Friday, October 28, 2011


Yes, I'm making up words again. No, not really. This is a "thing" that writers do, or so they tell me. For those of you that aren't familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and is run by The Office of Letters and Light.

 Hundreds of thousands of writers band together to support each other as they race to the proverbial finish line of 50,000 words. Yes, that's correct. 50,000 words. In 30 days. How is this possible? I'm not exactly sure as I haven't actually read through anything on the site. I know, you're shocked. "But Annabelle," you say, "you are always so thorough and meticulous." I know, I'm as shocked as you are (not really, no, who gave you that idea about me?).  Hey, at least I signed up. I even know what I'm going to write! So, there's that.

I know you're thinking that, to a writer, this must be fun. Writing with abandon and never hitting that delete button sounds fantastic! Yeah, maybe. Actually, no, not really, not at all. This is a HUGE exercise in restraint, in all of the ways you wouldn't think. First, consider how badly most of us want to go through and read, revise, edit, etc. Then, imagine how long it actually takes to write that much. When I'm on a roll I can turn out about a thousands words in an hour. But to do more than that, and every single day, well, let's just say I'm a little more than intimidated.

Last, but not least, we have my ridiculous tendency to be superstitious. Last year there were lots, and I mean LOTS, of negative tweets from agents and authors alike, about NaNo. It seems that it's rather frowned upon in certain circles, which means some people think NaNo is for amateurs, which is exactly what I don't want to be. *sigh* So, there's that. Incidentally, I've considered creating some kind of ritual to combat any bad mojo that I may attract by taking part in this debacle.

Regardless, I'm going to do it. If I don't finish, no big deal, it's not like anyone is watching. So, come Tuesday morning, say a prayer, light a candle, make a sacrifice at the alter, what ever, so that I may succeed at this new wacky endeavor. Look for misspelled and nonsensical blog posts sure to come during the next month.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Life is a Constant Test

Sometimes, the Universe makes you fight for what you want. Repeatedly. As a writer, I am tested over and over again. I don't know if the tests will ever stop coming, either. I'm not talking about testing my skills, because I gladly accept those tests. Instead, much harder and much more frightening, these are tests of my fortitude.

Recently, I had a little breakdown. You know the kind I'm talking about, where you get all snot-sobby pathetic and throw papers across the room and stuff? It wasn't pretty. After a time out little self imposed quiet time, I realized it was another test. It's not the first time I'd been tested and it won't be the last.

In the short course of my writing career, thus far, I have fought many demons—both internal and external—and lived to write another day. The demons, though all different in their ferocity and form, arrive taunting me with the same question: "How bad do you want it?" Sometimes, like the sorry afternoon mentioned above, I think I don't want it that much. I consider letting go of my dreams, my goals, my aspirations and getting a nine-to-five.

Then the panic sets in. The idea of not telling the stories that itch and scratch under my skin, that claw and fight their way out of me, while my fingers fly across the keyboard, makes my bones turns to jelly and my heart simultaneously silent and thunderous. That's how I know. I know that I want this so very badly. Every inch of my body and soul needs to be here, with the words spilling out of me, translating the tales that are whispered into my ear or sung in my mind like a record with a skip, until I soil the pretty white pages with their truths.

I will fight each demon that comes my way. I may falter and I may fall but I will not give up. As they say, my friends, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Open Arms

Hello Friends! I know it's been quite some time since I've written here. I don't have an actual blog for you today. Instead, I am giving you a short story I wrote over the summer for a contest. Although it did not win (Neither did 496 of the other stories that were entered), I would still like to share my silly little story. Maybe it will give you a chuckle as we head into the weekend.

Open Arms

Strong waves pounded the dark sand just a few yards away. Hidden by beach grass, we embraced, relieved to finally escape our wedding guests. Mark's poetic whispers suddenly ceased as he leaned back, and said, "There's something I need to tell you..."

I wasn't surprised, my heart didn't even stutter a beat. For the past year I had run from the nagging doubt in my head. Every day, going along my merry way, letting myself be consumed with the fine details of the wedding; planning napkin colors to coordinate with bride's maids dresses and picking flowers for centerpieces. I didn't want to let go of the blissful bubble I had created for myself.

I pressed my finger against his lips to silence him, "Shhh, not now, Mark. Let's just hold on to this moment a little longer."

His brow knotted with confusion but he acquiesced and granted me the comfortable silence. Wrapping my arms around his neck I pulled him down to me for a soft kiss, lingering just long enough to imprint into my memory the feel of his lips moulded with mine.

I grabbed his hand, leading him back toward our guests and the party burgeoning in our honor. "C'mon, let's not keep our guests waiting, they do, after all, expect to see the bride and groom at some point."

"But..." He pulled me to him with a gentle tug.

"Mark, please, let me have this one perfect day."

I would have expected to be weak-kneed and somber, but I traversed the terrain sure footed, appreciating the solid ground beneath my feet. Mark was a wonderful gift to my life and if he was going to leave I would not mourn him while he was still with me, rather, I would celebrate every moment he was mine.

We arrived in the banquet room to thunderous applause and a round of whoops and whistles. The wall of windows filtered the summer sun and set rainbow prisms bouncing off of the edges of fine china and highly polished silverware. Dinner was served, leaving only the low din of chatting voices and the clinking of utensils against plates to be heard. Entree followed appetizer and dessert followed entree, all delicious, all flawless. I could barely keep the smile off of my face long enough to chew.

Mark leaned over to me and whispered, "Keri, I really need to tell you something."

"Not now," I replied. Didn't he see, couldn't he understand? This was the pinnacle of my happiness, here, now, with the love of my life. Why did he insist on trying to ruin it with reality? Reality could wait twelve more hours.

Plates were cleared and champagne glasses were filled while the whimsical notes of jazz songs from days gone by floated through the room. Couples, both new and well worn, shuffled around the glossy tiles of the dance floor. Mark began to fidget and a bead of sweat at formed at his temples. Was it really that difficult for him to see this through to the end? Just as Mark swiveled to face me, a look of urgency pained across his features, tinkling started from a far corner of the room. The chiming grew and grew, swirling around us, urgent and pressing.

"Keri, now, I have to tell you now!" His plea was desperate and slightly panicked.

I smiled my biggest tooth-filled grin, "Mark, they expect us to kiss. Let's give 'em a show." I kissed him with all the passion and love that we had cultivated over the past four years. I owed it to him to give him the honesty of my heart. I owed it to myself.

He pulled away shaking off the flecks of lust that were speckled throughout his eyes, but even that rejection didn't make me crack. The DJ blew a low whistle through the microphone and adeptly transitioned into a new song. "Ladies and gentleman, I would now ask that you clear the floor for our new bride and groom for their first dance."

What was this song? This wasn't the song Mark and I had picked! Weeks, no, months were spent agonizing over our first dance as husband and wife. If Mark had looked nervous before he was positively unglued now.

"Keri, I tried to tell you. I'm so sorry! I, just, I forgot to email the DJ the list of songs and today, before the reception, when he asked what we wanted our first dance to be I panicked and said, well, I said this one."

"But I hate this song? I hate this band!" I blurted out in a mixture of relief and disgust. Mark's face crumbled and I dissolved into a fit of laughter.

I rushed with him to the dance floor and immediately began to sing along to one of my all time most despised songs, while my heart overflowed with gratitude and love.

"Oh, my dear, sweet husband, how did I ever get so lucky? You are undoubtedly the man of my dreams." I looked up into his apologetic eyes as we circled around and around to the melancholy tune.

"I ruined our wedding."

"On the contrary, my love, you made it perfect."

The End