I am happy to say the NaNoWriMo ended on my part this afternoon. I have a thick pile of paper sitting on my printer tray. A raw manuscript of my second book.
It’s all there in a primitive form, the good and the bad: adventures, struggles, emotions and life learnings. It’s a story of a young “green hat” who goes to Africa on a mission to save the world, but ends up saving only herself. The writing journey over these past 28 days was all but easy, and I realize it has just only begun.
It is time to take a break from it. I’ll need to catch my breath after running for my life from charging elephants, and hiding under my bed during a wild shootout. Then, at some point, I’ll need to start editing it…and hopefully it’ll find its way to the public domain sometime late next year. For Christmas would be nice.
Now I’ll be catching up on your blogs and on my visits to see Papa Osprey. And some work that’s been neglected lately.
It’s Saturday here in Florida. Sunny, windy and cool. And it’s November 1, 2014. This day arrived much too fast, and I’m not prepared. Not even close. But you know what? I’m a brave soul, so I’m going to do it anyway. Plunge right into the shadows.
I’ll be attempting to write my second novel during this month. A fairly complete first draft. NaNoWriMo is here, and it starts today. Unlike last year, I won’t get any help from Bumble. Why? Is this sweet dog suddenly becoming uncooperative? No, it’s really simple. He was not there, in Africa. But I’m sure he’ll sympathize, and offer a warm paw on my shoulder on a daily basis. In exchange for a light back massage.
So I’m all alone with my recollections of that time. And what I might have learned from those adventurous days, months and years when Africa changed my perspectives on life. Here’s a little teaser.
It’s all about perspective. When you lay on your back on the parched ground, you will see bright blue skies through the opening formed by your body in the tall elephant grass. It’s yellowed and crispy. It doesn’t move. You see, there is not a breath of wind. Instead, the air is vibrating in the heat, adding shifting patterns to the sky. And you think of dance. Relaxing, slow dance of the universe. Music in B flat. Your perspective on life is being adjusted by Africa.
This will not be easy. There will be some pain along the way. And doubts about the value of my story. Or how it’s being told. The crocodile is waiting. But I have to try. This story has been bugging me for quite a while now. And know myself. I work best under tight deadlines. Always have.
To reinforce the time aspect, and make it a bit more difficult to quit, I’ve put a validated word counter on my side bar. I’m hoping for some butt-kicking from my friends here when the bar doesn’t move. Such a kind act would improve the meager odds of reaching my goal of 50,000 words in November. I’m also hoping some friends will join me on this journey. It would be easier to suffer through the upcoming 29 days together.
I’ll probably post short poems and quotes to express my mood of the day along the way. And maybe one or another tiny update on Papa Osprey. I’ll need to exercise too when I sit nailed to my chair most of the time, right? I’ll also try my best to hang around your blogs to fetch inspiration for my journey. But it’ll probably be late in the day and a bit less than usual. I hope you’ll understand.
Finally we are up for air, my writing partner and I. You see, last November right around NaNoWriMo time, Mister Bumble insisted that he wanted to write his story. He would call it “Confessions of a Rescue Dog”. He asked me to type it since I’m a bit faster than him. When I hesitated, he went to his archives and brought me a quote. That did it.
The quote was written on a simple piece of white paper and it read: “Rescue animals aren’t broken. They’ve simply experienced more life than other animals. If they were human, we would call them wise. They would be the ones with tales to tell and stories to write… animals dealt a bad hand, but who responded with courage. Don’t pity a shelter animal. Adopt one! And be proud to have their greatness by your side.” -Anonymous
I thought his story was worth telling. In fact, it’s quite heart-warming and uplifting. So he started narrating and I started typing. And typing. For the whole month of November. Then came December and we both got busy with other things. I re-engaged in some income generating activities and Bumble concentrated on his work, namely protecting our home from shady characters. We made a few efforts towards editing the manuscript late at nights, but achieved little.
The holidays came and went. The manuscript was covered by soft cushions in a corner of the sofa in my office. Until one day, when Bumble was digging there to make a bed for himself, it fell down on the floor. And I knew we had to finish the book.
We got to work. Reviewing, editing, reviewing again. Then one day great illustrations appeared in my inbox. My son had finalized the cover and several other images for the book. Now we just had to get to the finish line.
So finally our joint labor is bearing fruit. 175 pages of treats for pet lovers. Just before midnight yesterday, the book was submitted for publishing. Bumble did it! He wants to help other animals find loving forever homes so he committed us to donate a portion of the sales to the Humane Society’s shelter here at home. We have been there, seen all the dogs, cats, rabbits and birds waiting for a new home. It’s a large and well run no-kill shelter.
We’ll let you know when and where Bumble’s story will be available. When you read it, please remember not to take all his observations about me literally. While I think that he’s a fairly accurate analyst of human behavior, I have noticed that he tends to exaggerate a bit when I’m concerned.