace and discover love and maybe even a little joy. I will teach and be taught, fail miserably, and have glorious success. I will be afraid, happy, miserable, confused, and amused. I will forgive and be forgiven.
This is the month of living dangerously – the month of NaNoWriMo. Every November I accept the challenge from the wackadoodles at NaNoWriMo.org to write a 50,000 word novel completely within the November calendar. This year I’m trying something new. Rather than my go-to western historical fiction, this story is a few years in the future and the power grid has been fried. [I hope this explains my search history to anyone who has access to my technology. “How to get out of a bear trap?” “How long until dead bodies begin to smell bad?” And I know my daughter is relieved to now understand why a show called “Doomsday” is suddenly on the DVR.]
And maybe it’s because of the intensity of doing all that writing within a 30-day schedule that causes me to LIVE more in it than my other writing. I don’t hear anything on the radio when I’m driving because I’m writing in my head. I have a tendency to drift off from conversations if something just triggered an idea. I will suddenly flail about as if having an apoplectic fit if a word or name or idea came to me and I need to write it down before it escapes my brain never to be heard from again.
1,667 words a day is what’s required. Some days I’ll do more, some days much less. I’ve not always been successful at NNWM and I’m making a connection between my living in it and my success rate. Since the villain in my story is a solar flare and I look at the sun differently now, I’d say that’s a good sign. I’m putting extra canned goods on the grocery list and thinking of stocking up on filters for our water purifyer. Already eyeballed a spot for a garden in the back. Too bad our HOA doesn’t allow us to keep chickens.
So I think I might make it this year. But even if I don’t, my life will be better for having lived in that other world for a month. I’ve said this so often, I need to get it printed on a t-shirt: I’m a Better Person When I’m Doing Story. I’m happier, feel more fulfilled, even if I do suddenly shout random words and my eyes go two directions at once.
To add to the special this year, I have a partner in crime. The twelve-year-old in my house and I sat together last night, keyboards a-tappin. I looked over at her and watched her face: eyebrows together in a frown, lower lip pulled up between her teeth, fingers hovering over the keys. Then the eyes widened and the fingers starting flying and story started happening. And she smiled.
Yup. Make that two t-shirts.