Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writing a Novel? Again?

Some years ago, I spent one year writing a mystery novel. I loved it and had great fun. My husband was kind enough to provide me space and time to complete the work. Needless to say, when it was finally reviewed by a professional, it wasn't so hot.

The urge to write that work (that I only recently decided was no longer worth holding onto) was just another phase of my writing urges. I have written poems, journals, diaries, essays, short stories, novellas, since I was seven years old and probably one of my sisters gave me a lovely pink covered diary with the little lock that could be picked by a three-year-old. It's not like I have not met with some success in my writing: reciting my poetry in Arizona; being published in scholarly, academic journals. But never my fiction -- and that is what I have decided to attack in November.

The National Novel Writing Month ( ) is a non-profit organization where ANY writer can participate in an effort to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The organization supports young writers (and adult writers) programs and actively encourages donations from participants and sponsors. So, that is my goal: to complete a 50,000 word Young Adult novel about two bi-racial sisters who are trying to understand who and what they are in a world with ethnic and cultural complexities -- the melting pot, if you will.

I'm spending this time, at the end of October, trying to outline the novel. In order to meet the criteria of 50,000 words by the end of November, one needs to complete 1,667 words each day. Considering that I will absolutely have to cook for Thanksgiving, it's important I know where I'm headed. The Web site allows participants in various international regions to connect and plan get togethers, like Kick-Off Parties and Write-Ins. At least then you know you are not alone in your insanity.

Oh, the title of this entry refers to my darling sister-in-law who likes to say, "You're writing a novel? Again?"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Birthdays and such

This past week, which was my birthday time, I had quite a bit on my mind. During this time I read a book by Bil  Wright, When The Black Girl Sings. While the plot and storyline seemed a bit simplistic to me, the story still made me think hard and long.

Lahni is a black child (I do not use the term "African American") who has been adopted by white parents and in her teens, now has to deal with their impending divorce. She is caught in issues of gender, race, ability and religion. My major problem with the storyline is the particular way in which Wright allows religion to "bail" or at least assist her in some form of "solution" or, as in any good YA (Young Adult) book, to realize the moral of the basic story.

Music played a major role in my life, as well as those of my children and my siblings. When my oldest daughter had trouble with math, things changed when she took up the violin. For the youngest daughter, it was becoming involved in theatre. For me, it was singing -- despite terrible experiences with my church. This all seems to reinforce to me the unique qualities of each individual as well as the importance of the arts in the development of every individual.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. As a survivor, I would like to encourage everyone to find a way to participate. Here is one way where just a mouse click can make a difference:
I thank you.