The following subject is controversial. A good friend advised that I leave the topic alone, saying it’s up there with politics and religion. There are those writers who embrace it so personally and become so passionate, almost obsessive about the subject, that if you say anything negative about it you become the recipient of a slew of rude remarks. What am I talking about? NaNoWriMo.
Here’s my take on it, for whatever it is worth. If having this challenge thrown in your face is what you need to get you started writing, then NaNoWriMo is the way to go. But I have to ask – what is holding you back the other eleven months out of the year? Do you really need the Ready, Set, Go starter gunshot to get the muse within you woken up?
Nay I say! Now that you’ve started writing, don’t stop. What I worry about with the NaNoWriMo concept is you are so furiously beating the words out that by the end of the month, you’re burned out and you can’t look at the keyboard without breaking into a sweat. I hope this isn’t the case with you.
Here are two scenes that are Muse-worthy that happened this past week while I was driving. I so wish I could have gotten my camera out and taken a picture.
#1: Another day done at work. Would this traffic please hurry? I want to get home. Sitting at the stoplight, I check my cell phone for messages, glance up and the light is still red. I look over to the rearview mirror and am fascinated by the image I see behind me. Two women, the younger of the two possibly in her 40’s or 50’s is at the wheel. She grips the wheel like that of a teenager in a Driver’s Ed class, her hands in the 10 & 2:00 positions. The woman sitting beside her is in what looks to be her late 70’s. She’s got a purple hat on her head, all Sunday dressed. Is it a mother and daughter, aunt and niece? The questions begin to pop in my head one right after the other. For me, I imagine them to be a mother and daughter. The daughter has never married and dutifully takes care of her mom. But why? Why hasn’t she ever married? Is she timid? Jilted? Here are the makings of a great short story.
#2: On my way to work. I could drive it in my sleep. Turn right and then turn right again to get out of the neighborhood. It seems like there is always someone walking their dogs on this street or jogging. Don’t these people work? It’s a beautiful fall day, still warm but sweater-worthy. All the trees are turning orange and fire engine-red. Each year I wonder what kind of trees they are so I can go out and buy one to put in my yard. Then I pass them on my left. I want to stop the car, put it in reverse so I can take a picture and freeze it in time but I don’t, it would be too weird. There stopped on the sidewalk is a mother with an empty stroller. The toddler, the obvious occupant of the empty stroller, is standing beside her mother reaching up. She wants to touch the pretty fall leaf hanging from the tree. Her mother, instead of breaking off the leaf to hand it to her has instead bent the soft limb over and down towards her child. The scene is heartwarming and could take place in Anywhere, U.S.A. Is the mother as happy and content as she seems? Maybe she’s been the victim of spousal abuse and is hiding from the father. Ever seen the movie with Julia Roberts, “Sleeping With The Enemy”? Yea. Ready, Set, Go – there is your starter gunshot.
The point I’m trying to make is, for the other eleven months, open your mind. Muses are all around you waiting to be discovered every single day. Don’t let them pass you by waiting for that one single month to be heard.