Sunday, November 29, 2020

NaNoWriMo 2020 update - It's A Win


Usually in November I post a NaNoWriMo update every day. Obviously that didn't happen this year. Just as many things have not happened this year due to the pandemic and the election.

But NaNoWriMo did happen. I did participate. And I did cross the finish line with 50,222 words written beginning at midnight on November 1st. I crossed the line on November 28th at 11:49 pm. I finished the 50k but I will continue to write every day, to make my second goal of writing every day.

This year NaNoWriMo felt differently. Contributing factors were probably:
- the pandemic;
- the election and post-election (which isn't yet over, but a middle ground has sort of been achieved);
- my aunt died early in the month and she was a big supporter; she was someone I knew read my blog posts every day of NaNoWriMo, so that was definitely one impact;
- I was in a workshop for the first 12 days of the month, which was intentional and probably in the long run helpful, though at times I questioned my decision. And I know without a doubt that I would do it again;
- I did not go on my annual NaNoWriMo writing retreat. I think there was one other year I didn't make it to the beach and that had a big impact. So I'm sure not being able to go was a factor in things feeling a little more "slogging" or "off;"
- did I mention the coronavirus pandemic? Oh, yes. Well, it should be mentioned twice - and I will attach the loss of theatre to the pandemic. It will be back, but I miss it - as an interpreter and as a patron.

But I did it in spite of everything working against us this year. And I will do it again next year. Hopefully I will be able to make my pilgrimage to the beach in 2021.




Saturday, November 14, 2020

NaNoWriMo 2020 Update

I have managed to write every day of NaNoWriMo this year. So far. I am going to try to complete another full 30 days of writing. I am also hoping to get to 50,000 words before Thanksgiving. If I'm not at 50k by that day, then I hope to be close enough to wrap it up on Saturday 11/28. Because this year I am working the last two days of the month, which means that there won't be much writing happening.

As of right now, I am 1000 words underneath the target number for November 14th. With only 30 minutes until midnight, I doubt I am going to get caught up before another 1667 words are added to where I should be.

I am also three days in to my at home writing retreat. What I realize already is that my annual writing retreat during NaNoWriMo is absolutely the best thing to do. I always write more when I'm at the coast, with the express purpose of being there to write. No expectations about amount of sleep, about doing the laundry or medicating the cat or anything else. No need to go do household errands. Well, honestly, the errands and such are very minimal because of the pandemic. We are on the brink of another heavily mandated stay at home order because the cases are on the rise. I didn't leave the house at all for three days. Today we went to my ND's office to pick up a supplement and then we went to Starbucks for a special treat - through the drive-through because we are not going in. No way!

But this year I am not dragging my Multnomah County germy air to the doing well in terms of COVID-19 numbers to the coast. Not even to a private beach house which is probably safe - but someone will have to clean it after us. And someone else could have been there before us. And on the drive over, unless I dehydrated myself ahead of time, I'd probably have to use a public restroom somewhere, which doesn't feel at all safe. 

So. I stay home this year. I've watched two streaming performances (both short) and I started to watch a Philip Glass opera (which I will finish later; it was not conducive to my writing and my partner is feeling a little grumpy, tired of the pandemic and being stuck home so much - so opera was not at all melding with that energy; I don't blame her, I understand - but too much for the opera to continue). I will finish the opera later or maybe tomorrow before it goes away tomorrow night.

I'm writing. Signing up for the Writing with the Tarot online workshop with Ariel was also a lifesaver. It has definitely helped me keep writing. Even if the pieces are incomplete or with compacted endings I need to open up, I feel like I have an actual, viable project this year. Which is a good thing, because I also signed up for the manuscript workshop in January to March of 2021. My plan all along was that I would (hopefully) have the beginnings of a manuscript from this month to bring to fruition. And I believe I will.

I am writing a book. It is not a novel - although recently I discovered that rather than a set of short stories, this is looking like those stories will still be there, but there is mostly likely going to be a throughline story tying them all together. Somehow. That is not entirely clear, although I have had a glimpse of what that uniting thread will be.

I am excited. When I'm not wondering why I'm doing this. And I am missing the coast, the ocean outside the door, the wind and it's salty rain, the seagulls crying and warning; the digging in under the blankets on the corner sofa, side to the window so I can still see along the coastline.

Writing intreat? Sounds better than a "staycation" a friend commented. And she's right.

NaNoWriMo is happening in 2020 style. Which means, the unexpected can and will happen. Words are flowing and we'll see what I have when I return to work later next week.



Thursday, November 5, 2020

NaNoWriMo Day 4

 Day 3 writing happened. It was a little interrupted due to (a) the election and (b) work. But words happened.

Day 4 happened! I wrote a bunch of words. And I made my annual NaNoWriMo desktop calendar for my laptop. That way it is always with me for November. My current word count at end of day was 7005 words.

I am writing stories and having fun. It helps that I am in the Writing with the Tarot workshop with Ariel Gore. Deadlines and other writers and - go!



Monday, November 2, 2020

NaNoWriMo 2020 Day Two - Shaking it Up

Here are a few details of a longer story, which I'll hold for later.

Today I changed my NaNoWriMo project. I returned to the project I was thinking I'd do since August, when I decided I would go ahead with NaNoWriMo this year. I mean, why not? But in workshop in October, I wrote the bones of another large project and had decided to go with that.

I stalled out on my writing during the midnight write-in. I did write some, but only about half of my normal beginnings. That, paired with a few other reasons, led me to rethink my goal. With careful contemplation and checking some resources, I decided it would change back.

Then this afternoon I proceeded to double my word count for day one and I created a NaNo cover. I know there are some design challenges and flaws, but it's good enough for a work in progress and it makes me smile. 

I present my *new* NaNoWriMo book project: Fractures of Wind. And the snippet of my end of Day One word count (above).





Saturday, October 31, 2020

It's Happening Tonight at Midnight: NaNoWriMo 2020

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Yes, this will be happening! It seems very fitting that my 13th consecutive NaNoWriMo will begin with a full moon and in this midst of our current circumstances. I even have a working title and a few ideas! I am looking forward to midnight! The first midnight write-in will be virtual but still taking place. Snacks and full laptop battery and as-of-yet-unworn 2020 NaNoWriMo shirt are ... ready... get set .....


[*this one's for you, Aunt Donna - I know you're watching from the other side of the the veil this year*]



Saturday, October 24, 2020

Bodies Breathing Heartbeats


A friend posted a question in Facebook, which triggered me to think about what things I'm not doing during the pandemic. I made a list of what I am doing - what I have done since the day first things (in my corner of the world) started being canceled, restricted, closed down: March 13, 2020.

If you know me in 3-D world, you know that I am an introvert. And a shy introvert, at that. I only put that here for those who don't know, because it is relevant to what I am about to say.

One of the things I miss most is being in the room with other creative people. Theatre people; artist people; writer people. As soon as the "stay home, stay safe" order came out and theatrical performances were postponed then canceled, I signed up for a few writing workshops. Online writing workshops, because that was - and is - what's available. 

I love my online writing workshops. I have worked with some amazing facilitators and writers online, through Ariel Gore's Literary Kitchen and through Corporeal Writing. My writing workshops with Ariel are almost entirely online all the time, with an occasional in-person class when she's in town. But my workshops with Corporeal Writing have been 90% in real space, breathing together, writing together, sharing heartbeats in real time and place. It's been a perfect mix for me. But since mid-March 2020, all of my writing community is online. 

I am grateful for the ability and opportunity to continue connections, continue mentoring and facilitation, playing with new kinds of writing, exploring words together while apart.

But one this I miss the most right now is the ability to be in the room together as we create, individually and collectively. Because I also think that anytime a group of creative people come together to share art making in real time and space, we are also creating community, some of which may be temporary for that specific time and some of which may carry over into our lives. 

And, for me, I like some heart breathing bodies together time, too. 

I miss being bodies and hands and hearts in the same space for creative adventures.

But, by being safe, keeping distance now, wearing masks/face coverings, good hygiene, limiting bodies together in space time, we can come together later. In real time. In real space. And breathe words together.

I miss my 3-D writing people time.

Photos from the Transmutation Book Making writing workshop through Corporeal Writing, with Ruth Patience Bryant and Domi Shoemaker. 




Monday, September 21, 2020

Breathing and Writing in the Time of COVID and Fires and Hate-storms

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I've been meaning to write something to put here. To not leave this hanging, seemingly unattended. It isn't. Or my writing isn't. As we navigate COVID-19 and fighting racial inequality, protests of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racists, as we learn and grow and - hopefully - change for the better, better good of all. I hope that we will remember and retain the lessons and the changes. I hope. I hope. I hope.

And I write.

And theatre is seeping in from the edges. Trying new platforms and approaches and new scripts. How to incorporate access. We learn and we try and we try better next time and next.

And I write.

And the government is such a mess. I cannot believe the overt rise of hatred and discrimination, which feels like they are thrusting us back 70 years, 80 years, maybe more. This is intolerable. 

There is so much at stake right now.

The recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So much at stake. There should not be a new appointment until after the election. That is what they - the Republicans (I'll stick with that politer, public word, for here) - said when it was in an election year and Obama had the opportunity to appoint a new judge. But they barely waited for her body to be still before they (Republic....) jumped into their rhetoric and intent to streamline her replacement.

Hateful - they are very hateful and promoting racism and sexism and all the isms. And they are selfish and only out for their own.

This is why I have not written here. I am writing. A lot, still. Keeping in some workshops. Playing with new forms - which includes Comics. I am playing in online workshops where we get an hour with different Comic Artists and learn their approach and play with visual storytelling. It is a lot of fun.

We had some terrible wildfires here in Oregon; some are still burning, but containment is in process. A couple of weeks ago a few large fires billowed smoke and ash far; sometimes the entire state was under such a heavy blanket of smoke that we could barely see the sun as an orange or red small orb of light somewhere up high. The air was literally thick with smoke and ash and, amidst COVID-19 when the outdoors was supposed to be better in terms of decreasing the spread of virus, we were forced to stay indoors due to problems and potential damage of breathing the outdoors air heavy with smoke particles and ash. For about ten days, we were hovering in the Unhealthy to Hazardous Air Quality.

I write. I cry. I write. I work (part-time, I'm lucky I still get to work). I am having conversations about theatre and I got to interpret a script reading week before last, on Zoom, it was fun, it was so good to get my brain and hands on theatre again. I read about anti-racism and I engage in self-assessment and growth. I have a small cohort of close friends who rely on each other for information, news, support, confirmation that we are doing right by masks/distancing/washing/minimizing contact with others, and so on; it helps (and my "quarantine bubble" is still just my partner and me and one friend who has been in that bubble from the beginning). I write. I draw. I write.

And now I am going to retreat into my quiet, watching, witnessing, mode. Into my writing and experimenting with words mode. Because, yes, I am in another workshop. And it is going well.

Be safe. Wear your masks when around others. Wash your hands often and well. Social distance. Don't hate on people Think of others, not just yourself. VOTE in 2020 and, please, vote out the mess we have right now because if we don't, the mess will be unbearable. It is going to be a mess and a struggle either way until things get sorted out - I am 100% sure the transition will not be easy. But if we have any change of righting the wrongs and getting on a better track, we must replace the selfish, egotistical, power gluttons in the Administration.



Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Looking Back, Looking Forward

photo by Dot Hearn - Twin Rocks Reflection

Remember way back in late March and early April - the memes saying something like: If we do lockdown, later people will say "what was it all for? We're fine! We didn't need that." But if we don't lockdown, later people will say,  "we should have done more! Why didn't the states/government step in to help? We should have locked down."

We're there now. (Although we are not yet out of the pandemic.)

If you're lucky enough to live in an area where there was a significant stay-at-home order early and for a longer period of time, you might not personally know anyone who has or who had it, or known anyone who died of COVID-19.  Lucky you - you either live in an isolated community no one really visits or you maybe had a longer uncomfortable time of restrictions than some other states.

Today we have 12 states who are at critical level. I don't know in how many of those states health care providers are having to make decisions about who is too far gone with the disease to even admit to the hospital so they get sent home; where they have to triage people's chances for survival from COVID-19 to see who they can treat and who they can't; I do know at least two, maybe three. Where they are ordering refrigerated trucks to store dead bodies because the morgues are full.

So, please, just because you personally don't know anyone who has or had it, don't dismiss the pandemic or the current threat. The threat is real. Instead, be thankful that where you live, someone did their research and listened to experts and made decisions to keep people as safe as they could. That you live in a place where people care about each other and not just themselves, so they followed the mandates. (I realize that last sentence is a little Pollyanna-ish of me - but I *do* know many people who are doing the distancing and masks and keeping trips down as much to protect others as to protect themselves - and I do believe,  most of the time, in the basic underlying goodness of people.)

Yes, in the 'early days' of COVID-19,  some were hopeful that we'd be almost over it by now. We're not. We're nowhere near done with it - it's nowhere done with us. The summer heat is doing nothing to slow the spread, probably because too many people are doing nothing to slow the spread and are ignoring the warnings and ignoring recommendations intended to protect people from getting sick and to minimize deaths.

Rather than brush aside the recommendations, think about others as much as yourself: wear your mask properly when in public (indoor and outdoor), wash your hands well and frequently, avoid large gatherings (especially indoors), keep at least 6 feet between you and others. Simple. Is it fun? No. But please, do it.

Just because you don't personally know anyone who's had it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Say thank you to whatever entity, government, family, and/or friends who are considerate enough to also hold you in mind as they follow the recommendations to keeping the community where you live safe.

Believe me (or not, it doesn't matter), I look forward to the day when we can have live theater in venues with patrons in seats, to concerts large and small, to community gatherings where I get to meet new people, to face-to-face writing workshops with writers and facilitators I love. Zoom and online events help fill the void, but they don't fill my creative heart in the same way. It's a better connection than no connection, but it is not the same. But I'd rather wait until it's safe(r) rather than risk being a carrier to someone I respect and care about.

We are actually all in this together. As someone said earlier (and I'm sorry I don't remember who it was) : we are not all in the same boat due to economic and racial disparity, but we are all on the same turbulent ocean right now.
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