I’m doing it. I’m writing a novel in a month-along with thousands of others during the NaNoWriMo 2014 event (National Novel Writing Month).
The folks that run this thing suggest that you make a public declaration about your participation. That way, you are committed to finishing the 50,000 word challenge (a novella, really) and if you don’t complete it, the experience would be akin to face planting on your way to the stage to receive your big diploma. No one needs to add to their little Museum of Publicly Embarrassing Things, so here I am, declaring participation for all to see.
It’s crazy and it’s intense but I need a cattle prod to the butt cheek about now while a few manuscripts are fermenting on my desk at around 30,000 words each.
Apparently, you can either start a brand new project or just use the time to finally finish the damn book you’ve been working on too long. I haven’t decided yet which way to go but I can feel my inspiration fairies moving around in the attic, going through my subconscious and setting up s’mores stations near the best ideas I’ve stored up in my head.
I’m nearing the final pages of my manuscript and there’s a small war going on inside me. Where is this one going to land and what happens if it ends up some place that wasn’t my first choice? Pouring my morning coffee into what I affectionately call “the bucket”, an oversize mug I made for my son that he left here “to use when he’s home”, I was running through scenarios of editors with machetes. That, naturally, made me envision scathing reviews on Amazon balanced precariously with a reader base that comes to your aide with pens flaming and me standing, like a mother, pleading with both sides to just get along.
Before I needed a case of Tums to face my laptop, I stopped and did what my friend, Nancy, tells us all to do when we forget that stress is a choice; just breathe. Books, like the children we bear and raise, reach a point when they naturally move out into the wide world and cut their own path, whatever that might look like. Stories, books, music, poetry, art; anything we give creative birth to is going to come out of us kicking and screaming and when it hits the air outside of us, it then belongs to the world. It will be treasured or abused. It will be scrutinized or ignored all together. It will touch some people deeply and it will bore others who were looking for something bloodier, sexier, harder, softer, shorter or longer or slightly more beige.
While we are pushing our creations out of the tiny orifice that only artists can locate, we can hold onto the wild hope that it emerges with all fingers and toes. We can hope that it becomes the fully formed, three dimensional, memorable, moving vision that was planted in our mind by a passing horny muse that put its mouth to our ear and in a deep voice, whispered it to us one night as we were falling asleep.
Wild Hope. The phrase reminded me of the album that former pop princess, Mandy Moore, birthed into the world back in 2007. Prior to that, I only knew of her from the snips of music I caught on car radios or from an adolescent’s playlists pre-9/11. One day though, I heard a piece of her music that made me follow it to its source and bring it home with me so I could hear it again. The words were luscious, the orchestration and production nearly flawless. Her voice on that independent album embodied that moment, somewhere in your late 20’s, when shit gets real. The curtain falls down exposing the powerless little wizard you assumed had control over your emotional life and you found out it was just you, making some stupid choices and some surprisingly good ones as well. Beauty.
The title song is perfect and there were many other gems on the collection. I found a YouTube video an hour ago; Mandy Moore-Wild Hope-In The Studio; a diary of the making of the album. At the 5:20 mark, she says, “There is nothing like the freedom of having the absolute control to make the record that I want to make.” She had won a hard fight to break free from her recording contract that was forcing her to barf up mainstream elevator music and this would be her solo flight.
Inspired to hear it start to finish, I went searching my CD stacks. No luck. Someone “borrowed it” (read: stole it and it’s never coming back). Fine, this is the age of instant gratification. I’ve got Spotify. I’ve got iTunes. I’ve got those other weird programs on my Windows laptop that I’ve never used before. I’ll find it, download it and be listening before my bucket of coffee gets cold. Guess what? It’s not on any of those sites. In fact, I had to order a new copy of the CD, from the U.S. outlets though, because the European version is usd$51.oo. Seriously.
Well, that sent me into panic number two this morning and I still haven’t opened my manuscript file to begin my climb to the last pages of the book. Why have they taken the downloadable files away from us? Has someone kidnapped Mandy and the ransom is forcing her to return to a candy filled Willy Wonka factory to turn out teeth and ear rotting junk food music? Is there a telethon for this where I can send a donation? Am I avoiding ending my book by obsessing over the missing Mandy Moore Music? Hell, yes.
Fine. My coffee is cold anyway. My book will go out and some people will love it and some will use it to line their guinea pig cage; though if you’re going to trash it, I would prefer it be kindling for a beach bonfire. So much more romantic, you know?
So, here’s the song. At least you can hear this one. I’ll just have to wait for delivery of the CD that I found online at a record place in Chicago. I’ll get back to writing and while I wrap this manuscript up, I’ll hold onto my own Wild Hope that everything will be all right.