Sunday, November 2, 2008

3,774 words and typing

Day 2 of the nanowrimo Olympics found me at another Cosi restaurant in the Village. One enormously long table had been created and I recognized fellow writers from yesterday. Cheery hellos. Then I sat down and just started...typing.

I now realize my entire problem with unedited writing is that my muse is in fact a sweets addicted 6 year old who favors touching scenes devoid of evil and irony. It kills me that I, once voted the most sarcastic salad chef to work a Magic Pan in Minneapolis, the most utterly nasty putdowner of cuteness ever allowed to prowl a toystore in a mall, the gimlet eyed social satirist of a short lived college cartoon strip, am writing sweetness that borders on full bore Disney. I should just march over to the editors of American Girls Dolls and say take me, I am the voice of your dolls...I can only watch the unfurling candy ribbon of prose and tell myself that in rewrite my harsh cynical editorial voice will take a chainsaw to the fudge.

I did have this fine thing happen on my trip to the write-in. Sat next to a dad and his son talking in what even I could tell were London accents. So naturally, after drawing for a bit, I asked them where they were from. "Upper West Side," says the dad, "but I was born in London, as was my son. But my other children were born here." His munchkin was one of those amazingly cute little geniuses. He was sounding out words like "transportation," as he read a subway map. "Look son, this woman to the left of us is drawing and this woman to our right is doing physics." And it was true. "So what do you do in the middle?" "Oh me, sitting? oh, work?" (Europeans just don't naturally discuss what they "do" for a living, I guess this is a rude American thing and yet he chose to live and beget here so I guess it is OK to ask Americanny questions). "I'm an accountant but I'd like to be able to draw--don't know how at all, I like your drawings, and I'd also like to be doing physics. I want to do everything but don't have the time what with changing nappies." I urged him to check out the Art Students League, cheap, pay by the month, stick-figure-only beginners welcome. A month of classes and your doodles would be better, I said. His son likes to draw. We talked about that for a bit. And then it was time for them to get off. Sometimes you meet people briefly and you just know they are good dads. Hope he doodles, classes or not. If I can write a novel, he can draw.

On my way back home I finished my sketch for a graphic novel style food story I plan to submit to Alimentum. Here is what nanowrimo is doing for me, just the act of creative flow (even if it is pure non-diet froth) is freeing me up elsewhere. I'm blogging more, I'm drawing more, I'm smiling more.

The role of a novelist is toppling off that English major pedestal. What Neil Gaiman and so many others have said, you write a book word by word. (Is a small voice whispering talent, research, rewrite? Ignore that smartass until December.)

Of course, I will probably have some deflation of joy in the second week. Plus all that freelance work. But tonight, I'm happy my fingers are creating words and shapes.

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