Archive for the 'In Which Nothing Happens' Category

NaNoWriNope

So today is November 1st. Which marks the official start of National Novel Writing Month, that zany and wonderful event these folks put on every year. NaNoWriMo embodies everything (or, well, a lot of things, at least) I hold dear about creativity and writing and art, to wit: just…try. Just give it a shot. Who cares if it’s not perfect the first time around, who cares if you think it’s crap, just do it, just have fun with it, just try. There’s a time and a place for detailed, fine craftsmanship and fussing over the placement of every comma, and then there’s a time and a place for grabbing a big ol’ metaphorical brush, saying “Welp, it ain’t gonna paint itself,” then slapping some color down on that page, because guys, this stuff should be fun. Who knows, it might even turn into something amazing when you’re not looking. And doing it alongside a global community of other similarly-crazy folks is even better, because company always helps, particularly when you’re three weeks in and can’t seem to break that 30,000-word mark and need to outsource a bit of plot generation to some sympathetic stranger in Illinois who was having the same problem with her fledgling novel last week. NaNoWriMo’s great. Everyone should do it.

Except, well, I’m not doing it this year.

Heh. For all I proselytize about how awesome NaNoWriMo is, I’ve only ever actually attempted it once. School and work got in the way each year I thought about giving it a shot; as much as I love the concept, it’s kind of hard to swing 1,667 words a day when you’re in the middle of finals season. But I did finally give it a shot during that (apparently requisite) period of underemployment after undergrad, and I didn’t even finish. Got to just shy of 29,000 words, hated my characters, hated my “plot,” hated every word I’d written thus far, threw up my hands in despair and walked away. Several friends (and my dad) have finished NaNovels over the years–my friend Beemer was my NaNoWriMo buddy that year, and she actually finished hers–but I just couldn’t cut it.

And you know, even then? I loved it. I hated the result, sure, but I loooved the process. I loved hauling my laptop over to St. Mark’s Coffee (in Denver), setting myself up in a corner with a coffee and a big chocolate chip cookie, and spending a happy afternoon jamming to the weird mix of music they’d always have playing and trying to figure out how the hell character development is supposed to work when your sorry attempt at a novel is the most thinly-veiled of thinly-veiled roman a clef EVER and nobody cares in the second place. Love! Even though I didn’t get a spiffy winner’s certificate (or a finished novel) out of it, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

But this year, hoo boy. Grad school, first semester, ’nuff said. No NaNoWriMo for me, since it’s going to be my very own personal National Final Paper Writing Life Oh My God Someone Help Me over here. Luckily, the lovely Mags has thrown her pen in the ring this year, and is documenting the process on her blog, so I can live vicariously through her triumphs (and I have no doubt she’ll cross that 50,000-word line in, like, two weeks; girl’s a pro). I kind of love her novel already, from the tiny excerpt she’s posted on her author page (I hope you don’t mind me linking to it here, Mags; it’s not like anyone reads NPoR anymore) (…or ever did, hee), because oh lord can I identify with that online-dating first-meeting sinking feeling and the internal monologue of “okay, no offense, you seem like a nice person, but you just declared your unironic love for Ayn Rand, out loud, in public, and I have to go now.”

Anyway, I’m excited to cheer Mags on, and Beemer, and any other of my friends or relations who are launching themselves at those 50,000 words. Rock on. I want to read your novels when you finish them, because you will, because you’re awesome.

…Funnily enough, Mags had something of a cameo in my abortive attempt at a NaNovel–thinly-veiled roman a clef, remember?–as a badass college RA. Art imitating life, I guess. And you know, looking back through the fifty or so pages in this word document (titled “Five Beers and a Resume,” which really had nothing to do with the plot as it stood, but I think the phrase came up during an email exchange with my dad and I apparently found it hilarious enough to use as a title), there are at least a couple of paragraphs, or turns of phrase, that I don’t entirely hate. Not that the novel’s salvageable, by any means, or that I think I possess any great facility for creative writing beyond slapping self-consciously long run-ons on the page and thinking myself clever, but, you know, there are one or two sentences that aren’t the worst. Maybe? I don’t know. But most of it’s just sort of vaguely ridiculous.

Want proof? Heh. As a gesture of self-humiliation for the betterment of society, here’s a totally out-of-context excerpt from that ill-fated literary endeavor. (It’s actually one of the least roman a clef-y parts, and because of that, I think it actually ends up being a little more successful than the rest of the dreck I managed to produce. Who knew fiction worked better when it was fictional?) Schadenfreude awaits you after the jump.

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Last Night’s Rando Dream, In Ten Words Or Fewer

Camping on Mars; third-grade science experiments. Disgruntled pet tiger.

And so, two years later…

…we’re back.

Maybe. Sort of.

I originally started this site, back when I was but a wee college junior, with the intention of chronicling my semester abroad, and thereafter turning it into a slice-of-life blog that would, indubitably, contain my witty (yet profound) observations on the trials of life as a middle-class 20-something. Needless to say, that fell apart pretty quickly, as you can see from even a cursory glance through the archive. I made it maybe three-quarters of the way through that semester still blogging, always playing catch-up (“Hey guys, just had an awesome time in Istanbul, I’ll tell you all about it later…oh, whoops, I have to go to Ireland now!”), never quite getting there. Then I came home, and the task of retelling all those wonderful beautiful eye-opening experiences just seemed too large to tackle.

Then senior year happened, and the less said about that milieu of sleep deprivation and overcaffeination and nervous breakdowns in diner parking lots at 1:00 in the morning and thesis-writing and some of the best times I’ve had with some of the best people I’ve met, the better, probably. After a while (and it’s been a while, over a year, Jaysus, when did that happen?), the college war stories stop being interesting to anyone except the people who lived them, and while there are a few experiences here and there from which I might still be able to pull a gem worth writing about, I think those stories will have to wait for a while. I miss them a little too much, still.

So Nine Points has sat in a lonely, dusty corner of the Internet, unused, unloved, unlooked-at since 2008. But I’ve been having the writing itch like mad, lately, and being no good at fiction and embarrassingly self-absorbed when it comes to poetry, what better way to satisfy that urge by boring everyone who comes across this blog with tales of the completely interesting (read: not really at all) things that happen in my life? I’m so envious of the blog-writers I follow regularly (Sars, Holly, Pamie—look at me, pretending I’m on a first-name basis with them; sorry, guys—my good friend Maggie, my sassy potato […don’t ask]), of their abilities to turn a week at the job or a business trip or a photograph or a conversation from last night into a beautifully-rendered story without it sounding like someone’s high-school Livejournal. I want to be able to do that, someday, and the only way to do that is to practice. There’s a quotation about writing I love, and I can’t remember who said it, or if I even have the phrasing right, but it’s something like “Writers write. That’s all there is.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but: exactly.

So, kind readers, if there are actually any of you out there (…I’m terrified that there are still some RSS subscriptions floating around, from back when I actually wrote here; sorry if this post shows up in your e-mail and you’re all “the hell?”), please be forgiving as I go about this completely self-indulgent exercise. I’ll try to make it at least a little interesting, and a little bit regular.

No promises, though. I am working three jobs at the moment. It’s hard out here for a recent college grad.

News flash!

I just now got my acceptance email for London.

SO EXCITED, you guys.

(Also: stay tuned for a special report on NeoCon East 2007. I got to sit in some chairs and meet Jill Fehrenbacher of Inhabitat. She’s awesome. Includes pictures!)