Monday, November 2, 2009

DeNae's Month o' Gratitude

Hello, one and all!

I have done something so completely out of character, so totally not me that anyone reading this in a book based on my life would roll their eyes in irritation and scoff, "Yeah, right. Like THAT would ever happen."

I followed LT Elliot's advice and signed up for the NaNoWriMo writing challenge. I know, who am I, and what have I done with that lily-livered chicken butt known as the real DeNae?

There is one feature of all of this that is pure, vintage ME, however. I decided to take this challenge based on the fact that I am completely unqualified to do what I'm attempting to do. Yep. That's me in a nutshell.

"NaNoWriMo" is a complicated acronym for "National Novel Writing Month," and is an opportunity for fiction writers to vomit out a 50,000 word, 175 page novel in just 30 days. The part that appealed to me the most was where the sponsors assured us that producing truckloads of crap was not only expected but encouraged, the idea being that revisions and editing would be saved for December.

"Well, heck," I said to everyone currently residing inside my head, "I can do THAT! I write that kind of dreck every time I sit down to a computer. Even my grocery lists are an embarrassment to the literary world!"

So, being a NON-fiction, NON-novelist, I naturally assumed I was perfect for the job. Considering that my dream essay is right around 49,000 words anyway, I figured a novel couldn't be that much different from my regular writing, at least in terms of length and depth of subject matter. Of course, LT's novel will be beautiful, because she has not only a poet's soul but apparently his laptop as well, and my novel will read like someone strung together 15,000 bumper stickers. But I'm totally OK with that, since I have honestly read some pretty good stuff while sitting at intersections waiting for the light to change.

What this means, however, is that what little creative energy I have is now going to be divided between writing a novel and coming up with excuses as to why we're heading into our third consecutive week without milk in the fridge.

("Week Two: Cows Strike Until a Flu Strain is Named After Them".)

But because November is one of my favorite months, sort of the calm before the holiday storm, I didn't want to neglect my blog or all of my blogging pals. So, for the next 30 - hang on, what day is it? Blast, I'm already a day late. Typical.

OK, for the next 29 days, I'm going to publish a list of some of the things I'm thankful for. Tis the season, after all.

This is my list. I don't expect you to be able to relate to everything, but for goodness' sake, please don't comment with, "Are you off your rocker? Why would ANYONE be thankful for THAT?" Instead, fill my comments box with some of the off-beat, not-always-mainstream things that make your days, your life, a little sweeter.

And I'll be back in full swing come December 1, so hang on to your hats boys and girls! Without any major music obligations for the first time in roughly 75 years, I'll have oodles-slash-gobs of time to goof off with you while we procrastinate doing our Christmas shopping! Woot-woot for not shopping!!

Anyway, without further ado, here are the first TWO things I'm grateful for.

1: I am thankful for insurance companies. I know I have not properly appreciated them in the past, calling them something like "Satan's reward for causing The Fall" and including them with Nazi gas chambers and 80's hairstyles on the list of Mankind's 50 Worst Ideas. But since my 16-year old caused an accident last Thursday that otherwise might have bankrupted us to the degree that we would have been forced to live in our car had it not been wiped out in, you know, an accident, I have amended my opinion of the insurance industry. I now believe it is only a semi-evil empire, bent on global domination and dedicated to the almost fanatical pursuit of breaking the human spirit. That's an upgrade, I promise.

2: I am thankful for lap-band surgery. That's right, the cat's outta the bag. Nearly two years ago, I had this procedure done in Mexico (do NOT start, I mean it) and while I have only lost maybe 35 pounds since then, I can pretty much assure you I would have been up 60 had I not taken the plunge. Until then, I was testing the theory that you could eat unlimited quantities of junk food while simultaneously following a rigorous fitness plan called "sitting on your butt until the chair fuses to your hips" and NOT literally explode under the pressure. While the scientific community mourned the loss of my research, on the whole I think I made the right decision. Not only that, since I had the surgery, the only thing I can keep down is, you guessed it, junk food. So it's basically been a weight loss plan made in heaven for yours truly.

Tune in tomorrow for the third installment in "DeNae's Month o' Gratitude." Seriously, you won't want to miss it. It is going to be BRILLIANT. If I remember to write it, that is...

28 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Wow, I really should not have read this while eating a ginormous Swiss mushroom burger.

Lara said...

Good luck with NaNo-thingy. I am impressed with everyone who is attempting it.

And, December? You said December? I can't fathom that it could really be just around the corner. So not ready.

I am thankful for Daylight Savings Time ending yesterday. I walked to the bus stop this morning in the LIGHT. Definitely grateful for that!

Happy Mom said...

Oh, lady, I sooo relate with the whole hiney fusing to the chair syndrome! That was my lament on my blog just today!

I'm impressed with the novel in a month thing. Maybe next year, I'm still too chicken. You're my hero!

Hel said...

I am grateful for gastric by-pass surgery because if I'm honest with myself (and I always am *cough*), I wouldn't have looked twice at Dal had he not had it.

L.T. Elliot said...

Hooray for Nano-ing! You're going to do awesome! (Thank you for the beautiful comments, btw. You're way too nice, DaNae.)

I laughed myself all kinds of silly over the insurance company item. =]
Way to go on those 36 lbs. That's hard work!

Karen said...

I'm grateful for NaNoWriMo. For without it, I'd have no excuses for constantly talking to myself and guzzling coca cola by the gallon.

Best of luck to you this month!

Lisa said...

Junk food is a gift from heaven, I don't care what anyone says! Good luck with the Nanowrimo (sounds a bit like a disease, and really looks like one when you don't write it with all the requisite capital letters!)...I can't wait to read it!

charrette said...

So this is why I'm a slacker and you ROCK: Not only are we both committing to Nanowrimo this year, but I'm planning on a full blog hiatus while you are posting pieces of gratitude every day? How do you do it?

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

If Charette's a slacker, then I must be near comatose because I'll just stick to the bumper sticker literature in small installments.

And with no disrespect meant to your gratitude list, I'm a little surprised you trusted your life to Mexican doctors after your lovely medical experiences in Puerto Rico. You're a brave woman.

Melanie J said...

I am grateful that I love my husband not to have killed him when he accidentally woke us all up an hour early this morning. Because with him gone, the dishes and laundry would soon overtake and crowd the rest of us out of the house and we'd be homeless, albeit able to sleep in when we wanted to.

The Garden of Egan said...

Wow! A whole month-o-gratitude???? I can't wait!
I suggest that you carry it on through December and tell the family that there won't be Christmas shopping done this year because you are too busy being grateful. I think that sounds reasonable and they would totally get into the spirit of things. "God bless us everyone"

Migillicutty said...

Mad cow disease, HELLO? (my dad uses that one as his excuse for not giving blood (he doesn't like needles))

AS Amber said...

I'm so proud of you!!! And I'm so excited to read your bumper sticker novel!!

I'm thankful for Halloween. And that my kids go trick or treating with their dad all night long and then bring home a bumload of loot for me to rifle through while they're at school.

And I'm thankful for Butterfingers. Fun-size, of course.

MommyJ said...

I am so happy you are writing all month... you don't give your words enough credit. As for me... I uh, won't be. :) trying to blog more? Yes. Writing 50,000 words in one month? That's a mammoth undertaking. I wish you well!

MommyJ said...

Okay, just for curiousity's sake, i went and checked... when I wrote my manuscript... the first draft took three months and it was about 90,000 words. And I felt like I wrote all the time. So, you are amazing for taking this on. I think my family would abandon me if I tried! They feel like they've just gotten me back from my happy writing land.

And something that I'm grateful for... southern women that abandon poor grammar, even though their heritage relies heavily upon ill formed phrases... as opposed to college educated, southern women, teachers, dental hygienists, bank tellers, that insist on saying "We done this" just because that's what their grandpappy said.

Kazzy said...

I did NANO three years ago and had a great experience, but in order for it to be a really meaningful thing you need to really commit to the 1700 words a day, 50k by the end. It was way cool!

And I have a friend who got the lap band surgery too and has been happy! Two years ago in Mexico...

Jessica said...

I can't believe how many people you know are writers. I am not one of them. You have an impressive group of commenter's .

I am grateful for Sesame Street and a son who watches for 1 hour everyday allowing me to mess around on the computer.

Annette Lyon said...

I am your official NaNo cheerleader.

Go, DeNae!!!!!! Wooot!!!!

Anna said...

I'm completely grateful for this post and the inspiration for a great way to count my blessings this month.

Uptown Girl said...

I'm thankful for inspirations in blogland that get me thru the boring work day. And also for the new music on my ipod that I stole from my roomie's laptop.

Good luck with your novel, that is very exciting. Can't wait to hear how you do. I'd love to do that... someday.

R Max said...

DeNae! I've lost 25 lbs in 27 days on the homeopathic HCG diet!

And I am sure that you can write "that kind of dreck" but you are sooo much better than dreck. Or Shrek. Or somethin...

Brillig said...

Hi, DeNae. I'm Brillig. I've had the whole world telling me I need to come and hang out here with you, so here I am. And yes, you had me laughing my head off after just one post ("Cow's Strike Until Flu Strain is Named After Them"--HAHAHAHAHA). Anyway, I'm thrilled to meet you. I'm engaging in the insanity of NaNoWriMo too this year. Crossing my fingers for both of us...

That Girl said...

I actually thought of you when I first heard it was NaNo month. I hoped you would take the plunge. I will eagerly lap up anything you have to offer, beb.

Also, I love insurance companies. I admit it. (Even if it's only on your comment box ....)

Jess said...

Oh yea.. I am so on Nanowrimo!!! Im gonna look you up!! But in case I cant find you.. Im on as jessleonard... =) If you want to connect!!

(Im trying to work on my book as I post this... cant you tell.. lol... Im falling behind!!! AhhH!!!! )

M-Cat said...

YESSS! I am guaranteed a post from my funniest writer every day! Life just looked bright for a sec!

I'm thankful you are taking the challenge

Kristina said...

I am a stalker on your blog, but want to share a recent literary discovery that has changed my point of view about writing and about life. If you have not read it already, I highly suggest reading Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg (1986, 2005). It is a fast, helpful, liberating book about subtracting rules for writing, not adding them. You are an incredibly talented writer, and you and Natalie might just hit it off.

DeNae said...

Hey, Kristina P, check out the new Kristina at the bottom of the comments' list. SHE actually wrote something helpful and supportive, whereas YOU waved a mushroom burger in my face.

New Kristina, you're now my favorite Kristina. I'm sorry, Pulsipher. That's the way the burger bounces.

New Kristina, thank you for your suggestion! I'm going to order that book TONIGHT!!

(Let's talk about that other Kristina and giggle behind our hands and stuff.)

tammy said...

The new Kristina is my SIL. You should like her. I love her.