Sunday, November 27, 2016

25,401 words

This month I wrote 25,401 words of a novel. That's 90 pages, in case you're wondering, so it's not finished. Not even halfway.

I know there are still 3 days left in November, but there's no way I'm going to make it to the 50,000 words I need to "win" this year's National Novel Writing Month, so I'm going to have to call it.

I'm tired.

I'm disappointed that I didn't meet my goal.

Writing a novel is (insert whiny voice here) hard.  Even when you have people taking care of you so you can focus. (I did. Special people made sure I was fed, had clean clothes to wear and a clean house to live in. They didn't make me feel guilty about hiding away evenings and weekends or not being available for certain events. For that, I'm enormously grateful.)

So why is it so hard to write a novel? Well, I'm sure that having ADHD doesn't help. (I really was diagnosed with ADHD back in graduate school, so there.) Actually, the first thirty or forty pages was easy, but then I started wavering about what to write next: should I put this scene here, or there? And I started forgetting details. For example, one of the minor characters lives in Tega Cay, South Carolina in a fancy house on Lake Wylie. I kept wanting to put her at Lake Lanier in Georgia AND I DO NOT KNOW WHY because Lake Wylie is practically in my backyard and I know absolutely nothing about Lake Lanier. Or Georgia, for that matter.

I have this tendency to want to edit as I go along. I know this is wrong! But I just can't help myself.

And then there are things I don't know, so I have to stop and look them up on the internet. One of the main characters has an acoustic guitar. But what guitar exactly? A Gibson? Martin? Larrivee? OK, so pick one. But then what model? And what does it look like? Is it made from Indian rosewood? Mahogany? Hawaiian koa? And is that the wood on the body or the sides or the neck? Jeez, Louise, there are too many details and too many choices.

In an effort to focus, I shut myself off from social media. No Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter (OK, there were one or two tweets), and no blogging for 27 days. Until today. Right? But you see, there was that one big thing that happened on November 8 . . . yeah, that election thing . . . somehow I managed to keep away from social media despite the temptation to get online and voice my very strong opinions about the election results and read what others were writing. But I managed to restrain myself, because I knew that would kill way too many writing hours.

So here I am with these 25,401 words. It's not a lot, really. I have so much further to go. I'll "lose" another NaNoWriMo (I've done this for five years and only "won" once, in 2014 -- but I didn't actually finish that story.) Yet in doing this, it reinforces the reality that I'M A WRITER.

But will I be a Novelist? That remains to be seen. If I can muster up the discipline I've had this month into the next eleven months, then maybe. I already have a book cover concept, a publisher, and an ISBN number. I've just got to come up with more pages. More WORDS.

Maybe someday...


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rocky Mountain HIGH

The view from Pike's Peak
So I bought a t-shirt in the gift shop at the top of Pike's Peak. It says:

Pike's Peak - 14,115 feet - Being this high is illegal in most states, but not this one!

I didn't expect to come to Colorado on this trip. After a few days in Northern New Mexico, we were supposed to go South, to Las Cruces, Ruidoso, and Roswell. But our plans changed and we thought HEY! Let's go north and see if we can find some aspen trees!

I also wanted to check out another possible retirement spot: Manitou Springs. Just next to Colorado Springs and at the foot of Pike's Peak, it's a cute town that in some ways reminds me of (a way smaller) Asheville. It just has a funky vibe to it, and lots of interesting people.

Manitou Springs
There were a lot of things I liked about Manitou Springs, but I'm still too enamored with Los Alamos to think about living anywhere else right now.

Manitou Springs is close to Garden of the Gods, and we spent several hours there walking through the park and watching some rock climbers.

Garden of the Gods: Walking in the Shadows
Garden of the Gods: The Descent
I still hadn't seen many of those awesome aspen trees, so we drove around the mountains via Woodland Park, Divide, and Midland out to Victor and Cripple Creek. And there they were! Words like AWESOME!!! and STUNNING!!! don't do them justice. Just look at these photos, which by the way, only capture a tiny fraction of what the eyes see.
Aspens along the road to Cripple Creek.

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

My eyes are so much richer now as a result of seeing the aspen trees in their glory. I will never be the same again.

Looking forward to a return visit to Colorado. And by the way, the only Rocky Mountain High I got was breathing the air up at Pike's Peak. Oh, and listening to the John Denver song a time or two.


P.S. Colorado is nice, but I left my heart in New Mexico.

The solitude that is Northern NM

Eagle Nest Lake

Continuing the vacation saga . . . we took the scenic route from Santa Fe up to Taos, Angelfire, Eagle Nest, and down to Cimarron en route to I-25. The drive was amazing. Not too crowded (except for Taos which was a traffic nightmare -- sorry, not impressed). Long stretches of beautiful secondary highway.

The Rio Grande just outside of Taos -- yeah, THAT Rio Grande!

Descending from Eagle Nest, we saw lots of ranches and pick-up trucks and people wearing cowboy hats. Stopped in the plains town of Cimarron for a snack. Had the coldest Mountain Dew ever (the only one of the trip -- I've cut back significantly in the last five years!) Gotta say it really hit the spot.

I love New Mexico. Did I say I love New Mexico?