Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Writing a novel in 1 month = FAIL

So here it is, the last day of November 2010 and I did NOT finish writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Yes, yes I know that the month isn't technically over; I still have over 12 hours to churn out prose. But I have to start being realistic with myself; I only have just over 35, 000 words written - and they're not very good words at that.
No, I take that back, they're good words. It's my story that's shit. But it has potential. And for the first time in a long time I'm actually excited about seeing where the story goes. I just wish that I hadn't futzed around the first couple of weeks of November trying to figure it out, and then I wish I hadn't procrastinated as much as I did once I did figure the story structure out, blaming my lethargy on being sick etc.

So here I am a NaNoWriMo failure; but considering it was my first attempt, I'm pretty proud of myself nonetheless. I'd like to think that I will take some time in the coming weeks/months to finish and fine tune the novel that I started this month; but realistically I know that I probably won't. Instead I'm going to file it away, and maybe use it as an inspiration for next year's contest.

Speaking of procrastination and pep talks - the great Dave Eggers was asked by the NaNoWriMo coordinators to give us advice and these were his sage words:

Is procrastination a problem for you? Really? You think you have a problem?

Here's procrastination: The organizers of NaNoWriMo asked me three months ago to write this pep talk, and I'm only writing it now, after blowing three deadlines, after avoiding ten reminders. I was asked to write a pep talk for NaNoWriMo, and I'm actually writing it after the month started. So whatever procrastination problems you have, I probably have you beat. I'm the worst, and I'm getting worse every day.
It's a very strange thing, because we all think writing should be fun. That is, when I was temping through most of my twenties, wondering what it would be like to write for a living, hoping for such a life, I thought it might be pretty sweet. I thought if I ever got to write for a living, I would feel pretty lucky, and that I would be so appreciative that I would bound out of bed every day and, like a goddamned adult, I would write as much as I could every day, and get work done in a reasonable amount of time. Again, like an adult.
Instead, I need, on average, 8 hours sitting on my writing couch to get one hour of work done. It's a pathetic ratio. I stall, avoid, put off and generally act like someone's making me do some terrible job I never wanted to do. I blow pretty much every deadline I'm given.

Just like I blew the one for NaNoWriMo.

But then, when things are late, and I'm feeling like an idiot, and I feel like I'm letting down someone (like the people at NaNoWriMo, and you), I finally dig in and get started. And then I write, and I write in a fury, and I even, sometimes, enjoy writing.
And that's why I love NaNoWriMo. It gets you started. It gives you the impetus to finally start, and/or finally finish. Knowing there are thousands of others out there trying to do the same, who are using this ridiculous deadline as cattle-prod and shame deterrent, means goddamnit, you better do it now because you know how to write, and you have fingers, and you have this one life, and during this one life, you should put your words down, and make your voice heard, and then let others hear your voice. And the only way any of that's going to happen is if you actually do it. People can't read the thoughts in your head. They can only read the thoughts you put down, carefully and with great love, on the page. So you have to do it, goddamnit. You have to do it, and you can step back and be happy. You can step back and relax. You can step back and feel something like pride.
Then of course you'll have to revise it ten or twenty times, but let's not talk about that yet.

Write your goddamned book now. The world awaits.

Dave Eggers is the author of Zeitoun and What is the What.

Edited to add:
They've announced the "winner" of the 2010 Bad Sex in Fiction award. It goes to author Rowan Somerville for his book The Shape Of Her, a nothing sort of novel that was evidently self-published(?).
I have to say, even if it sounds like bragging, the one sex scene in the novel that I attempted to complete this month was a thousand times better than this crap that Sommerville wrote.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Awww Leslie, you'll always be my bachelor...

By the time the movie Airplane! and the tv show Police Squad came along in the late 70s to establish actor Leslie Nielsen as a comedic juggernaut, I had already been in love with him for years.
See there was this little movie called Tammy and The Bachelor, starring one Debbie Reynolds, that had been brought into my life by my grandmother Kay who adored all things Debbie. The first time I ever watched it with her, my grandmother whispered in my ear about 5 minutes into the film, "You're about to see the most gorgeous man this side of your grandpa." And into the frame came the beguiling face of Leslie Nielsen. "Leslie?!" I asked incredulously, "what kind of name is that for a boy?" But wisely my grandmother told me to just forget about his name and enjoy the movie (and the view). And that I did. My crush was born.

Later it grew as he became the silver-fox funny man of my dreams. And then Dorothy had to go and marry him on the Golden Girls,...never mind that's a story/rant for another time.
Suffice to say, you will be sorely missed Mr. Nielsen.

Dr. Drew in the hizZouse!

Addiction medicine specialist, drug counselor to the stars, and all-round hottie Dr. Drew Pinsky is getting his own show on CNN's sister station Headline News. It's supposedly going to be starting up early Spring 2011 and be an interview talk-show style like Larry King. I love Dr. Drew, and have enjoyed him the couple of times he's filled in for the aforementioned King as host on his show. I hope it just doesn't turn out to be a another sort of Love Line rehash though.
I've always loved Dr. Drew's advice but hate the dumbasses that call in to get it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of my friends and family with a wish of good times, spent with good company, eating good food. Don't forget to put on your Joey Tribiani "Thanksgiving pants"!

Just what I need to make myself feel better

I am currently down for the count with a serious sinus infection, but am gazing at this magnificent magazine cover and starting to feel a little better:

Oh Ryan, thanks for the boost!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yes, I'm in one of those moods today. I've come down with a cold and I'm really pissed off about it. I HATE BEING SICK. And I'm worried that I won't be able to sing that well in my recital on Saturday, so I'm irked about that too.

Update on NaNoWriMo writing project - I'm about 26,000 words in. I'm not confident that I can finish the remaining 24K words needed to complete this in just 13 days but we'll see.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stop F*cking Up the Holiday Season, KRWM!

I've ranted about this before, but it bears being complained about again. The Seattle radio station that I use as my alarm clock wake up, "WARM" 106.9, changes their format from adult contemporary to Holiday music every year in November.
But pretty soon I'm afraid that they'll just give in altogether and start the Christmas music as soon as Halloween is over. This year KRWM began playing their "all holiday hits, all the time" play lists the day after Veteran's Day. The fact that I had to wake up to Andy Williams singing about "the most wonderful time of the year" before we were even two weeks into November enraged me to no end.
I try to follow a strict "no holiday music before Thanksgiving" rule with my own personal collections, and this has already been tested this year because the singing group that I'm in has already been practicing the pieces for our holiday concert on December 18. But I was sort of able to compartmentalize this is my head and not think of those songs as Christmas music.
But I can't control all of the stuff going on around me and it's annoying me. It's not only the radio that I have to contend with - grocery stores, clothing stores (shame on you Banana Republic!), movie theater lobbies are all playing holiday music. iTunes is torturing me with enticements of free MP3s of new holiday pop songs, and advertising the hell out of the Glee Christmas album (goddammit! I won't pre-order it no matter how much you tempt me with the adorable Chris Colfer and Darren Criss singing Baby It's Cold Outside. But I'm only human, please stop!)
I'm already not looking forward to the 2010 holiday season for a myriad of personal reasons. And I LOVE Christmas music and rely on it putting me in a better mood. But if the world around me insists on smothering me with holiday good cheer this early on, I'm afraid that by the time Christmas actually rolls around I'll be on the verge of embarking on a homicidal rampage where everyone in my vicinity will feel my wrath.
Prepare yourselves Seattle.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Am I a bad Indian?

Okay, confession time - I don't find the term "American Indian" offensive.

As someone who can claim full heritage in more than two first nation tribes in the United States, I know I should probably care more about the argument over the political correctness of this name, but I just don't. And while I'm confessing here, I'll just go ahead and come clean that I also don't find any of this country's sports teams with Native American-themed mascots offensive either. These are shameful opinions for the daughter of two prominent AIM activists to have and share with the world.
I think it's sort of ridiculous that the NCAA has spent an enormous amount of time and money implementing their 2005 rule that colleges can't have Native American mascots; or that several colleges have wasted even more time and money choosing to fight this rule in court. The University of North Dakota is the latest school to lose their case for keeping their "Fighting Sioux" mascot. They were the last of the colleges to still be fighting the regulation (their case has been going on for almost 2 years). They have to come up with a new mascot and officially get rid of everything with the Sioux figure head and logo by next June.
Of the two Dakota Sioux tribes, the Spirit Lake tribal council has been overwhelmingly supportive of the university keeping the "Fighting" mascot; it's the Standing Rock tribe that opposes it and refused to budge. UND officials were hoping that they'd get to be grandfathered in with an exception like Florida State was when the Seminole nation (including my card-carrying AIM activist father) voted unanimously to allow FSU to keep its mascot and logo.
Redskins, Indians, Warriors. People wearing wigs and headdresses, or braiding their hair into a pig-tail on each side of their head and wearing a headband.
Young men wearing fringed outfits as they jump around on their playing fields and cheer their teams. Plastic tomahawks. Fake war cries, with people slapping the palms of their hands against their mouths and making aiyee ahh sounds. NONE of this bothers me. Does that make me a horrible person?
Do you think even less of me when I tell you that I just ordered a University of North Dakota "Fighting Sioux" hoodie while they're still available?

Friday, November 12, 2010

If actress Grace Kelly had lived she would've been 81 years old today. Reading the interwebs today about her is making me think of one of my favorite fictional characters in American cinema - Lisa Freemont. The privileged, gorgeous but savvy society girl who saves the day in the movie Rear Window.

When I was first exposed to Grace Kelly's Lisa Freemont as a young 8-year old girl, I thought she was the most beautiful, the smartest, and the most captivating woman I had ever encountered.
Lisa Freemont opened up whole new worlds for me with little profound bon mots like - "A woman going anywhere but the hospital would always take makeup, perfume and jewelry."     
Lisa was so glamorous! She was the fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar! And without her, her boyfriend wouldn't have solved the crime! Who else would've noticed a small detail like jewelry - 
"Women don't keep all their jewelry in a purse, all tangled, getting scratched and twisted up." - and run with that to expose the truth about the killer?!  

And on top of it all, Lisa Freemont taught me how to pack smart:
  1. Take one beautiful, black leather Mark Cross attache bag.
  2. Place inside said case a toothbrush and toothpaste, one ankle length pink satin nightgown with matching peignoir and a clean pair of underpants.
  3. Don't forget your bedroom slippers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Damn you Ryan Murphy! - Glee Season 2 Episode 6

For making me LOVE a gawddam Katy Perry song! I watched the "Teenage Dream" performance on tonight's episode of Glee about 23 times in a row. And how 'bout that Darren Criss kid? He charmed the pants off of me as Blaine. He's adorable!

Keep it up Murphy & Co.

Edited to add - Everyone should go read Tom and Lorenzo's recap of this episode. It made me cry. At 9:30 AM. At work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Things and things

It's being reported that the producers of the Oscars have asked my boyfriend Hugh Jackman to host the 2011 ceremony again based on how successful he was when he hosted back in 2009.
But he's turned them down because he's scheduled to start shooting the X-Men: Wolverine sequel in late February/early March. Right around the time that ceremony is usually televised.

Sigh...another chance to see this fine speciman of a human exquisitely fill a tuxedo has been squandered.

In other news, I am WOEFULLY behind in my novel writing venture for NaNoWriMo. To be on schedule I should've written close to 9,000 words by now. I don't want to tell you how many words I actually have on paper, but it's way less than 9K. I'm trying not to throw in the towel.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


That's right, you get the "Dwight Eyes" from me this morning.

I'm disappointed, folks. Disappointed in America as a whole for being so damn short-sighted. Disappointed in the people in eastern Idaho for not voting into office a wonderful man like Jerry Shively. And especially disappointed in my fellow Washingtonians for voting down or repealing almost every single tax initiative on the ballot.

I mean yay! we repealed the tax on candy, soda, and bottled water which was going to bring our state a much needed $356 million dollars over the next five years. So now the children of this state won't get the quality education they need and will be crammed into oversized classrooms, but at least they'll be jacked up on cheap candy bars and soda. And state-subsidized health care will fall by the wayside so OOPS, too bad about that diabetes you got from eating said candy. And Washington state will fall further into debt.
But yippee! at least everyone has been saved the terrible burden of having to pay 2 cents more for their f*cking Evian water.

And don't get me started on the fact that we approved a F*UCKING TIM EYMAN INITIATIVE!!!! What is friggin' wrong with the people in this state?!

On top of it all I'm behind in my novel writing, so I'm in even more of a bad mood.

Aww crap, I need a drink.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Here We Go!!

I'm participating in this year's National Novel Writing Month contest, aka NaNoWriMo. The goal is to complete a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Yes, that's right - write a novel in just 30 days!
If it sounds daunting, it is. But I'm going into this thinking about writing 1,500 to 2,000 words a day and trying to tell a somewhat coherent story; I'm not attempting to write the next great American novel by November 30.
So far so good; I've written about 2,000 words today. I have a basic idea of the story I want to tell but I know that this has to be my focus for the rest of this week or this enterprise will go nowhere fast. I've started a story framework outline to help, so we'll see what happens. I'll try to update everyone on my progress here.

Wish me luck!