Once upon a time, I worked as a family counselor, then I worked as an alcoholism counselor, then I worked as a news photographer, then I became a photo editor and then my company bought me out. Now I photograph what I want, and write what I want.
Yesterday, Marc Lamont Hill tweeted, “I’m going to need all White people to denounce this ugly act of racist domestic terrorism.” This reading list is me denouncing the actions of a white supremacist terrorist, who visited a Wednesday night Bible study at one of the most important, sacred sites of Black religious and political freedom with the exclusive intention of killing attendees in cold blood. White people: we have to do better. We can’t deflect responsibility for this tragedy; we can’t blame this on mental illness (many of my friends and I deal with mental illness every day; none of us have murdered anyone). We have to demand accountability from one another and stand up for people of color—in the streets, in our Facebook feeds, in our offices and homes.
I loved the novel1 of this title, by Ray Bradbury when it first came out. The movie came out years later and I was unimpressed. I think I’ll read it again.
Something Wicked This Way Comes. Published 1962. The novel combines elements of fantasy and horror, analyzing the conflicting natures of good and evil and how they come into play among the characters in a carnival setting. ↩
I look in the mirror and I can see the traits my father had. The errant eyebrow twisting out from the other hairs, the narrow face. Growing up, people always said I looked like my father and that my brother looked more like my mother.
Looking in the mirror now as I comb my hair, I see the eyes. Lately, my eyes have been tearing for no apparent reason, and tearing a lot. Just the way my mother’s eyes teared. She was always dabbing away tears.
I don’t know… My eyes just keep waterin’.
She said that often. Now, it is my eyes that are watering and there’s nothing I can do about it. I look worried, despite feeling fine. I look like I have a permanent scowl. I got my kidney disease from my mother. Is that what causes the constant look of sadness?
I look in the mirror now, and I see my mother. My father has receded. And she and I are in the foreground. Just like it used to be.
This past November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO1) for the first time.
Trying to create a novel of 50,000 words in thirty days is quite a task. Unfortunately, I did not succeed in that goal, however I learned a great deal in my effort.
I learned, concretely, that procrastination is my foremost difficulty in writing (and probably other areas of my life as well. 😱 )
No character or story is written in stone when in the creating process. I was totally surprised at how it forced me to think about the story in a different way when faced with a word-count deadline.
Save the editing for later… It can slow you down. A lot.
Writing 600 words is easy,… 1,667 words2 is somewhat more difficult.
I’m not the only one!
These are the principal ideas I came away with. For the record, I finished on November 30th with 37,228 words. That’s right. Only 12,712 words shy of the goal. Why? Because I procrastinated too many days and toward the end, I literally got sick. In the bed sick. My illness is not the issue now. It’s January and NANOWRIMO continues to push me with editing what I have written and getting my work read.
So I continue working on my story and learn more about where to proceed from here. Meanwhile, that story that was bottled up for so long, seems to have allowed other ideas and stories to bubble to the surface, and now my biggest issue is determining which story gets priority.
I may or may not ever publish anything, but I am really enjoying this entire process.
“National Novel Writing Month, shortened as NaNoWriMo (na-noh-ry-moh), is an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place every November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1 and 30. Despite its name, it accepts entries from around the world. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing, no matter how bad the writing is, through the end of a first draft.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Novel_Writing_Month ↩
This is the average word-count you need to reach per day, in order to make the 50,000 word deadline by November 30th. ↩