The current word count for the Nanowrimo novel stands at 34,308 with at least 500 more words pawing at the gate right now. I’m already in bed with my computer. I would feel pretty good about the rest of my evening except for the sounds of the Chinese thumb guitar coming from the room next door. My son bought it in Chinatown in San Francisco over the summer and plays it. A lot. Of all the things he cannot keep track of, he has never lost this instrument. It is yet another joke the Universe plays on me daily. Just in the last 45 seconds, he has learned to play chords on an instrument with only 5 pieces of bobby pins sticking out of it. What are the odds?
The writing over the weekend was abysmal. Just abysmal. I woke up both Saturday and Sunday at 5, but wasn’t disciplined enough to get out of bed and write then. I struggled to find the time, began to question whether my point of view had jumped the tracks somewhere–like 62 pages ago, began perusing grammar websites, wondered if I hate my main character, and rewrote the same paragraph 4 times.
But starting last night, I got over a hump and words started flowing again. I take a lot of hot baths when I’m writing. Steam tends to erode the damage done to my mind by Chinese thumb chords and I can temporarily think straight. If I had a hot tub, I’d probably be halfway through a sequel already. I know. Too much information. If you are bored enough to read this blog, you surely know what you’ll be getting here.
I walked away from the book over the weekend and returned a few minutes later to the following paragraph:
On the ride back, Henry hit the last two neighborhoods on his watch list before he was almost too drained to coast the last of the highway before his final turn. He thought to himself, hmm. He thought a lot. That was what he did. One time he saw a good rooster. He said “ look a good rooster.” He also liked it when his mom made dinner. He liked to eat meals.
When I read it and then looked up, Brady was sitting across the room from me, making eye contact and smiling like he’d just bought a winning lottery ticket with someone else’s dollar. If things go south, I may have to put that paragraph in just to keep my word count.
Tonight, after dinner but before putting the girls to bed, I was typing in the living room when my oldest boy came out of his room and walked in where I was. This boy is special. He’s not like the rest of us. He’s an introvert and very guarded with his things and his words. He is funny, but chooses when and how to unleash his humor. He is extremely organized and never, EVER loses ANYTHING. I can’t tell you how Brady and I wish we could steal just an ounce of whatever that recipe is. He is 16 and learning how to navigate the world of grownups while also trying not to smack his siblings when they violate his personal space or just get all up in his face at the wrong moment. I get a lot of one word answers from Andrew. He is succinct. Our texts, if analyzed, would primarily consist of the words “here” and “ok.” But tonight, when he wandered into the living room, he sat down on the ottoman next to me and said,
“Are you working on your book?”
“Yes,” I answered, stopping what I was doing to pay attention to the exchange.
He looked over my shoulder to see the page I was on and looked over the margins.
“How many words have you done?”
“About 34,000,” I said.
“Chapter 21,” he said, raising his eyebrows. “How many chapters will it be?”
“I’m not sure yet,” I said. “But I’m nowhere near finished.” He got quiet for a second and then said,
“What if it became a bestseller?” He smiled at me and I said,
“That would be so great, right? But I can’t worry about that. Right now I just need to finish it.”
He nodded and then said,
“Can I have some ice cream?”
And that was that.
In a pinch today, I blew out the van again with the battery operated leaf blower. It’s my new favorite thing. I probably sacrifice a little on quality, and I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a few receipts this way…but all in all, I’m killing it.