In 11th grade, I woke up the morning after Halloween feeling quite overwhelmed by the immensity of the day ahead. That November 1st had a lot of weight for me, for a couple reasons. The first was that it was my mom’s birthday, which is always an uneasy day for me. It was the second year her birthday came without her, and I’d had some time to mourn and heal since her death. Unfortunately, that made the day harder; it felt like I was reopening old wounds. Tomorrow will be hard for me, like any other November 1st. I still have the last gift I ever bought her, but never got the chance to give to her tucked away into my jewelry box, unopened for four years now.
On that particular November 1st, I had that at the forefront of my mind, along with something else: National Novel Writing Month. I somehow talked myself into writing a novel within the thirty days of November and I had to start that day. It felt unreachable, impossible, unlikely. I had mountains of AP English homework, hours of dance rehearsal each week, a million responsibilities that took up all of my time already. Fitting in time to write 1,000 words a day that coherently fit together and resemble a story seemed about as likely as learning to fly. Yet, I wrote 1,000 words that day about a boy named Ross and a girl named Billie. And I kept writing all month. I didn’t hit my word count every day. Some days I exceeded it. I used a lot of Led Zeppelin lyrics to fill in gaps.
By the evening of November 30th, I was hunched over a laptop cramming in my last few words. Billie and Ross had become so much more than a fake girl and a fake boy. I cried as I typed the last words of their story. On December 1st, it was over. And I had won. I wrote a 30,000 word “novel” in 30 days (it’s more of a novella honestly); I created something that I thought I couldn’t. I created something that only I could.
Tonight, I’m going to bed with much of the same anxieties as my 11th grade self. Tomorrow will be difficult for me. I miss my mama. I wish I could call her and tell her Happy Birthday and make fun of her for getting old. But I can’t. She never got the chance to get old, or to wait for me to call from 800 miles away, or to read my novel. And she won’t be able to read my next one either.
That’s right; I’m fearlessly (stupidly) attempting to write a novel (50,000 words this time) this November. And I have similar qualms. I have stacks of readings for my four classes, midterms to study for, hours of dance rehearsals each week, three jobs, appointments with advisors, episodes of Bones to watch. At least a week of November, I’ll be back home in NC, trying to spend as much time with as many people as possible, from Leland to Fort Mill to Kings Mountain to Gastonia. So much to do, so many people to see, so many words to write, so little time.
But I want to write. I want to create characters and tell interesting stories about their lives. I haven’t felt passionate about things I’ve created in a long time. And I love poetry, and I love this blog, but I want to do more. Some people are hopeless romantics; I’m a hopeless writer. I ache to write, even when life tells me not to; even when life tells me it’s impossible; even when I don’t believe the promises I tell myself.
Expect shorter posts until December, guys. November’s gonna be a busy, bumpy month. I’ll be pretty miserable, I’m sure. But it’ll be worth it. I don’t know if I’ll finish on time. I don’t know if I’ll even make it halfway. But I’m gonna try, so wish me luck, send me good thoughts, pray for me. I’ll need all the positive energy I can get. Happy Halloween, happy November, and to my fellow nano-ers, happy writing!