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Monthly Archives: November 2016
Well, I did it again. This was my 6th Nanowrimo. Six books x 50,000 words or more in 30 days. The first time it was murder. The rest were hard and every time I seemed to finish on the 30th of November. But this year I took a different approach. I didn’t exactly write a novel. I wrote about me, and my life. Again it was my son Robert who got me thinking about the subject. A few years ago he gave me a book about writing memoirs as a present, and a hint I suppose.
The novel I wrote last November I had edited down to about 47,000 words, but then spent another 7 months finishing it, which brought it to 160,000 or more. It started as a sequel but now I think it will just be one book. I was so busy writing it that I had no time to come up with a plot for a new novel for this year’s Nano. Then it occurred to me to try something different and see if it was possible to write a memoir. Turns out it was. I had some days of 4500 words and I had to stop because I got too tired to keep writing, even though my head was still full of words. I hit 50k today, but it’s not done yet, as I have a lot more I want to tell. It has been the easiest book so far, because the story is there for the telling. If I could invent fiction this quickly I’d write a book a month, a cheap best seller (in my dreams).
Here, for those of you who yearn for typewriter content, I offer my opinion on one of the best machines to write on. This after having collected over 80 or more typewriters and testing every one. The one I used most often this month and for the last part of my last novel was:
The Olympia Traveller! Yes, Traveller is misspelled in the name, maybe on purpose, who can say. But this is one great piece of engineering. I didn’t like it at first, a few years back when I got it for $20, but over the years I’ve got it out and kept testing it now and then. One day it started to feel just right and suddenly I got it, the whole feel of it and the touch and rhythm. Now I am a big fan. I’d say it beats the full size Olympias any day. The more I look at how it was made the more impressive it gets. I also have a script version but you can’t scan the pages, so I don’t use it for writing books, only letters. I also like the 11 character pitch a lot. I can get 600 or more words on a page without having to stop.
Here’s page one of my memoirs:
NOVEL #7 NOVEMBER 2016
The idea is this, every day write a journal, and from those thoughts will flow the story of one month in my life, during which time I will have spewed out a ton of interesting crap! So, here goes:
This is November. It sucks, mostly. There is nothing good about November that I can remember. It starts the day after Halloween, which for me was once a big deal, now not so much. Now in fact, I try to hide from it. This year we drew the curtains and turned off the light outside. Even so, one poor stupid sap rang the bell in hopes of goodies. Margie said “Don’t answer” but I felt some sense of responsibility, why I can’t explain, so I went down to the door just to see why someone was dumb or desperate enough to ring a bell when there was no pumpkin in the window and all was dark. I didn’t get to ask however as the kid, dressed as a cop, had already started leaving, no doubt intent on trying his luck at every door, no matter how dark or pumpkin-less they might be. He turned my way when I opened the door and said, “sorry, I don’t have anything”, by which time he was gone.
But then there were no more trick or treaters, and soon it was over, except for the distant sound of fire crackers which went on for what seemed like hours. Firecrackers used to thrill me too, when I was ten. After that, not so much. My kids never had them, as I refused to buy them, thinking by that time that they were a stupid idea. But they didn’t seem to mind, they were mostly concerned with candy. Halloween is in October however, so it is irrelevant to a discussion of November. October is a nice month, usually. This year it wasn’t. It rained a record amount, and there were no owls about.
So, Tuesday November began with a day of rain. All day I was bothered by the thought that I had no ideas for a novel. For the past 5 years every November has created a novel, which has taken me the entire month to write. It all began when Robert told me he was going to write a novel in 30 days, and why didn’t I join him? I’d never heard of NaNoWriMo, but it seemed like a good idea, so away I went. That first book The Sexy Synesthete, was hard, I mean really tough going.
I started out with a premise that I had written in a small moleskine notebook about a month before, in which I observed a man at Swans who seemed to be nervously waiting for someone. Then a sexy woman arrived. She was ridiculously sexy in fact, which might explain why he seemed so nervous. So that became the first paragraph of my first novel. Later I moved it in the….
50,000 more words, etc….
Today in the park, I saw some new wildlife at long last. I can’t fathom why the past month or so has seemed so utterly barren of birds out there. But today all seems suddenly better. There was a Great Blue Heron preening as I walked out onto the floating bridge. Then a Cormorant came along.
Nothing exciting, I carried on to a bridge over the creek that flows out of the lake.
Then I spied the Hawk in a tree. Haha! It was back. I stepped off the path and took a picture with the long lens, then hurried forward. By the time I reached the tree in question the hawk was up circling.
Nearby I saw a Cat on the path.
I carried on, and came to a Spider that had just strung a line of web across the path. It must have just done so as only minutes prior several runners came along from that direction, and the web was at chest height.
Further walking and I detected a soft squeaking noise Looking up I saw a Woodpecker excavating a deep hole in a dead branch. It went right inside and came out with a beak full of wood fibre.
Carrying on I saw another Cat in the field, and it seemed to be waiting for a Mouse to come along.
Not far beyond I came to a man holding a Snake he’d found beside the creek. He was looking down at another Snake in the leaves. He told me that he’d seen a Barred Owl yesterday. So they are here, but I haven’t seen them yet.
Besides this there were numerous Towhees, Tits, Sparrows, Robins, Gulls and Squirrels black and grey. Also a man taking pictures, and another one shoveling wood chips from a pile into a wheelbarrow.
Now I must to my typewriter to write my daily words for NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it 5 times already, so it’s a habit now. This year I’m trying something different, a memoir… if only I could remember everything.
I was 11, and had been learning the guitar for less than a year. My guitar was bought for me by my Mom at a cost of $10, which in retrospect was a fair sum then. However, it was a real piece of junk. The neck was huge, the action way too high, the tuners impossibly stiff, flat fingerboard, bridge coming off. But I learned on it despite all its faults. I was crazy for music then, and I’m still at it. But this isn’t about the guitar, it’s about the music that inspired me, and specifically one incredible song. This song I loved, and it was the first one I learned to play (and still love). It has a number of interesting and catchy twists, the product of uncanny musical creativity, which of course is now known by every living being. Anyhow, here it is live from this day: November 4, 1963 – 53 years ago. Ladies and gentlemen…. THE BEATLES!