Oh my, my. I moved today, for the 14th time since July (but who’s counting.) And I am living in America, a country I am proud to live in for the first time in 8 long, long years. And I am many thousands of words behind in my novel-writing word count, but am having a fantastic time now, after days of less than fantasticness.
** Moving **
I am learning the art of moving gracefully and painlessly. I am not yet to a place of enthusiasm. But I am grateful. Grateful for having so many amazing friends who have extended their homes to me whenever I need them. I am grateful for living rent-free for 4 and-a-half months. I am grateful for the awesome realization of freedom that hit me at 4:00 today, that I could pick up and drive anywhere on the continent and make a life there, right now. I am grateful for getting rid of things, slowly, with each move, and I don’t miss any of them. (I can’t even remember them.)
** OH! BAMA! **
Speaking of grateful… although truth be told, ecstatic is the better word. Or ebullient, giddy or glee-filled. AMEN! HALLELUJAH! AMEN! (this is being sung by a big gospel choir in my head.)
I watched the returns come in Tuesday, accidentally, down at Esalen with the only person I know in Big Sur who is as big of a political junkie as I am. We shook and laughed and cried and screamed and sat quietly and hugged. (Thank you, J.) This was followed by a trip down to the local pub where there was much dancing and whooping. The profundity of this decision sunk in only after the fact: a black man, a black man with integrity and heart, a black man with courage and humility and vision and presence and grace, has been elected President of the United States by the majority of Americans. I can’t decide which is more impossible to believe: that Obama actually won, or that whole states of people out there voted for Sarah Palin.
I am learning what it feels like to be represented(!) and what it’s like to be in the majority(!). I am finding myself two degrees more courageous since Tuesday. I am just a little bit more willing to risk hoping. And I am reveling in discovering that just a little bit is so, so big.
** Writing Novels **
All I can do is sigh, with pity for this little human that I am. This ambitious and earnest and fragile little person. On Wednesday, I still didn’t have any vision for my story. I was writing disjointed fragments and as quickly as I wrote them I hated them. I hated my characters, my lack of a plot or vision, this whole big dumb idea of writing a novel. I stared at my screen for one whole hour without writing one whole word. I got up and ate chocolate and drank wine. I sat down to write again and fell asleep instead. I woke up and walked around slamming doors.
It was about this time that a little voice whispered in my ear, saying “This is why you signed up for this. Right now. This.”
I looked up an e-mail that I got from my super bestest novel-writing mentor ever, P, in the week before the NaNoWriMo started. I had relayed my anxiety to her about the whole thing and she offered this response. (She offered a complete list of points a thru i, but I only needed to read to d, this time. Hope you don’t mind me sharing, P.) She writes:
oh, i hear you, sister friend. i hear you.
and i hope that you will:
a. give yourself permission to write the worst crap ever. like, seriously awful crap.
b. and that for a while it bothers you, how much crap you’re slinging. that you start to wonder if you have any business at all writing.
c. and i hope that when that happens (because it will) you keep writing.
d. and after you keep writing even though you hate everything coming out of you, that you start to think it’s fun and silly and awesome (because you will and it is).
It was the two degrees of relief and hope and trust that I needed to start writing again. I haven’t stopped since. I am still way behind the word count I should be at, but I don’t much care.
If you fancy reading the occasional, random excerpt, I’m posting them at:
http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/425881 (Click “Novel Info”)