What you’ve heard is true: November is national novel writing month. This is a tradition that is as old as time itself – eleven years. The official website (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) claims the first Nanowrimo was held in 1999. Yes, I thought time would be older as well. Who knew?
Still, this reminds me of the first time the kids ever came to Pennsylvania. Summer 2004. traci and I had been married for a few months, and we were driving down over the hill to visit Maga and Pappap. Zac was eleven, Sam was eight, and Naomi was four.
Sam said, “My friend had to have his index removed.”
I said, “His index?”
Sam said, “Yes.”
Naomi said, “Did it hurt?”
Sam said, “I didn’t feel a thing.”
Naomi said, “What’s an index?”
Zac said, “I think he means appendix.”
Sam said, “Yes, appendix.”
Naomi said, “What’s an appendix?”
Zac said, “Nobody knows.”
Naomi said, “Why do we have one if we don’t know what they are?”
Zac said, “Sometimes organs that were once useful lose their necessity as the body evolves in order to adapt to our environment.”
Sam said, “Basically, we grew out of it: like tonsils.”
Naomi said, “Yeah, but that was a long time ago. Like back in the nineties.”
This conversation is noteworthy to me, because it marks the first time I realized that my kids think of me not only as a different generation, but also as a primitive stage of the evolutionary cycle. All said, it’s not an awful feeling, and it does make me appreciate how difficult it was for my parents to adjust to losing their tails.
Meanwhile, back at National Novel Writing Month: traci and I have talked for years about taking part in this tradition. Each year, we’ve opted out. This year, we decided that since we’ve never been busier in our whole lives, we might as well try to crank out a 50,000 word work of fiction. (We are doing this unofficially.) That’s approximately 1,666 words a day.
In response to your first question: Is that a lot of words? Well, for instance, The Declaration of Independence has about 1,300 words. And that took fifty-six people like a month and a half to write. So, yes, I’d say 1,666 a day is a considerable amount.
In response to your second question: Will I be in your novel? No, you will not. Rather, I’m attempting a fantasy novel I’m tentatively calling The Epic Asskicking Saga of Princess Badass. It’s terrible. Perhaps the worst thing I’ve ever written. traci is writing an awesome novel, which she will tell you all about at a later date. You are not in that novel either.
But maybe you’ll be in the sequels. Meanwhile, we are both a little bit behind schedule, but optimistic. As neither of us teaches on Fridays, we have vowed to write our asses off on those days. I’ll leave you with that compelling image. Wish us luck.