NaNoWriMo. You feel, if you are me, that you shouldn’t be too negative about NaNo.

Is that because I feel that I would be letting the side down?

Well, this is just me, but I can’t make out how they think NaNo is fun.

I’ve made a commitment, so I do feel as though I should (dreaded word) carry on with it.

I did some housework today, and it was a treat.

I have done much washing the last couple of days, even though the weather has been abysmal.

Wait – was it yesterday that the weather was abysmal?

Rained all day, I think.

Cold today, but I hung some clothes out on the line (yes, I still do that), and they have come in dryer than they went out.

When I was sixteen, I said I would never talk about when I washed my curtains.

Wish I could – wash my curtains – but that isn’t going to happen soon.

It’s just, I’m not house-proud as such, but it eventually gets me down if the dust builds up too much.

What is ‘too much’?

When it starts getting me down.

What a thing to talk about in the middle of NaNo.

But there is an indefinable quality about a place if it has been cleaned.

People who work in buildings don’t even think about the cleaners having been there.

They’d soon notice if they hadn’t.


I’m finding, through this general word-sprint, which is what the whole of NaNo is like, as far as I am concerned, that the way I write, the sort of writer I am, is coming into focus – what I should have known, but hadn’t actually said to myself – not recently, anyway.

Now you’ll be disappointed if I don’t explain that.

I was re-reading A S Byatt, Possession, which won the 1990 Booker Prize.

I’d had the book lying around for some time, and I thought I’d read it, get rid of it – its pages had become yellow and it was a bit smelly, the way paperbacks can become after years and years.

It’s not an easy read, but it is more than brilliant.  Oh, I’ll say the word – it is postmodernist.  It is feminist also, but it is – I’d prefer to say it ‘brings in questions of the theoretical’.  (Forget I used the ‘ist’ ending at all.)

Because it does bring in the theoretical, to say it is ‘brilliant’, as though Byatt is something of a genius, is the wrong way to talk about it.

Oh, I can’t get into all that now – I’ve got to make the meal – NaNo takes up much of your ordinary time, and I would never do it again – not in this ‘beat the word-count’ way.

Possession, by the way, is a romance.

But not in a genre way.

And I think, if I live long enough (I know – how miserable all this is making me), I won’t write genre – and I’m sort of disappointed because I think genre would be more popular.  And I have nothing against genre.

But I’ve been educated to the roots of my hair.

You can’t wipe that sort of thing from your mind.

NaNoWriMo. Don’t worry. It’ll be over soon. 36,000 words.

In my manuscript – I’ll call it that – I now have as many questions as I have definitive decisions.

The character watched the character – from how far away? – she knows he is there – how can she tell? – how far into his watching of her does she first begin to know? – does she finally see the bushes over there moving?  – over where?

What does he see?  What is in the way of his vision?

Where has he come from?  Why?  He knows she won’t . . . and so he . . .

I remember I went to the Brownies for a while when I was a kid.

I went with my sister and we must have gone with friends – we would never have thought of it on our own.

I hated that, as well.  It was worse than NaNo.

That was about badges too.

All I remember was learning how to do knots.  I can still do a reef knot.  And a granny knot – what a thing to call it!  My granny, aka, Nanny, used to use granny knots to start her sewing.

But that was before this time.

Everyone had a smart brown uniform – it was a dress tied in the middle.

I was tall for my age at that time, and they only had one that fit me – it was a washed-out shit colour – sorry, but it was.  I didn’t feel smart in it and Brown Owl didn’t seem apologetic-enough about it.  It was as though she didn’t care, not really and deep down.

It was held in the church hall which later burnt down.

We went there on cold November nights walking through the dark, but keeping to the main lights along the way, as Mam had told us.

It was like prison, being in the Brownie meeting.

In the summer, it was bob-a-job week, and we knocked, door-to-door.

One woman got us clearing wicken grass from her back garden.

An impossible task for young girls.  That was it – it must have been that Margaret we went with – it was her mother who gave us that job.  We toiled all afternoon – it was a Saturday – and dug out hardly any of it.  And Margaret said to her, at last, that we couldn’t do it.

Silly woman, thinking we could.

I think we got our shillings.

My sister left after that year – she was older than I was and she was supposed to move up into the Guides, which she didn’t want to do.

I left also – there was no way I would have another year of that without my sister – Margaret had left long since.

I haven’t thought of this for years and I may have got some details wrong.  This is as I am remembering it now, an off-shoot of NaNo.

It took over my life for a time, Brownies – well, the days we went to it, but we had to go to church as well, on a Sunday.

I didn’t like that, either.

It was as though you were never out of school, always somewhere you had to be, no free time, no freedom.

No.  We weren’t necessarily sent to church, ever.

We had a few spells of it, chosen.

32,000 words.

NaNoWriMo. I’ve gotta admit – I’m getting mighty bored with it now – I’m more interested in the blog –

I got a Members’ Badge yesterday.

I thought I was a member as soon as I signed up – there was a message to that effect – maybe you have to wait for the badge until they make it – I can now . . .

Did they say, before, that I could not post things in the forums?  If I can only do that now, no wonder what I said before disappeared into the aether.

Anyway, I don’t care so much.

I’ve been reading in the forums and there are some interesting people there.

27,000 words at the last count – that was yesterday.

There was a local event yesterday – 11 till 4 – here, in this town.  (Rather than being in towns I would have difficulty reaching.)

I didn’t see the notice for it until a quarter to four – something like that.

11 to 4?  When’s lunch, then?  I don’t miss out meals, these days.  I suppose I could have had one of those huge breakfasts.  You know, the English breakfast.  You get nice Scottish breakfasts in Scotland.  You can have real Scottish porridge – it’s better than what you make yourself at home.

Breakfast – it used to be my favourite meal.

Maybe I could re-instate it as something special.

Maybe not.

I’m not sure of all that bacon every day.  Maybe I could go for sausage.  Maybe not.  Who, me?

I’m not procrastinating rather than getting on with the forced march of NaNoWriMo –

Okay.  I’ll get to it soon.  Huh!

This NaNo has been awful, and yet I have learnt from it.

I went into it blind, as I must (I’m speaking for no other people now, just myself).

I’d heard of it before, knew someone once (he is now out of my sphere), who had done it.

But even that was hearsay for me – he had done NaNoWriMo before I met him, and he’d said not much about it.

For years, I had known of its existence, and immediately dismissed the idea of doing it.  I didn’t work that way.

I even dreaded it –

At one time, I had started to blog (and that had been a stretch for me, beginning that after following one or two people for quite some time) –

And I hated it when one person I’d commented with through her site, said she was going to do it.

I knew she would disappear from the blog-scene for quite some time.

And she did.

We parted company after that, in any case.

There were a couple of people then who did – at least their own versions of – NaNo.

I don’t know what made me decide to do it, this year.

I had more problems at home than I’d previously had.

Maybe I knew, somewhere deep inside (I work from that place most often), that it was time to do NaNoWriMo, regardless – give it a shot.

Conveniently forgetting the reasons I had decided, other years, that it wasn’t for me, I embarked upon it.

I had forgotten that, if you decide to do anything that involves joining in, it is inevitable that it makes inroads upon your time.

Of course it does.

And yet I forgot that all my time is already neatly (or not neatly) tied up, and that . . .

I’m losing this thread.

NaNoWriMo. We’re half-way through the month but I now just want this done, if I can – this is how I feel today – so that I can get back to projects I was working on before.

I say all this but I can’t say that it is absolutely so, as I say it.

I went to the optician’s recently, got my eyes tested, began the process of choosing the glasses.  I used to wear contact lenses, but not these days.

The assistant asked what I had in mind for frames.

And I said – something nondescript that blended in, weren’t obvious.

And I ended up with definite purple ones.

Well, purple is one of my colours.

My last pair had purple – wings, I would call them – thinking back, they were retro when I got those – there was probably a fashion, then, for retro.  They were reminiscent of styles of the 50s.  1950s, that is.  It’s funny – now that we’re in another century, I feel as though I must specify – as though, old as I am, I might go back to the 1850s or something!

These glasses – the new ones – thick purple frames, all round.

Not blending in – I have this idea that glasses might blend in and appear not to be there.  I am not of the Harry Potter generation where glasses are cool.

And these are there, all right.

I started wearing glasses when I was nine years old, and, in my mind, I’m back in that time to quite an extent – thinking of then.

The novel-length – science fiction elements starting to come in – I have some that I’m going to put in.  They have come to mind as the stories did that I have bunged in there.

They belong there, and I suspect that the SF belongs there, also.

I’m hoping, in a way, that I can take that from science fiction into the ordinary.

That seems a strange ambition even to me – science fiction seems so much more exciting than the ordinary.

But I have always felt that I couldn’t write science fiction.

We’ll see.