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Where did I put my marbles this weekend?

For starters, Berns and I signed up for NaNoWriMo, which if you haven’t heard about is probably the most intimidating bout of dedicated self-torture through literary explosion I’ve heard of and knowingly, even excitedly, volunteered for!  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place in November.  It is a website-launched centralized attack on internal editors and procrastination.  It is a unique time-limited ultra specific challenge.  It is simply, this: 1 month, 50,000 words.  That’s 1666.66667 words per day.  As it ascribes itself, NaNoWriMo is a seat of the pants exercise in output.  Its sole focus is quantity.  Forcing yourself to get it out.  The it in the sentence meaning your novel.  The one, if you’re anything like Berns and I, you probably didn’t even know you had in you.  I am definitely afraid and intimidated — can I really write 6 double-spaced pages a day?  Can I write a uniform story?  Can I sustain cohesion and interest in it after so much concentrated output?  All that aside, Berns and I couldn’t actually be more excited about it.  We are forcing ourselves to get our literary bones in shape, which is something we haven’t disciplined ourselves enough to do consistently or routinely in years.  Sure, back in high school, we were required to write a minimum of ten pages in our journals per week.  But, to be honest, there were many weeks, especially at the beginning, when I didn’t meet that minimum goal.  Even when I was more practiced, I had a few tricks up my sleeve — artwork and experimentation with handwritten or typed font size occasionally bought me wiggle room (I can’t say the same for Bernsie — she was much more consistent and dedicated than me).  But, in this challenge, the marker is actually much more difficult to wiggle around — it can’t really be fooled by font size or other trickery.  It is word count!  Yikes.  I know I, at least, am in for it.  And poor Bernsie is trying to do it in the midst of writing grad school papers.  My suggestion to her was to incorporate elements of her papers into her novel.  And that’s no trickery.  That’s survival.  Besides, that gives her direction and may actually make her output more enlightening to read.  In the least, I can’t see why she shouldn’t put her academic research to creative use.  At least in this format, she has liberty to transform her research into self-propelled fiction.  NaNoWriMo is sure to be a madhouse.  As I described it yesterday, it’s a literary bootstrap puller-upper and we’re gonna need a lot of stick-to-it-ness to, well….., stick to it.  But what it promises to bring us is closer together and closer to a literary community, which is something Bernsie and I haven’t had in a long time (not in the last six years really anyhow).  And, at the end of 30 days, we’ll be in shape.  We’ll have a manuscript.  We’ll have perservered (stuck to it, that is … to be folksy).  We’ll have caught the golden ring.  And in the mean time, our challenge is to sucker as many others into doing it as possible and by sucker I mean persuade, of course, because we need a large and fully functioning literary community to support us in our marble hiding endeavor.  And now all I can think about is what I’m going to write about.  I’m actually a little worried that my story and my main characters are a little too fleshed out to start.  I am sorta entranced by the idea of literary haphazardness and forcing myself to just keep writing and making unimaginable leaps.  To not plan it all out ahead of time so that I am forced to create and draw connections and leap forward in unknown arcs all in the moment.  And I know just how much that excites Rachel B as well.  So, friends, I warn that through this November process we may not have much time to write or report here since we’ll be saving up our literary output for our novels, but rest assured that you will be hearing from us!  You will be able to track our progress through our blog via handy NaNo (our cutesy shortenin’) widgets!

My Progress (roaringaurora):

Rachel Bernstein’s Progress (either0r):

A Little Friendly jetset Competition:

To give you an idea of just how difficult NaNoWriMo may be, this post (including its title and this lil’ write-up) is only 893 words! And that’s 773 words fewer than my daily NaNo quota!

It would be enough craziness abounding had I just assigned myself one challenge in November, but alas! I have completely lost all my precious marbles.  I am now trying to discipline myself to not only write six pages a day routinely (three in the mornings and three at night), but also to exercise a minimum of three times per week!  I began today with 20 minutes of pilates and 20 minutes of insane upper body cardio/weight-training to work on my arms, shoulders, and core… (the parts of myself I am admittedly most self-conscious about and generally displeased with).  So… I’ll keep you posted on my progress toward those goals as well!  No I’m not trying to lose weight.  I am trying to get in shape.  That’s the theme for November… let’s hope they’re aren’t any viscious hidden turkeys to gobble my goals up!

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I still continue the family game night tradition with the nuclear family I’m creating on my own (which, at present, contains me, my moondoggy, our cats, and our friends). We love playing UNO, Clue, and other famous family fun board and card games! But, most of all, I love word games — Apples to Apples, Scrabble, and these two: Anagrams and Acrostics! So, here, I begin a call to arms, an open invitation, to begin an intercontinental game of Anagrams and Acrostics (or Anacrostics as we’ll call it)! All you have to do is leave a comment with your first name or a funny moniker of your choosing and we’ll make an anacrostic for you!

Let’s begin with our names, then:

APRIL – rip al

A Pearly Rainbow In Lebanon
And People Really Invoke Likenesses
Also Please Restock If Lost
Always Pour Ribbons In Lakes
Amity Prints Rights, Infers Loss
Apples Prefer Ripening In Lightness
A Parachute Ride is Lovely

RACHEL – el arch

Reasons Are Catchy Houses Entering Long-ways
Ropes And Carousels Have Extra Light
Reset All Cash Headers Every Leavening
Reach Around Corners, Hallways, Eaves, Levers
Right After Clowns Hover, Eagles Lie
Remember: Always Catch Handouts, Even Livers

JETSET BF – beef jts

Junior Eclipse Tells Sun “Engender The Brightness First”
Just Exit The Stage!  Enter The Big Frontier
Jelly Exudes Toughness, Sticks Everything Together, Burns Fiercely
Judge Everyone Then Sell Everything To Big Financiers
July Edges Toward Summer, Ends Tonight, But Flickers
Jars Elapse Time, Skewer Every Tower, Bark Fondly

And the family:

MOONDOGGY – my god nog!

My Own Offense Never Does Out-Give Good Yak
May Our Office Nail Down Old Green Gables’ Yard
Monthly, One Orchard Near Dublin Offers Gigantic Grapes. Yikes!

I opened the game up to a few friends on mi espacio, and am thankful for the following respondent who chose to participate in our game:

Mark F (who coined the terms “word gardening” and “word management” to describe this delightful word play)

Moose are really kinetic friends
My antlers reach kindly for _________
Manners are reticent, kitschy, fish!
Maneuvering around rigid kelp flowers

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Do you know the functional purpose of the spleen?

I can’t think of one.

And certainly there can be no aesthetic or therapeutic purpose for the spleen.

So, folks, I can think of no better time to buy your spleen a coffin!

That’s right, our friends at spleencoffin won Best of Baltimore for Best DIY Local Record Label!!!  And we couldn’t be beaming any brighter with pride because our own April Finklestein is featured on the label’s spring compilation release – Ladyz in Noiz (pictured below).  Not to toot our own horn (well certainly to toot it ’cause if we can’t toot on our own blog just where can we toot the good toot?) — She has, count ’em, three tracks… one on each of the compilation’s three discs! Two with her solo musical project Roaring Aurora and one with her swirl-grrl and pop-rocks-n-soda outfit Paper Rockets!! Please visit the spleencoffin website for information about how to purchase the compilation and to seek information about the label’s other fantastic local artists including the label’s head lady Marlo Eggplant! Baltimore’s City Paper defines her as “cuteness personified,” which is nothing short of spot-on. Please support Marlo’s music by visiting her website: ME is Cute. And don’t forget to tune it to Marlo’s west coast DIY radio show Canned Fruit which airs Weds. 9-11 PM (Pacific Time) and Thurs. 10-11 AM (Pacific Time) on Hollow Earth Radio.

Read up:
Best of Baltimore 2008

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