Sunday, November 8, 2009


It's been ten years since I left Madison County, and I really haven't missed it much. I haven't had much reason to return, and have only been back a handful of times. Faiyaz has been there twice I think...both times to visit a friend with me who lives just off the interstate. I grew up on what was termed 'roller coaster road', as I kid I lost at least ten dogs to teenagers and adults speeding over those two hills. I ran wild through the woods, I'd bike the 5.5 miles into town or the 6 miles to my friend Donna's house. We never had cable TV, and sometimes we didn't have AC in the summer. I wore ratty hand-me downs with bleach stains because that was all I had. I was never popular, actually the opposite. I would never move back to Madison, for a myriad of reasons. The biggest of these is race. Racism is still a major issue there, and that's something I don't want my amazing girls ever to be exposed to.

But as I've worked on this latest book, I'm finally appreciating the other-worldly beauty of the deep south. It's like writing about a foreign country. As I expose my main character, who is a 17 year old who has spend the last 13 years in New York to rattle snakes, swamps, and alligators, and tonight the bizarre practice of spraying hunting clothes with deer urine, I am missing Madison a little. I'm not a country music person, but tonight I've been listening to "Chattahoochee" by Alan Jackson. Very popular shortly before high school, I can remember a group of girls at Pinetta Junior High climbing on a bench and singing this song while dancing to it. I haven't thought about that for I can't count how many years.

Tonight I planned out a scene of my novel to take place on the Swanee river, at Five Holes in Lee. Five Holes is one of those off the charts hang outs you get in small towns. There are five connected sink holes, some with water in them, and a sandy patch on the edge of the river. Back when I went there, a giant rope hung from a tree limb, the end of which was knotted. You'd swing out over the river, and jump off. I remember the day I decided to swim across the river. I could see the far bank, it didn't seem that far, so I did it. The whole time the group I was with screamed for me to come back, I wouldn't make it, there would be alligators, there would be moccasins...after that day, every time I'd go I'd swim across the river. No one ever went with me, it was just my thing. I'm excited to use that place. "Chattahoochee", even though it's a different river and it's the story of a young man, is a great song for my experiences at Five Holes.

I feel like I'm a different person now. I think if I did revisit Madison at this point of my life I'd be more like my main character than someone returning after a long absence. I am glad that I'm recording snippets of what that part of my life was like, and what that place is like.

I just wish I had some photos to share with all of you of Madison. If I ever do go back, I'll be sure to pack my camera.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update (aka: What Was I Thinking?)

Ever since falling in love with the adventures of Meg Dare earlier this year, I've made it to a wonderful place, and into the best writing rhythm of my life. Namely, I always desire and am willing to write. Well, maybe I should rephrase that. I always feel the need and the urgency to write, thereby enabling me to take advantage of all the odd snips of time I can siphon out of a day. If Anjali is zoned out on TV and I'm feeding Nadira in the high chair (she now feeds herself, I just dump food on the tray) then I'm writing. If Anjali is at preschool and Nadira is napping, then I'm writing. If Nadira is napping and Anjali is absorbed in an art project or playing with her doll house, then I'm writing. If they are both in bed and hubby's working late as usual, then I'm writing. It's urgent. I must do it. You get the idea.

So when I found out about National Novel Writing Month, I thought that would be fantastic! After all, my usual word count commitment is 2000 anyway, writing 50k in a month wouldn't be bad at all, right?

I'd forgotten about the other thing that can happen with my little snippets of time I steal. They can all disappear. POOF! Kids can be sick, preschool can be closed, there can be a sudden shortage of sleep, there's an election and we have to go vote (after an annoying round of automated calls to remind us to go vote) the left overs in the frig can run out, roofers can come and bang on the roof right above Nadira's crib during nap time. The dog can chew through the cable wire, taking away the TV for two days and the repair guy can come right when both girls are napping and I am trying to write. He can then require a length explanation of what happened. (See those teeth marks? Hear the barking coming from the laundry room? What do you think happened?) Kids can coordinate waking up all night to ensure that mommy doesn't get a single moment of sleep. And everyone I've ever known can suddenly have the urge to call and catch up. Even mommies can get sick. And all of this, every bit of it, can happen in the first week of November, my first week of this writing insanity.

And because I've trained myself to 'feel the heat' when I give myself a deadline, and I've made this commitment to write this month, I've been pushing on. My house, spotless clean floors and all on Sunday, now looks something like a war zone. I've been blaming it on sick kids and being sick myself, but I think hubby's going to catch on soon that the real culprit is the writing (as usual).

Despite all of this, in four days my novel that I've been fooling around with for almost a month, has doubled in length. I'm now at 26,910 words, and I started at 13,148. Technically, I'm on track for NaNoWriMo, but because we're going out of town at the end of this month, I want to finish early.

So that's my update. That's the story of stolen snippets of time, sleep deprivations, kids dog and fate aligning against the writer, and the writer coming up victorious.

Now to try to get in my 3k for the day before anything else happens...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

So the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month, in this month, the month of November. I've been hyping myself up for this for a while. I'm doing my own variation of this because I want to keep working on my swamp monster book, so my goal is to add 50k to what I already have, which is 13,148. So my goal essentially is to get this book up to 63,148 by the end of the month...Those of you doing NaNo hard-core, don't black list me for this deviation! I jumped the gun a little, but I still plan to do 50k in a month.

So wish me luck...