Today begins the first day of the month of November, being namely the Feast of All Saints in the Roman Catholic church. The new chaplain said mass, and the members of the choir sang and played. It was an exercise in improvisation, given that I wasn’t able to make it to rehearsal on Wednesday due to going downtown for my farewell dinner. But still, on a feast day where we pray to all the Saints, perhaps St. Jude was watching out for us, keeping his special eye on the motley group of musicians who have found their way to Camp Arifjan and come to celebrate the mass with us.
As well as being a holy day of obligation, November 1 is also the kickoff for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I have adopted the “slow and steady” approach this year, as well as the “no Internet or movies until you write your daily 1667 words” approach. Although I’m currently in the middle of clearing post in order to prepare to return home, I think I will have enough time to sit down and complete the amount of words I need to accomplish in order to hit 50,000 by November 30.
I wrote a post a few days ago about giving up my plots in order to improvise my way through this year’s NaNo. Consequently, I sat down this morning without a first line, without a new document, without even a name for my main character. I started by doing the ritual backup of the system to the external hard drive, clearing out some old documents, arranging my desktop, starting a new folder in my “Writing” folder, and opening a new document. I did all my formatting, got down to “Chapter One,” and hit a blank. I also thought about the fact that I had to go play at church in a few hours. So I did what any self-respecting Wrimo would do – I decided to procrastinate and take a shower. Apparently cleanliness helps with creativity, because when I was done I had my first paragraph in my head.
I made it to 2K pretty easily today. I’m under no illusions that every day will be like this. However, my main character has a name, her dog has a name, her friend has a name, and the book has an opening chapter. And now, I’m going to throw on a movie as I start to organize my gear to get picked up by the Army in a couple of days, so that I may soon be on my way home.
But … just for a teaser … here’s a few paragraphs of what I came up with this morning…
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The weather blew its wet chill, howling around the concrete and asphalt. Rose’s red Chucks were soaked the minute she got out of the car, leaning against the faux wood paneling while she waited for her legs to stop screaming their pins and needles message that she had been in one place way too long. Story of my life.
A flash of green through all the gray caught her eye. It was a green like not to be found in nature, and it flashed neon with limns of bright Day-Glo yellow across the highway.
“Holy— Stupid ass kid,” Rose Allen said out loud. “What the hell is he doing?”
The small creature darted across the highway, hopping the median and scurrying through the rain less than one hundred yards from the parked wagon. It paused, a microsecond of hesitation, glancing at her with a visage at once young and wizened, but maybe that was just a trick of the storm that poured harder than ever.
The hair on the back of Rose’s neck rose and the sirens of an oncoming fire truck screamed louder and with a warning that all was not right in the world, that there was something coming, something dark and gray and full of point-of-no-return unloveliness.
From the front seat, growling, deep and low. Frank stood, pointing, baring teeth. Rose, jolted, took a step forward.
And then kid, the creature, the mirage brought on by too much rain and not enough sleep, was scrambled and up over the concrete barriers and gone in the rain. Thunder rumbled to speed it on its way.
To be continued…