Saturday night. We had a pot-luck at a friend's house today, and though the atmosphere was mostly convivial (except for Lillian playing "ghost" in the dark with the other Haverim kids and bonking herself on the forehead running into a table and getting a big goose-egg on her forehead) and happy, I was distracted, thinking of what the first of November would bring in terms of writing.
Ideas have chased each other through my mind for months. I toyed with the idea of finishing all the unfinished novels I have on the computer; I juggled strange dreams that could have proved fruitful in writing. I thought of spinelessly just using characters I know and love and have used to death and prodding those poor creatures on to new if not better adventures.
Tonight I re-read the last few chapters of "Going Hungry" and decided for sure to run with a sequel to what I wrote in 2008. I wrote down the names of the characters and a title for Chapter One. THAT FELT GREAT!
New stories are deliriously entrancing. Old characters are comforting and fun. Sequels are just fine. The main thing is that the craziness that is NaNoWriMo erases all rules except one:
Write, dammit. Just look at that white screen and start slapping down words.
Are they goofy? Are they puerile? Are they profound? Yes, yes, yes, and no, no, no. They are just words. They are words that have some ideas. That's all. It's the playground, so go play in it. Make hills in the sandbox, and then kick them down and build a castle -- oh no, there's some cat poop! Leap out and try the swings, the seesaw, the trees -- an afternoon's play for a kid doesn't have to have an agenda to it, or a training regime, but every time a kid plays, his or her mind grows.
Every time a writer writes, his or her mind grows, too. Maybe it's just the discipline of getting out in the "open air" of a blank screen, or getting into the habit of "doing homework" by letting ideas flow without regard to future sellability (not a word, really, and not a thing to write for) -- each time we write we allow things in our heads to appear and be manipulated by our fingers on the screen. Good or ill, there they are, and if, at the end of November, those things are less than stellar, so what? The charging horses of the stampede of thoughts have run through our lives to the tune of 17k words a day, carrying our pecking along, leaving behind dust and tracks, tracks along which we can follow, knowing that writing CAN be done.
It's good to play.
It's good to see the tracks.
It's good to be jumping on one of those horses and riding the wave of words, crazy-running on the keyboard.