Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Happy masochist!

So, there I was on a Saturday (today as I write), sitting down for a minute’s rest, when I heard myself saying to Lucy: “I think I’ll watch a film this afternoon… Yes, I think I will. I’ll pretend to be disabled!”

And the very next moment I thought: “Ha! I should put that in the blog!” And look at me now: writing; no film; more “work” – MASOCHIST!

And, you know what, I’ve been thinking I am lately – a masochist..

For instance, this month – November: well, after I mentioned it to you at the end of my last post, I did register with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so that’s meant writing profusely and as prolifically as possible (about 2,000 words a day), ever since, in an attempt to reach the 50,000-word goal and, more importantly, have a novel to show for it by the last day [30th instant].

Alas, that idea hasn’t quite worked for me but it could have done and, nevertheless, there have been lots of benefits from taking part…

I started off with the novel premise in my head that had been hovering for about 10 years. In the weeks leading up to the first day, I wrote out a 10,000 word outline. The night before the big beginning – Halloween – brother Blob came to dinner, Tom cooked and the intention (from where I was sitting, anyway) was to celebrate the whole NaNo extravaganza, commiserate with Blob for not actually joining in (he’d said he might weeks before), wish Tom well on his new Creative Writing course and (incongruously on a night I had deemed “literary night”) watch – and admire – a video recording of Blob’s latest punk gig (no comment!). But the main aim, of course (at least from where I was sitting, and sitting and sitting…), was to wish me luck and say “Fare thee well - we’ll be there for you!” – as I went under, hardly to be seen or heard from, for the duration!

Ho, ho, ho! Not a chance!

Well, a little bit, it went that way. But, oh, I don’t know, maybe I was tired (already? Well, I do have chronic fatigue with this MS!) and I was, definitely, a bit weepy when Blob said things like, he hadn’t known I was in pain all the time, and he couldn’t see anything wrong with euthanasia (dear Tom saved me there when he exclaimed: “Blob, haven’t I told you before: you have to leave your opinions outside the door when you come here!” Ooh, I didn’t look too good, but it did make me laugh.)!

The meal was great – good old Tom again and his culinary/hosting skills (he even had sweets ready for “Trick or treaters” – and then ate them when I said I couldn’t condone that!). Salmon curry – just to get me going (always the brain-food, don’t you know!). We played a nifty game of poker (I lost – can’t hide “tells”!). But…

Well, Blob and I talked a bit more about the novel, after Tom went to bed (he works Sat.). And I thought it was all systems go. But…

The next morning, sitting there with my tabula rasa, meant to be starting the novel-proper right there and then, well, I couldn’t get the Blob comments out of my head. Couldn’t believe there was still so much ignorance about MS, even in my own family.

And, because I’d mentioned, the night before, another book I’ve been trying to edit and get going again, Letter to a Son (written to the son “I” had adopted in 1969, mainly about Tom, the brother he’s never met, but, also, just about things in general – the way I do in this blog), I decided to go on with that (as Part Three). In other words (2,000 a day!) be a “NaNo Rebel” - as they call the non-fiction writers there. And that’s what I did…

Dropped the novel idea – at least, I thought, till I’ve finished the “memoir/journal” – and returned to the Letter.

And I was doing well (still no carers, Tom so absent, had to invest in a top-notch, 24hr-stays-hot Thermos flask; Lucy still not perfectly fit!), exhausted at times, stimulated with adrenalin pumping at others: doing well. By day eight, I had 15,000 written and was quite pleased with it (though I hated putting away the “inner editor” and was slightly concerned that I might not get time – in life – to tidy it up afterwards. Oh well, it was okay. I was on target. It was a fun thing (c. 120,000 taking part around the world; buzzing and informative forums to chat in) and just the universal vibe of writers together – great stuff!

You could hear it coming, couldn’t you?! CRASH! Bang. Wallop! Oh heck: the TV had broken at the end of October (wouldn’t you know it?!); “they” couldn’t bring a new one till mid-Nov.; Tom had to time it with a day off; I couldn’t manage without it; took “the man” a whole day to deliver and set it up!

Result: me needing time to recuperate; Tom at home (he would disagree with my use of semantics there – tough, I won’t change) for a couple of days, and lots of TV to watch! My “rest” went on and on. And then on reading a second email from Chris Baty, the founder of NaNo, well, I really wished I was being true to the spirit of the thing and writing my novel. He had so much good advice (as he does in his NaNo book) and I felt it would be great to be in tune with what he was saying. So I went back to the (science-) fiction...

And let the inner editor out.

And so, now, I’m kind-of out of the running to be a NaNo winner (no prize, just the title!) but have written easily 2,000 words every day and do have a novel coming along; will go back to the Letter; do have an idea for next year’s NaNo, and am happy, really, just to be more prolific and busy. Most of all then, I am grateful to NaNo.

So, that’s where we are. It’s not good, in terms of needing help, I suppose. But I don’t really want it (officially) and am making the most of all the time alone, writing; which is what I always wanted to do and keeps the boredom demon quiet.

And I know that’s not fair on Tom. But, hey, he gives me a hard time, I’m not going to beat myself up more over it. And, besides: what, for instance, if he was an Indian son, or Chinese, or… just a better Christian. He might be happy to help!

I guess I’ll go on like this a bit longer – while the Good Lord lets me, anyway.

And, quite honestly, be glad I’m a masochist. There’s method in my madness!

God bless.

P.S. Just said to Lucy: “Didn’t watch a film then!”

P.P.S. Not sure if I told you but also did get a freezer and microwave recently: yeah, pretty useful!

No comments: