Last Sunday we had a power outage at Wellington Road. It was an individual fault, our second in five years. I was supposed to be baking a cake for the cake stall at the school fair. But, no. Instead we put the meat and fish that I had just bought in the chilly bin (Kiwi for cooler). And made coffee on the camping stove.
And there was the school fair. Sans cake.
How am I supposed to write a novel when life keeps interrupting me?
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. As you can imagine (and I've probably mentioned), Thanksgiving in New Zealand is pointless. There are no comparable Kiwi holidays. But Adam humours me. Because on holidays I turn into a sentimental sap.
The weather has just turned scorching hot. Spring lamb on the barbecue, asparagus, and strawberries make more sense than a big roast dinner to celebrate an abundant harvest. Some years I have plans to create a merry and festive Thanksgiving ritual. Of course none of these plans actually happen. Maybe next year.
I am grateful for the abundance of good things in my life. Even more so after the recent tragedy with the 29 Pike River miners in New Zealand. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
In the cities, there are public fireworks displays, but Guy Fawkes is really a night for amateurs. For a few days before Guy Fawkes, fireworks are on sale to the public. (The range of fireworks that are available doesn’t include firecrackers or rockets.)
It had been a scorching hot day, but at 7PM an enormous bank of clouds was rolling in from the south. The wind began to pick up. Gales are common in the Roaring Forties, and we are accustomed to fickle weather on Guy Fawkes Night. Adam is adept at lighting fireworks in wind and rain.
When it was dark, we could see a few stars. Neighbours from all around began to light their fireworks. We moved to the front garden, which has more open space. Adam lit the wicks of the fireworks that Five chose from the box. The fireworks had names like Gemini and T.N.T. There was noise and light and the smell of gunpowder. And then inside for hot cocoa before bed.
Adam: Didn’t you just do that?
Juli: Last year.
Adam: I thought it was a couple months ago?
Juli: You're thinking of NaBloPoMo. That’s when you post on your blog every day. NaNoWriMo is the novel writing challenge, when you write a book in a month. I think NaNoWriMo is easier than NaBloPoMo because you don’t need to show everyone what you’ve written...
Adam: (trying to walk out the door) O.K.
Juli: (still talking) And I think NaNoWriMo has helped me to gain confidence. Now I know that I can crank out books in a month (or two), and... (trails off when she realizes that she is talking to herself)
When I tell everyone that I am participating, NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are much more effective challenges. Then I am shamed into completing them (or at least trying to). If you want to follow my progress, or add me as a writing buddy, go here.
If I tell people about a New Book, especially before I have written 10,000 words, I feel anxious. I can be a bit superstitious, and I worry that I am going to jinx the New Book. New Books are fragile little bubbles that pop at the slightest hint of criticism. At 10,000 words, New Books become more sturdy.
About five years ago, I made an outline for this book, which is now stale rubbish. So I have started all over. My first step was to start brainstorming on my tumblr.
Now it's time to turn this book into something real--or a First Draft. But my New Book is behaving very badly. It was supposed to be an epistolary novel, but so far it is refusing to cooperate. Wish me luck!