Sunday, November 22, 2009

November Woes as it Comes to a Close!

Many apologies to my readers for being woefully uncommunicative in my blog. November is almost over, and that heralds the end of my busiest and most over-committed month of the year! The quest to pen 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month is a huge undertaking, but even more so when you spend your 40-hour work week writing and editing! I’m talking writing burn-out, and I admit I have no one to blame but myself for taking on such a task.

It has been obvious to me over the last few years that the originators of National Novel Writing Month were young males with no obvious need for concern over which month to have the event. Maybe we should move it to March, when everyone is bored, tired of winter and in need of something creative to get them through to actual spring weather.

Penning 50K words in the midst of pre-Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations (as in planning, cooking, cleaning and readying for the onslaught of houseguests), work, additional activities and events associated with the holidays that have to be attended, shopping for gifts, and on and on ad nauseum, tends to put my stress meter above the red line!

But enough of the whining! I will buck up and get it done. I’m expecting my son and his crew to arrive from New Jersey and stay a few days. My daughter, her BF and possibly his crew, will be coming for dinner as well. So a 20-22# turkey and all the trimmings are on the horizon. Once again, I have no one to blame but myself that they all expect a traditional Thanksgiving meal from scratch with few, if any, shortcuts.

Even still, I am determined to take the stress out of the holiday meal and get as much of the accessory cooking done on Wednesday as I can manage. I’m also NOT breaking out the good china. We will be doing a traditional meal on disposable decorator plates. We will be using real flatware, but much of the after meal mess will be chucked into the trash (rather than two or three runnings of the dishwasher to get it all cleaned up.

Today is food shopping for Thanksgiving, and I will be doing some additional cooking when I get home from a 2-hour rehearsal for Handel’s Messiah (performance next Sunday). Since my son and crew are staying a few days, I’m making a large pan of lasagna and sticking it in the freezer to have the day after.

This is the plan so far, and I’m sticking to it. I just haven’t figured out how to fit in the last 19 or 20K words on that NaNoWriMo novel!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

There is no soul in Sowell

Anthony Sowell…that name is already synonymous with infamous serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Gary Heidnik, Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer. It is frightening that such a rampant stream of killings went completely unnoticed for two years. It is even more frightening that there is a good possibility the same said Anthony Sowell might be responsible for an earlier rash of murders in East Cleveland back in the 80s called the Strawberry Murders. That murder spree ended, coincidentally, about the same time Anthony Sowell was sentenced to 15 years in prison for kidnap and rape.

I can’t begin to fathom what type of demons possess the Anthony Sowells of the world. Obviously, no one in their right mind would live in a house full of decaying corpses. What makes me cringe is the report of him being friendly to everyone and inviting the neighbors for barbeque…in shades of Dahmer, I have to wonder exactly what a man with no visible means of support was serving up to the neighborhood folk.

Unfortunately, most psychopaths have what seem to most of us to be normal charming behaviors and personalities. You can’t tell a book by its cover fits this scenario perfectly. Ted Bundy was a perfect example of this, handsome and charming.

Exactly when are we going to stop letting people fall through the cracks? We have national databases of donors, and medical record, insurance, credit cards…surely every single person reported missing with all the pertinent particulars should be entered into a national database. Programs should run regularly on that data looking for similarities in location, genders, body types, ages, races, whatever we can do to link cases together so the Anthony Sowells of this world can be stopped at a couple, rather than dozens.

Local law enforcement needs to check more closely on missing persons reports. It should not matter what the neighborhood is or if the person missing has a record of prostitution or drug complaints. These are human beings, not numbers. We are all created equal, we all put our pants on one leg at a time, eat, drink, cry and bleed. We all have parents, siblings, children. Every missing person case should be treated as what it is, a tragedy that needs to be addressed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's that NaNo time of year!

Yes folks, it's that time of year when the wanna-be novelists put their fingies to the keyboards and click-clack away! And once again, I am acting as municipal liaison for Lake County emissary for the deviants who created National Novel Writing Month back in 1999. What started as your basic lunatic idea, attempting to write a 50,000-word novel in one month, has become an annual international phenomenon.

When I wrote my first novel, it was an exercise. I wanted to see if I could actually write a complete book. It took an entire year of voicing my thoughts into a hand-held recorder while driving or waiting for kids, then typing it up during my lunch breaks at work until it was all in one cohesive document. I was determined to prove to myself that I could do it. And I did.

Most people out there who just "know" they have a book in them don't have the drive to get it down on paper or computer. The task seems overwhelming.

They begin to create, and by the time they've massaged the same chapter a hundred times, they give up. The point of NaNoWriMo is to get it on paper. Just write with abandon: no editing, no rewriting. As NaNo's are fond of telling people "Editing is for the OTHER 11 months of the year." (You have to do something while you're waiting for the next year's event, right?)

I will be the first to admit, this is probably not the most "normal" way to write a book, but is there really an acceptable way to create? I know someone who was so desperate to get her book written that she would write on a notepad in the bathroom while sitting atop the throne. It was the only place in the house that she could get away from the kids and the husband and have a few minutes to herself. She wrote that entire book in her bathroom.

A novel written in a month can't be very good, you say? Amazing as it may seem, there have been several NaNo's who have cleaned up their NaNo manuscripts (taking advantage of the OTHER 11 months of the year) and managed to get book deals and publication.

So if writing that elusive novel has always been your dream, but you lack the motivation to attack the daunting task, join your fellow lunatic writers at and get that book written this month!