Almost a year ago now, I decided to sign up for NaBloPoMo, which some of you may remember, a blogging group dedicated to posting every single day during the month of November. The inspiration for NaBloPoMo was NaNoWriMo, a group dedicated to writing an entire 50,000 word novel in the month of November.
Bloggers, as is their wont, saw a good idea and tried to find a way to make it easier. Naturally, I was right there with the rest of them. The truth is, I had heard of NaNoWriMo before I even knew what a blog was, and the idea fascinated me. I've continued to fancy myself an excellent writer of fiction even though I haven't finished a single story since high school summer writing assignments, when I would pound out fantastical stylized pieces like this little gem from my sophomore year.
Since then, I've finished nothing, not a single story (at least nothing over 1,000 words), but I've always supposed that if I really wanted to, I could jump up at the drop of a hat and produce a passable, above-average novel. I don't really know if that's true. I'm afraid it's not.
But after trying my hand at NaBloPoMo last year, and finding out that I couldn't even keep up with that easy a task, it was only natural for me to decide that this year, I would take a stab at the big kahuna. So bring on NaNoWriMo, I thought. That was about three weeks ago.
My plan was to bring myself gradually back up to speed by finishing the series of stories I had started in high school. The one I posted here, you see, was only the first installment. The next year I had written “Nature Calls” for the high school summer writing assignment, and sometime shortly afterwards, I'd begun working on the third story, tentatively entitled “The Milk of Love.” Each story corresponded to one season - “Winning Atalanta” to summer, “Nature Calls” to fall, and the third and fourth to winter and spring, respectively. Three weeks ago, I had the idea that if I finished the third story during September and wrote the complete fourth story in October, I'd be warmed up enough to write a whole real book in November.
Well, I added enough to “The Milk of Love” to bring it to a grand total of fifteen pages, about ten less than I planned, and that was all. Apparently, it just doesn't come back to you like riding a bike. Perhaps also, I was underwhelmed with the quality of my stories from high school when I went back for a second look... and maybe, I have to say, disillusioned.
It's depressing to find out that at least in some ways, you aren't as exceptional as you always half-believed you were, and coming down from that feeling into the choking quiet of reality in a slow hollow thud can leave a bruise. It did for me.
So for now anyway, I'm going to try to finish that third story, and then if it's in me, write the fourth story, just to finish something, to be done. If that's done by November 1st, I may see about taking Roy and Emi out for a spin. I've already got 6,000 words or so on it, so it's technically cheating, but I'm not worried about that. In the meantime, I think I'm going to post the stories that I'm writing online as a way to keep myself honest. Anyone who cares to know can know exactly how much I've gotten done and when I've done it. We'll see if that helps. So that will include moving “Winning Atalanta” off of this page, where it doesn't really belong in the first place.
And I think that does it for housekeeping – plenty enough for me anyhow.
So I'd like to throw one more thing out there. I'm Catholic and I'm American, and I'm very proud of both. And projects like this one, which is run by my brother-in-law and is starting to get national attention, including mention in this past Sunday's New York Times, are genuinely exciting to me.
God bless America.