Monday, November 24, 2008

Nanowrimo Update #2

I'm days away from the end of National Novel Writing Month and I am way behind on my 50,000 word count. However, at least I've started writing again. That's right, I'm at 19,997 words today. I'm spending a lot of time in the mornings writing and, thankfully, the words are coming fast.

Will I complete the goal by the deadline? Only time will tell. I have to leave time for life--you know, things like house cleaning and job seeking, but still, anything is possible in these heady days of novel writing month. I have a warm cat laying beside me and a warm iBook sitting in my lap. The day is overcast and calm. What more can I ask for, really?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

. . . Neither has Shakespeare!

It is over half way through NaNoWriMo and I am way behind on my word count for my novel. This reminds me of a postcard I have propped up on a bookshelf, "So I haven't written much lately! Neither has Shakespeare."

There have been several factors delaying my writing. The most important is the job hunt. Even when I'm not actively looking for a job or working on some aspect of the search, I still feel guilty taking time to write a novel. It is funny. Being unemployed should give me no excuse and yet it is the very lack of a job which keeps me from writing. I'm at just under 10,000 words. If I'm to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, I'll have to get writing!

Speaking of Shakespeare, I'm a member of the San Diego Shakespeare Society and on this past Monday we had a fun event. It was called the Shakespeare Musicale and was a performance of music from Shakespeare's plays. I had helped in the planning of it a little and I gathered images which were then projected from my computer up onto the wall behind the performers. The images were timed with cues in the script so on Monday I was up in the tech booth in the back, hitting a button to move to my next image and hoping it would all work out. It did! The show went really well. I have been enjoying being a part of this group. It is a new volunteer position for me but a very enjoyable one. There are pictures of the event online, if you are curious.

And, one last note, the Jules Verne book which is making a tour of the world in 80 days or less has left Europe and is heading to Asia. It will make it to us eventually. Stay tuned for more information.

Meanwhile, I have to get back to writing, both here and for my novel! Shakespeare didn't get to be the Bard by not finishing his writing. His excuse for not writing much lately is because he is dead. I'm not dead, just unemployed, and I hope to fix that soon, --so off to write my novel!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Guest Post at How Not To Write

My first guest post is now LIVE over at How Not to Write! Jamie very kindly offered a bunch of NaNoWriMo writers a chance to win a "halo" (which means he donated to the NaNoWriMo cause in our names) and an opportunity to write a guest post.

Since I am currently looking for work, donating to any cause is a bit beyond my pocketbook at the moment, but I think it is a worthy cause. I was happy to win my halo and know that a donation went in for me.

Also, it is an honor to be on Jamie's blog. I started reading it only a few months ago, but I've enjoyed the posts.

Please hop on over and see my guest post and while you are there, look around.

For those of you who have come over to my new little blog from HowNotToWrite, Welcome! More posts will be coming your way soon, if you come back here again!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update #1

I have about 2.5 chapters done on my novel. I am a bit behind on the word count, but that is mostly because I can't write much on the weekends and the start of this week was unusually busy. I hope to be up to speed soon.

I am presenting at an academic conference at the end of the week, but since I will have my laptop with me, I should be able to continue writing.

I hope that other NaNoWriMo writers are having fun on this first week. This is usually the easiest week, but we'll see how we're all doing in Week 2 when it can be harder to keep going.

Hang in there!

PS: It's Tuesday, Nov 4, if you are a registered voter in the USA--go out and vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Around the World in 80 Days (or Less)

Jules Verne wrote a book entitled Around the World in 80 Days. Many people know it mainly from the movie versions, but it basically tells the tale of a man who makes a bet that he can travel around the world in 80 days. Since this is set in 1872 (the book came out in 1873) the adventures of Phileas Fogg as he sets out from London and travels around the world would have seemed marvelous to his time.

My husband is a big fan of Jules Verne and is a member of the North American Jules Verne Society (he was a board member and newsletter editor in past years). We collect Verne books and like to watch Verne movies.

He heard about an interesting project where a man in Portugal who owned a nice early copy of Around the World in 80 Days wanted to ship his book around the world in 80 days or less. In fact, he wanted to have various fans get the book, sign it, take pictures of it with important landmarks in the area, and then mail it to the next destination and see how quickly the book can get around the world.

We will be the American West Coast stop for the book. It has just left England and is heading to France. It should be fun to participate in this little project.

The blog following the progress of the book is in Portuguese and English and contains pictures of the different stops as they are sent in.

I'll post info about the project again when we receive the book.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Get Off My Lawn! Or why I didn't give out Halloween candy

I like Halloween, really. I usually have two full buckets of candy waiting--mostly the good stuff, although I have "filler" of tootsie pops and other cheaper things in there too (especially to give to teenagers).

I often do at least one pumpkin (sometimes two). I dress in costume. I like this holiday just fine.

However, this year I didn't carve a pumpkin or give out candy.

There are several factors:

1. Expense: Let's face it. I am looking for a job right now and cutting costs is important. However, that isn't the real reason. I have bought candy before in lean years.

2. Other Events:
We work on a steam train which did a special event on Halloween so my husband and I dressed up and went there right after my husband's work. Then we went to a Halloween-themed symphony. There is no reason why we can't go out and have some fun (and help the community too, with the train event).

3. Last Year: However, the real reason I changed my plans this year probably has a lot to do with last year's Halloween.

We live near a high school, so every year we get a lot of teenagers who stop by for candy. Last year, however, it was a bit out of control. Starting at 2pm, teenagers were crossing my garden and knocking on my door (I know since I was working on my dissertation at home). None of them were in costume.

Two were football players and at least acted ashamed when I asked about their lack of costumes. They told me their uniforms were their costumes. I told them I'd give them candy since I should have known it was just a costume and they couldn't possibly be on the team; they stammered a little and looked embarrassed, showing they had some feelings of shame. Most of the others didn't even have the decency to look embarrassed.

This sort of behavior continued until 10pm. Over half of those who came to my door weren't in costume. Groups of teenagers, mostly with no other kids and no costumes, came to beg. I had 8 year olds in normal t-shirt and jeans asking for candy. I had mothers with kids who held out their own bags and when I hesitated, they sometimes said it was for their "other kid who stayed home" or sometimes pointed to the baby in the stroller (often under 1 year of age) and said it was for the baby. Uh huh, your six month old wants my candy bar. Right, lady.

I feel like a cranky old lady shaking her fist at those "whippersnappers," but if people can't bother to dress up for Halloween, why do they think they should be given candy?

I enjoyed trick or treating as a kid, but I had to give it up when I got older because it wasn't something that teens and adults did--and I knew it. The last year I went out with a friend in costume we were both a bit tall for our age and we got comments about being a little old for Halloween. I knew that year would be our last--and I was 11 or 12. I may dress in costume now, but I don't expect strangers to give me candy at their doors.

Last year, I gave the better candy (in larger quantities) to the small kids in costume. I grudgingly gave the cheaper candy to the adults and teenagers. I gave cheaper candy to those without costume mostly out of fear of being "tricked" or otherwise harassed.

I guess I'm just tired of it. So this year I plead guilty to some serious Halloween Humbug. We went to participate in the Halloween Train at PMRR and then went to enjoy a concert. We saw lots of costumes and had fun. We even ended up on stage as finalists in the costume contest.

I enjoyed it more than getting up every few minutes to face a group of non-costumed 16 year olds who are shoving pillowcases at me and begging for candy.

If that makes me a cranky old lady prematurely, so be it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaNoWriMo Begins!

Let the trumpets sound. All over the world, writers sat down today to their keyboards, typewriters, and notebooks and started writing their novels.

I'll be updating my progress here throughout the month. I'm really looking forward to participating.

If you are doing NaNoWriMo, consider adding me to your buddy list. I'm Nancy_Drew over there (and there is a link to my page on the left if you click on the image for National Novel Writing Month).

If you are not doing NaNoWriMo, you should consider it. It should be a blast.