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Archive for the ‘Hidden talents’ Category

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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As we approach our first anniversary, my moondoggy and I step further and further out of the shapeless abyss and into our bodies dancing together.  And in the process of taking form, we ever discover small secrets and delights — hidden not for their shimmering angry brightness, in fact not hidden at all, just uncarefully stowed away in oops-I-forgot-about-that cranial caches.  As we walked through the toy isle of Walgreens searching for humorous and happy delights to gift a friend at her quarterlife bowling party, we stumbled upon a shiny red Duncan yo-yo.  A cheapie, of course.  But in my moondoggy’s hands, they were both transformed — memories leaping out of those oops-I-forgot stows to his anxious fingers and lips — he became a glowing boy much larger in life than his friends and that cheapie yo-yo shined with sparkling man-becomes-boy magic.  Suddenly the afternoon became I-can’t-believe-I-forgot-abouts all over the place — kiosks in the mall, yo-yos of the past, competitions with friends, talents and tricks, grade school social strata, and fads.  When I was 7 or 8, I wanted one of those sticky gel hands you could throw against the wall and watch ooze down, so I begged my dad for a quarter at the grocery store checkout.  His precious quarter became a lesson in fads, planned obsolesence, and oddities marketed only to children.  Maybe what I wanted more than thing-itself (the noumenon) was the phenomenon of it all — popping the translucent red lid off the plastic bubble, sticking that toy to the end of my fingers, yakking it at the wall with might, and watching it slurp to the carpet and become dotted with blue carpet fuzz.  I didn’t get that oozy-sticky-hand at the grocery store 16 or 17 years ago, but I did buy the cheapie red yo-yo at Walgreens.  And it transformed my vision of my moondoggy.  He has a hidden talent!  I couldn’t help but watch him giddy as could be with heart-beaming pride and admiration — (I can do nothing with a yo-yo but make massive tangles of string).  As he brought it home to our family of cats, that cheapie red yo-yo became the most exciting thing we’ve ever owned!  So here I share his hidden talents with you — I’m gifting you one man’s small happy memory from childhood (wish I could show you the Lisa Frank novelties we gifted our quarterlife pal !) as a reminder to allow joy into your adulthood, to never assume your significant one is what he or she may seem to be, to inspire you upon a quest of unearthing others’ hidden talents from childhood and beyond, and to encourage you not to pass by a quarter trinket because gifting one can create amazing moments you might not ever imagine without your fad piece!

I will always proudly boast my moondoggy’s hidden talent as I flash my quarter machine painted black and gold engagement ring!

Pictured are my moondoggy, the cheapie red Duncan, and our family of cats: Dr. Hot Dog, Casper, Amelie, Thora, and Riley.

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