National Novel Writing Month

It is very likely that I will, in the coming month, be posting quite a few updates about my progress with my novel.  “Which novel?” you may well ask.  And I would reply, “I have no idea, but I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo on the prayer that there’s one sitting in my brain that is worth putting on a page.”

Let’s back it up: apparently November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.  It is a time when writers all over the country gather together in coffeeshops and digital community spaces to write together and to encourage each other in its titular endeavor.  And, as someone who has taken to referring to her craft as a “writing career”, I felt that I should participate.  The problem is that I have no earthly idea what to write about.

I have a couple of fantasy stories knocking around inside my brain.  I have a story about current military controversies, as told from several sides.  I have an unconventional-family drama.  I have the novel I abandoned last year, once I realized that the story arc was DOA.  I have an interracial love story that I’ve been toying with since I saw Aida at the age of thirteen (it’s nothing like Aida).  I have a story about an Iñárritu-like convergence of strangers.  And I have the story of Alexandra Cole, the woman that I would’ve loved to have been in another life.

I have my semi-autobiographical novel about high school.  I have a serial drama about odd episodes in my life.  I have a highly-romanticized account of my eventual film career.  And I have the story that I have not yet thought of, the one that exists in some existential story-space in which a writer must believe in order to craft a truly authentic story.

Anyway.  Once I hone in on a story, I expect that I will let you know, dear reader.  I expect that this will be the substance of my conversations in November.  I expect that I will solicit your interest in my proposed writing career.  But I expect most of all that my enthusiasm will simply be impossible to constrain.

Wish me luck, &c., because I have apparently resolved to write a novel.

Go Fix Yourself. Or Not.

It’s not easy being green.

I’m not sure why.  I mean, yes, Kermit would stick out because not everyone is green.  But many frogs are.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that Kermit is considered normal in the frog community.  I would like to propose instead that it’s not easy being flawed.  And it’s not easy to know what flaws are okay.

My therapist seems to think this is a priority.  She says that my therapy journey is to be “90% self-acceptance and only 10% self-improvement”.  But every fiber of my being rails against that.  And here’s why: As a Christian and as a crazy person, I accept that I am, based on empirical data and personal moral code, deeply and irretrievably flawed.  But I have been taught to strive to be my best self (mostly by Little Women, which I, in my youth, regarded as a greater authority than the Bible).  So I should root out—I should strenuously labor to correct—all of the flaws that stand in the way of that.


Well, I guess that’s therapy precluded.  I want one hundred percent self-improvement, one hundred percent of the time.  I want to be good and lovely and kind and joyful.  I want to be someone who is a pleasure and a blessing to all who come in contact with her.  And I want to have the self-confidence to know my merit, without needing validation or over-analysis to verify that I have achieved these things.  Not only do I want to correct all of my faults, I also want to stop thinking about them.

This is not going to happen.  Thankfully, I trust my therapist as a best-self authority, so I’m willing to open myself up to this self-acceptance thing.  I’m not sure, though, how to know what flaws need to be changed.  There’s no guide for any of this.  I have a misperception of what I should be, and I have a misperception of how I can become that; and I have a misperception of these misperceptions.  So I’ll conclude with yet another open resolution, yet another vow to solve a problem to which I’ve already admitted I lack the solution.  Sigh.

Today I resolve to figure out what needs to be figured out and to figure out how to figure that out and to figure out how to live my life.  Somehow.

“Gee, could you vague that up for me?”