Eleven days to go until I get to spend a month with Carrie, Caleb, Opal, Gerald, Paul, Joe, Mamie and of course Henry. I'll be traveling to Central California, down to Long Beach, and making a couple of runs out to Yale University too.
I'll be living with them all, for all of November. I checked in with each of them last July, just to make sure I understood where they were all at, but nothing has happened in their lives since last Christmas Eve, which for them occurred on November 30th, 2006.
Seriously. Absolutely nothing more in their lives has happened.
I feel very privileged to know them. As far as I know, I am one of only eight people in the world know who do know who they are.
And I really do know them, know each of them oh so well. As I write this, I can see the tilt of Opal's head as she listens to Joe talking in the kitchen. I can hear Caleb's teasing voice as he draws Carrie out of herself. I can smell the exhaust from Gerald's truck, and feel the silky white of Henry's feathers.
On November first, I will enter a truck stop diner in Paseo Robles. It will be early morning, Christmas morning, to be exact, and a roomful of strangers will be waking up as friends.
Joe will have coffee ready, and Opal will be chatting with Carrie about her plans for Christmas dinner. Caleb will be heading home for Hanukkah dinner.
And Henry, as always, will be hungry.
How is it possible that I know this?
Last year at this time none of these people existed, except a glimpse of Carrie and a thought about Caleb. The rest of the people just showed up, one by one, bringing their cars and personalities, backgrounds and in one case, their cockatoo.
I really didn't expect the cockatoo.
One night in my ongoing effort to stay awake at the library, I was reading blogs. I think I hit the "next blog" button, but I am not sure.
There was a short post by a woman who announced she had just finished writing a really crappy (her term) novel, but that she was absolutely pleased with herself. She explained that she had heard about the National Novel Writing Month challenge and had signed up.
She explained how a guy named Chris Baty had always wanted to write a novel "one day", but finally came to his senses and realized that it is not possible to write a novel in "one day."
He decided instead to write a novel in one month.
In just thirty days.
Chris is a total Northern California nut, and he convinced a few of his equally crazy friends to join him in the adventure.
Much to their surprise, they each churned out 50,000 words (a novella, really, but NOVEL just sounds so much more impressive...) It was such a blast, that more folks joined into the challenge the next year. And the next, and the next, until last year some 79,000 people worldwide were taking to their keyboards on November 1st. Last year about 13,000 of those people crossed the November 30th finish line with 50,000 words (or roughly 175 pages) finished with a new novel freshly born.
I was one of those people.
This morning I got an email from my imagination.
It was time to get ready for another month of literary abandon.
It was time to sign up.
If you, for any reason whatsoever, would like to join in with the Novel Writing Month activities, (it's free!) just click here to get started.
It does help to read Chris Baty's book "No Plot, No Problem" before you start. It is such a hoot, even if you don't take the challenge I can promise you that laughter will ring from your location as you read.
How crazy is this Nanowrimo stuff?
Well, actually an impressive amount of authors have had their original draft created as part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge (also known as Nanowrimo for short.) Some of them wrote their first novel during Nanowrimo, (ever heard of the book Water for Elephants?)and got signed to write a second novel during Nanowrimo for multiple millions. Five millions to be exact, for a book that hadn't even been written yet.
You go Sara Guen!
(No, this isn't what is going on with me. Nope, sorry.)
This year the Nanowrimo pep talk authors include Sue Grafton and Tom Robbins.
How fun is that? I'm excited about having these authors cheer us Nanowrimo writers on.
But I am even more excited about finding out what happens next in my novel.
Because right now, I really don't know what will happen.
Except that everyone is in place, and waiting for a chance to come alive again.
I can't wait to be there.
I can't wait to read what they do.
But first I have to write it.
And do some traveling to Central California, Long Beach and Yale.
Travel that will happen only in my mind.
I'll be flying on my fingertips.
Wonder who I'll meet.
Want to sit next to me?
Sign up and write a novel too.
I'd love to have you be my writing buddy!
I would be so much fun!