Today is the last day of November, and it is also the day I’m posting my 30th post in as many days. So, happy NaBloPoMo to me — and to you, gentle Reader. Continue reading
Tonight my mother and I had a lovely, cultural sort of evening: We enjoyed listening to the Pittsburgh Symphony performing Mozart and Strauss, we stopped for a post-show cocktail and soaked up the downtown nighttime vibe, spotted the concert soloist and politely thanked him for a wonderful show, etc. etc.
You might think that we would continue in a similar lofty manner on the ride home, but you would be wrong. A tune from Spamalot popped up on iTunes, and I discovered that Mom had not yet heard any of the music of this wonder of Broadway.
So we listened to “The Song That Goes Like This.” (You can see a clip from it on this page.) Cracks me up every time.
After I dropped her off and headed home, I listened to the rest of the soundtrack. It turned out to be a nice fit for the start of NaBloPoMo. Think of the key themes:
- Always look on the bright side of life.
- One for all, all for one. Some for some and none for none. Slightly less for people we don’t like, and more for me.
- I’m not yet dead.
- Find your grail.
It’s a perfect beginning. Onward!
A few times today, I told people at PCPGH3 to try writing a blog post every day.
It’s an interesting discipline. When I’ve blogged daily, I’ve posted some rather boring stuff, but I’ve also created more interesting and unique content.
If you’re interested in trying the post-a-day practice, the perfect opportunity is just a few weeks away: NaBloPoMo.
National Blog Posting Month is the epicenter of daily blogging! People who want to set the habit of blogging by doing it every day for a month, including weekends, can come here for moral support, inspiration, and the camaraderie that only marathon blogging can provide.
You don’t need to do anything special to join in (other than post every day), but if you want to connect with others who are NaBloPoMoing, visit the NaBloPoMo and join.
Then let me know you’re in, and I’ll follow your adventure through your blog.
In March, there’s a blogging thing going on in which you post a list every day. Lists are
easy entertaining, so while I may not post 31 of them I’ll chip in with a few.
Lately I’m spending an inordinate amount of time crashed on the couch, watching movies. There are certain movie stars whose films I’ll watch without a moment’s notice, and there are others I refuse to watch. I write a lot on this blog about what I like, so let me do a bit of outlining of that which I don’t.
Beloved Movie Stars Whose Appeal Escapes Me
Spencer Tracy: Stodgy. Still can’t understand how he and Katherine Hepburn were a couple.
John Wayne: Ponderous. Paternalistic.
Gary Cooper: I agree he’s tall, but that’s about it.
It’s a short list, but my animosity is concentrated.
Today, I did not have to write a massive number of words for a crappy first draft of a novel. I didn’t have to draw anything. I planned to write a blog post, but I was not required to do so.
I’ve never been required to do any of those things, of course, not by any regulatory or other entity. The only person who has ever insisted that I had to undertake any creative endeavor has always been me. For a lot of people, that fact makes all the stuff I completed yesterday puzzling.
Here’s what I did: I wrote the first draft of a novel, with a word count of at least 50,000 words, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I made 30 drawings in 30 days, for DrawMo. And I posted at least one blog entry every day for 30 days, for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). You can find my initial rationale for doing all this in an earlier blog post.
In the rest of this post, I tell what happened this month, what I discovered, and what I plan to do next.
Ten in the morning, November 30. Fourteen hours to go, fifteen thousand words to go. I am cutting it really, really close.
UPDATE: 12:15pm: Now at 37,011 words, plus one more drawing completed. Time for lunch. Lunchtime entertainment: the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
UPDATE: 3:24pm: Up to 39,019 words. Need to increase the pace a little if I’m going to make it.
I’m doing other things during writing breaks: fielding calls from clients, working on our website portfolio, discussing a template design with Anthony. Every now and then I’m checking the most recent updates on the big news of the day, a hostage crisis at Senator Clinton’s campaign HQ in New Hampshire. I’m not feeling desperate enough to grab onto this event as fodder for my plot, fortunately. I hope the situation is resolved soon.
The last few thousand words I wrote are basically a tangent to the rest of the novel. I think they might work better as a short story, and once this is all over I will go back and extricate them, flesh the story out, and see what it looks like on its own.
UPDATE 4:40pm: I don’t think I can stomach any more coffee. Mom brought over some food for my dinner. Yeah Mom!
UPDATE 5:20pm: 40,000 words. Completely out of ideas. Time for dinner, with the hope that a new idea will pop up while I eat.
UPDATE 6:56pm: 41,033 words. No ideas, but still throwing words at the page, watching them stick.
UPDATE 7:56pm: 42,044 words. Also posted the drawings from the last few days and today to Flickr. Still four drawings to go. And of course about 8,000 words. Listening to an old Robert Palmer album (they are all old, yes, but this one is very old), "Sneaking Sally Through the Alley," which I think was produced by or features someone from Little Feat. Funky and bluesy, makes me want to dance.
UPDATE 8:55pm: 44,051 words.
UPDATE 9:20pm: 45,012 words. There are creases in my forearms where they rest on the laptop edge.
I’m listening to a CD called "In Loving Memory Of…." by a band called Big Wreck. I had seen a video by them late at night years back, liked the song, bought the CD without hearing any other songs, and for once liked the whole CD. I’ve never heard anything else by them since. Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, though, I can show you the video:
I remember now: the lead singer of Big Wreck = yummy.
And it looks like there are more videos — maybe they’re still making music? I’ll have to explore that … after I’m done with naNoWriMo.
UPDATE 10:19pm: 47,127 words.
UPDATE 10:46pm: 48,036 words. Closing in on the end.
UPDATE 11:36pm: 50,143 words and done!
The end was hairy, and although I meant to leave all the characters alive this year I ended up killing a bunch of them in the final hour. Very strange how that works. If I do more with this particular manuscript, I’m pretty sure the ending will change.
But for now, it is perfect. Now I have just four drawings to make to complete DrawMo on time. Excuse me.
UDATE: A bit after midnight: Drawings now finished and uploaded. DrawMo doesn’t have an official measuring device, so I confess I fudged a little and kept going past midnight. It’s still the same day if I haven’t gone to sleep yet, right?
I am one weary person — but a highly creative and dedicated weary person. I’ll write up some thoughts on the month over the weekend, when my hands don’t hurt so much and when I’m more alert.
I think I will continue with daily blogging through the end of the year. I’m enjoying the conversation, even if sometimes it seems I’m talking mostly to myself. My goal was to try and rediscover what I enjoyed about blogging, and that has been the most fulfilling goal I reached.
Thanks for coming along on this adventure with me!
It’s a quarter after nine pm, the second to last night of November. Here’s what I need to finish before midnight tomorrow night:
1. Write 19,692 words and have them verified by the NaNoWriMo word count tool (allow time for the crush of others also trying to verify at the last moment).
2. Post the several drawings made in the last couple of days, and draw and post ten more.
3. Post at least one blog entry tomorrow.
4. Remember to post on the NaBloPoMo website about the posts on this website.
None of that is too terribly hard.
Oh, I guess they sound hard. The main traits I need to make them happen are endurance, and courage. Endurance to stay awake and keep typing when I really, really would rather be sleeping or doing just about anything else; and the courage to be really, truly, definitely awful.
So let’s see how this evening goes. I’ll update this blog entry periodically with word counts and general reports. Check in via the comments if you’d like to cheer me on.
Our goal for the evening is 10,000 words — more than I’ve ever written in a single day. And here we go!
Update: 11:09pm: OK, so I was momentarily distracted by other blogs, and by the momentous launch of WearPittsburgh. Go, click on the Store tab, and buy yourself a shirt, then stock up on gifts for loved ones. The pierogie shirts are my favorites, as they spread the joy of this special food to the world.
But then I got my fingers going a little, and now we are 500 words or so closer to goal.
Which is not far, I know. We go on.
Thanks to everyone who has commented or sent an email of support. Without you, I would have given up and gone to sleep by now. Hmm, so maybe not so much thank you as damn you…. No, thank you! Onward!!
Update: 1:47am: Another thousand words. I felt my music selections were holding me back, as they were drifitng toward Elliott Smith. I do like the sad emo boys, but on this occasion the depressive, suicidal/mysteriously murdered subtext played poorly. I switched to Robert Palmer — he’s dead but died of natural causes, and somehow that was better. But I ran out of tunes. Jumped onto iTunes to buy some more, and somehow managed to nuke my iPod. It’s restoring now.
If I fail to finish this novel, I will blame iTunes. they have failed me in my hour of need.
I suppose I could tap into this huge pile of CDs that brought me solace for years before there ever was an iTunes….
Update: 3:00am: Brewed a pot of coffee, retrieved the iPod after it had mostly restored. Hate everything in the world right about now.
On a practical level, my hands feel mostly OK. The coffee is kicking in. The rest of the world seems to have gone to sleep, and left me to deal with this manuscript on my own. I’ve written 3,000 of the 10,000 words i’m hoping to complete tonight.
Once more into the breach, my friends.
UPDATE: 3:03am: Forgot to mention that I sketched a clock, the second of two this evening.
UPDATE: 3:13am: Another drawing done. Damn, they are so much easier to pull together than paragraphs of text. What’s that saying … a picture is worth what? Turns out to be just about correct, except they forgot to mention the time savings.
UPDATE: 3:38am: The novel, which started out as a fairly standard piece of fiction, has now devolved into some sort of Paul Auster/Dave Eggers/Bruno Maddox bit of meta-fiction, all self-reflective to the point of perhaps not being fiction at all. Have you read Bruno Maddox’s “My Little Blue Dress”? It’s witty and fun. Not deep, i’ll agree. But it reflects on the relationship between author and creation.
Another thousand words done. I notice that I’m having trouble capitalizing things correctly. Time for another drawing.
UPDATE: 4:24am: Another drawing, another thousand words. It’s interesting to witness my thoughts grinding down. Each thought is an effort, spelling is a challenge. I’m done for the night, and I’ll deal with the rest when I wake.
It is a quarter to midnight on a Wednesday night at the end of November. I’m sitting in my car, parked outside a strip mall on McKnight Road, a shopping district in the suburbs north of Pittsburgh.
I’m parked here because there’s a Starbucks here. The Starbucks is closed, but that’s fine with me because their wi-fi connection is still on, and I can get a signal even outside.
There’s also a Bruegger’s Bagels. They have free wi-fi, but I didn’t notice they were here until after I parked. They should make their signs brighter — more noticeable.
I had a night meeting in Oakland, and I’d forgotten to write my daily post beforehand. When I realized that I was going to miss my daily blogging, I tried to think of ways to get online:
- Go back in my friends’ house and ask if they could stay awake just a little longer, so I could write a blog post!
- Drive downtown and struggle with the free Pittsburgh wi-fi, and hope I figured it out before midnight!
- Call one of my stalwarts who live in the North Hills, wake them, and ask if they’d mind if I dropped by for just a few minutes to get online!
Naturally none of those would do.
Then I realized I could find a strip mall, find a Panera or a Starbucks/T-Mobile or some such, and be on the internet in moments. Pretty much any McDonald’s would help me out even. And I could continue to listen to my iPod over the car stereo while i wrote.
So here I sit, bathed in the glow of my laptop screen, scrunched behind the steering wheel of my rapidly chilling car outside an international mega-chain, typing away, connected to the world.
We live in amazing times.
Ooh, security guard coming. Gotta go!
I’ve mentioned before that "Murderers," currently playing at City Theatre on Pittsburgh’s South Side, is a terrific play and well worth your time and money, yes?
The play is three monologues, each by a different actor, each beginning with the sentence, "I am a murderer." The play is by Jeffrey Hatcher, a playwright with a strange and dry sense of humor that apparently is closely aligned with my own. He also wrote "A Picasso," which City Theatre put on last year and which I enjoyed quite a bit.
"Murderers" is even better. It’s full of slight asides, charming characters, murder and revenge and people saying very unreasonable things in very reasonable tones. The sets, costumes, sound, lighting and direction are all excellent, and the performances are layered, rich, and engaging. Plus, the intimate Lester Hamburg Studio is an ideal space for these intimate tales of life and death.
What did others think? City Paper loved the play too and the Tribune-Review admired it and wondered if a crime spree was bigger than imagined, while the Post-Gazette didn’t care so much for the play although Christopher Lawson admitted he laughed along with the rest of the audience. As for me, I suggest you find an evening in your busy holiday schedule to slip down to the South Side and take in this play, as an antidote to all that’s saccharine sweet about the holidays.
"Murderers" continues through December 22. Find more information, including how to get tickets, at the City Theatre website.
In other news of things I like, my close personal friends OK Go got a shoutout on the Simpsons this week:
NaNoWriMo update: You’ll note that the word count in the meter in the sidebar is speeding upward. I’m writing my pretty fingers to the bone. thank you to everyone who has offered encouragement. It may sound a cliche, but your words help me keep generating my words.
DrawMo update: My brother Anthony sharpened all my pastel pencils, so I’m set to churn out some pretty new things. And some ugly new things too — I don’t much care right now, as long as I catch up.
Steelers win. Worst ever Monday Night Football game, and possibly worst ever NFL game. But we won, and it counts.
Starting my NaNoWriMo writing for the day … now. Yeah, it sucks. Even my mom thinks I’m not going to meet the 50K goal. But she’s kind of a pessimist.
Will be drawing during breaks in writing.
Wish me luck, because I need it.