Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving is the gateway holiday

Holidays were always bittersweet. I have memories of about 2 Christmases with both my parents. After they split up, my dad wasn't around much. Ever. The last actual Christmas I remember seeing my father, I was 9. I was in the hospital at the time.

I grew up poor, but not impoverished. I was always encouraged to use my imagination, to play. Many of the Christmas or birthday presents I received were based on creativity. A miniature potter's wheel and clay. Art supplies. A collection of children's musical instruments. My mom was the master of no-money-fun. When I was growing up, the museums and the conservatory, (an arboretum, actually,) were not very expensive or were free. The library and museum being connected was always a wonderful thing, to me.

I never really felt deprived in the sense of not getting what I wanted for Christmas. I didn't really envy my schoolmates in terms of things.

I don't think I even realized we were poor until junior high school. Clothes became the demarcation line. Even going to catholic school and wearing uniforms, there were the Benetton sweaters and the Ralph Lauren Polo Shirts that I would never wear.

Over time, I understood that my mother didn't understand the things I wanted for Christmas, (yes, she always made me make a list.) I wanted books or music. Getting clothes was like torture. My grandfather once gave me a bible for Christmas. I was 7. It weighs 15 pounds. Um... Not so much.
My mother and I have very similar tastes as adults, but could not have been more different during my adolescence.

I rebelled by not rebelling. I became a good little preppie, whilst she got spike purple hair. Confused? So was I.
Eventually, I just started asking for gift cards. Then I started asking for nothing.
Because the level of misery I saw all around me during the holidays began to make me sad. I happened to work for more than eight years on the edge of ground zero for the holiday frenzy: a quarter mile from the mall.
No one ever looked happy. Everyone seemed frayed at the edges at best, on the verge of an emotional breakdown at worst.

Even when I was still practicing the religion I was raised in, I experienced cognitive dissonance at what the meaning of the holiday was supposed to be, compared with the way it was, "Celebrated."
Celebrating the promise of redemption for humanity by spending obscene amounts of money?
My standard answer has become, "There's nothing I need, and anything I want that I don't have is because I can't afford it, therefore you can't either."
What do I want for Christmas?
Peace on earth, goodwill towards men, women, furry creatures and all living things, including the planet we live on.
Serenity. Stillness. Love. Justice. Hope. That's what I really want.
You say, "C'mon, don't you want presents?"
Presents matter less to me than you'd think. I think that after many years of utterly disappointing birthdays, (4 weeks after Christmas, dead of winter, everyone's sick, it's football season, etc.,) during which I was ignored by a majority of my party guests, given thoroughly un-thoughtful presents and generally miserable, I stopped caring so much.
A truly thoughtful present is delightful, but an evening spent with people I care about, having a good time, is better.
I learned that if I really wanted something, I was better off planning for it myself.
That said, yes. Of course there are things I want. A netbook, a 1TB external hard drive, a new MP3 player, (leading contenders are Creative Zen and iPod Nano,) a trip to New Orleans, a trip to Paris, a new car. Someone at my beck and call to repair my house.
I don't have a sugar daddy and I don't have the money.
So what?
It doesn't make me unhappy. Happiness isn't something that can be derived from possessions. Happiness is found in connecting to other human beings, being loved, loving in return. Happiness is part of who we are, or it's not.
I'm happy when I do something I love, talk to someone that listens and to whom I never need explain myself in order to be understood.
I find myself wondering if we weren't bombarded with images and messages of consumption, would we be a healthier species? Of course we would.
I like Thanksgiving. I get to take a breath and look back on all the things I'm grateful for.
I also look forward to the blank slate of a new year approaching.
The month of December represents a helter-skelter of marketing-induced envy, guilt, and shame.
Not being able to afford things doesn't make you a bad person. Saying no to things you can't afford isn't a cause for guilt. That diamond necklace or XBOX isn't going to make you happy. Things don't equal love.  Love is the most important thing.

The last time I saw my father near the holidays, was when I was 30. He gave me a bracelet I've never worn, a couple of CDs I've never listened to and a language-learning audio course.
When I was 9, he gave me paperbacks of David Copperfield, Jane Eyre, 2 language books and an umbrella.
He knew me better then.

Thanksgiving was my Pap paps' favorite holiday. We always did Thanksgiving at my mom's parents. Christmas was at our apartment. I remember when our apartment was so small that my bedroom was literally the cupboard under the stairs and we had no room for a tree. My mom made a tree out of tinsel garland on the back of the door. I remember when we had real trees and we would decorate it together on Christmas eve. I remember when I believed in Santa and swore I heard sleigh bells on the roof. I remember my grandmother making fried dough, (plain, w/raisins, and ugh, w/anchovies,) and unwrapping presents. I remember having the flu for the umpteenth time on christmas. I remember my family around a table, happy.
The memories are what matter. Not the things
I miss my grandparents.
I miss the wonder of childhood.
Experience the wonder and let the stuff fade into the background. You'll remember more and enjoy it for longer.
As for me, I think I'm going to watch The Polar Express this weekend. For the wonder of it.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


What am I thankful for?

This is a question that we often forget to ask. Too much is happening day to day, the world spins forward at an ever increasing rate.
It's been a difficult year. For most of us, economically, we're not doing as well as we'd expected. A lot of people are unemployed. The numbers are way higher than most people would like us to believe. It's nearing 20% unemployed. People are losing their homes, people are filing bankruptcy, having to surrender their pets because they've lost homes and moved to apartments that don't allow them. Food insecurity is at a staggering rate, particularly for children.

So, what am I thankful for?
For starters, I'm grateful that my Uncle Alan made it a lot easier to get the laptop I'd been saving to buy for my birthday this year. I'd been close to having enough saved, but it was a close thing and he made it so that I didn't have to, y'know, decide not to eat for two weeks. ( I really am that broke. I don't make decisions about buying a new face scrub lightly, folks.)
I'm thankful that while the bandwidth sucks, Cricket broadband is cheap and commitment-free. I'm able to stay connected and do what I want. Yay, intarwebz!
That's just the silly stuff. Well, not silly, just not deep.

I'm incredibly thankful that despite my having next to no money to put into it, my beloved '91 Volvo (Susannah) continues to run. She's a tiny steel tank and I love her.
I'm thrilled that while my mum's spinal procedure didn't work a treat in lessening her pain, it didn't make things worse. I'm also thrilled that she's finally getting some proper pain management.
I'm thankful that I've remained relatively healthy aside from migraines.
I'm thankful that when the economy crashed, unlike other people, I was already used to living on a shoestring and therefore didn't suffer too much.
I'm thankful that for all the families that need it, in every community, there are food banks helping people. Look in your cupboards, think of how much food you waste, donate to a food bank. They need the help.
I'm thankful for really cheap beer.

I'm thankful that even though we're in a rough patch, Jon has been in my life through the good and bad of the last 3 1/2 years.
I'm thankful for Valkyrie and Alim, Opal and Eamonn.
I'm thankful for Codie, Ed, Emmeline and Stiny.
I'm thankful for Marie, Melinda, Bek and the friends I've made on Twitter. Risa, Am, Jerry, Melissa, Poppy, Mark, Jessica, Leigh, Clive, Kali, Pam, Nicole, Clare, Emma-Jane, Eyglo, Elyssa, Christine, Deb, Leslie, Jeff and honestly...waaaaay too many to list.
I am thankful that Beth Hommel rescues cats. I lost my dog, Zoe and my cat, Spike, both inside of a few months. I was devastated. I wasn't even thinking of getting a new pet. Jon talked me into adopting a kitten Beth rescued, and now I have Isabella.
I'm thankful for my mom. I have a fucked-up family. I can't have a relationship with my brothers because my father is toxic, but I've got my mom. She is awesome and crazy-making, but she's always the reason I keep going, even when I can barely drag myself out of bed.
I'm thankful for writing and making art of all kinds. It's what keeps me sane.
I'm also very, very thankful for chocolate.
We've all got a lot more to do, to give someone else a reason to be thankful. Taking stock every now and then isn't a bad idea.
I've got a job, a running vehicle, a roof over my head, food on the table, and a chance to share with a wide world of people.
True love and financial security, well, I'll keep wishing on stars for that.
In the meantime:
Have a safe, happy and healthy holiday. Be good to one another. Be kind to a stranger. Live, laugh, love and dream.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Let the apocalypsing, that was quick. Also, the hilarious adventures of the BouncyMouse(tm) and how a sparklepire got me through hellmart with my sanity intact. Ish.

Today was to be the day of apocalypse. In my novel, yo. So, turns out that at least in this draft, without you know, incredibly detailed end-of-the-world-porn and statistics and whatnot, the apocalypse takes about 500 words from a 2nd tier character. (Oh, did I mention I now loathe my leads? The shiny-happy-lovers-who-will-suffer, writing them is so alien. They're, y'know - normal.)

So, what did I do today? Got dragged to hellmart, wherein I searched out the Sparklepire Barbies (ok, I only actually found the Edward doll,) because, as I've mentioned before: A. Yes, Robert Pattison is dreamy and, B. I find Cleolinda's Twilight recaps and analysis, along with The Secret Life of Dolls, to be endlessly entertaining. (Also, incredibly insightful. There are manymanymanymany VERY IMPORTANT reasons, why we should be concerned that this is the stuff young girls and grown-ass women are taking as a romantic model.) I had to see if this thing really, reallyreally sparkled.
It does. It has baaaaad hair and looks basically nothing like poor Rob Pattinson, but, it does freakin' sparkle in the glorious fluorescent lighting of hellmart. I've also decided that carrying a sparklepire around hellmart is a perfectly valid coping mechanism to deal with the grotesquery contained within the big box walls.
(Why do I go there, you ask? Well, it's one-stop shopping. It's not cheaper. You'll see from the link that the toy place is actually five dollars less than hellmart, and it comes with additional swag. So take that.)
Ok, so I'm eventually going to write scenes from the apocalypse from multiple perspectives, but at least I've got my nihilistic sort-of villain/anti-hero/whatev's point of view down. It's remarkably terse.
I also made a pretty damn good playlist of doom to help the mood along.
So, that's good.
Ooh, and my throat is no longer sore from the freaking hellacious allergy attack at work yesterday. (Fact, if you know me IRL, do NOT EVER. No, EVER, leave wite-out open in my presence unless you're trying to KILL me. Not kidding. Wite-out fumes cause me to have asthmatic-lose-voice-quick-choke-to-death bullshit allergic reactions. Idk why, it just does. Also...take it easy on perfume in the workplace, people. You do not need to get your glam smell on for work. Unless you're planning on fucking someone you work with. In which case: Freakin be more subtle, will ya?)

On a super up note, my day contained a good half hour of total hilarity. Deciding against the eek-squeak mousie on a line as being a little to realistic hunting practice for the kitten, (btw, the kitten is not named after a certain adoraklutz kinda psycho heroine, I just saw the name after three days of calling her, "kitty," and she was being a maniac dizzy little thing and I thought, "Dizzy Izzy." So...yeah: Isabella,) but got the BouncyMouse(tm). The BouncyMouse(tm) is neither bouncy, nor particularly freakin' mouse-y.
Isabella likes jingle-y things. (Messrs Jingles I & II, and the jingle-catnip-tiger tail-thingy-that-is-incredibly-phallic.)
It went something like this:
Me: Is-a-bell-a, look at the mousie!
Isabella: Whatevs. Oooh, Squirrel! (i.e., the dog's tail moving.)

Pumpkin: (saunters vaguely into the area of lap wars and preens) O hai.
Me: Pumpkin, LOOK, A BOUNCYMOUSE! (jiggling it in her direction,) Look at the mousie!
Pumpkin: (Doubletake at this pathetic poly-something pretend mouse,) Biatch, GTFO. That's not a mouse. I haz keeelt me some meeces and that's just weaksauce. Like, whatevs. (Saunters over to the sofa and preens some more.)
Me and Mom: Head asplode-y laughter until we cry.
Me: (attempt to lure Isabella again, collapses in hilarity, tries with Pumpkin again.)
Pumpkin: We have been there, done that. (Licks paw in my direction, the feline equivalent of flipping me off.)
Me and Mom: Fall out laughing for another ten minutes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The inordinate number of things that make me spectacularly happy in very small ways

I don't really talk about them much, I realize that. There are so many wondrous things in the world, that very often get drowned out by the horrifying injustices. As I've been ill recently, these have been invaluable. There's something profoundly wonderful about a cough drop that not only makes the scratchy, icky sore throat go away, but are chocolate. I talk for a living, trust me, they are a reason for tiny little squees of joy.

 Since I'm both a reader and writer, who still writes in longhand on occasion, a properly comfortable, medium point pen and a college-ruled notebook with satiny-smooth paper are a reason for delight. I'm fairly certain I appear quite odd when I flip open notebook covers and run my fingertips over the pages, but the end result is worth it.

Good friends, friends who understand what you mean without having to re-quantify and qualify it.

Chocolate, period, full-stop.
Laughter, from a fizzy giggle to a low chortle and the full-on belly laugh.
The first cup of coffee in the morning, that bitterness tinged with cream and sugar.
A steaming mug of tea on a cold evening, coziness in a ceramic shell.
The cuddly stretch of a kitten into the curve of my neck and shoulder, accompanied by a rumbling, even purr.
Re-reading a beloved book.

I could keep listing things, but ultimately, everyone's got to make their own list. As for what reminded me of all this, that would be Neil Gaiman, who very often blogs about the sort of ordinary wonders that comprise a life. Yes, there are a lot of cool, famous author-y things, too. A lot of times, it's the gentle and everyday beauty that we so often miss.

It's better to pay attention.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A short recap: first week of NaNoWriMo, political upheaval

1. I'm terribly behind on word count.
2. I'm actually getting a sense of inhabiting the world I'm writing, so hopefully, the word count will improve.
3. I'm incontrovertibly naive about human rights. I'm better off, if not happier that way. The human race can be terribly disappointing in its intolerance.
4. Politics is bullshit. Correction, politicians and the acts of politics are bullshit. None of us are better off this way.
5. I have made more, "real," friends online in the last year, than I have IRL in the last 3 years. This is possibly because people are terribly disappointing in their intolerance, among other things.
6. After some personal drama last weekend, I'm actually a happier person. It's important to know what your boundaries are, and to stand up for them. It's often far too easy not to do that.
7. That doesn't mean that you don't love people, even when you can't get along with them. It's important to step away sometimes. It does hurt like hell, though.
8. As a friend reminded me today: "Just make, just do, just be."- Clive Barker. Words to live by. Always.
9. Life is too short to not be who you are.
10. When in doubt, speak the truth.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Health Care Reform - Exclusions and Compromise

To begin, I don't know all of the details of the current bill. As we're waiting on the House vote, two things seem clear: We're not getting anything close to what, "We the People," need, and the politicization of our identities/bodies, marches on.

The Stupak amendment seems to have passed. This seems to prevent any insurer from covering abortion services.
There is also, (not sure of amendment name,) exclusionary language for services provided to transgendered people.

I feel incredibly naive tonight.

You see, as far as I'm concerned: Abortion is a legitimate medical procedure and a decision that ought be made between doctor and patient. Refusing to cover it amounts to nothing less than reinforcing the notion that women are incapable of being autonomous citizens. Thank you, Congress, for once again reducing my value to that of my uterus.

(Note: The House Bill has just passed. It is completely meaningless.)

The fact that transgendered people are excluded, not just the transition-services, but ultimately, completely excluded as a class, troubles me deeply.

We have, I believe a public option that has a trigger. What's the point? Without a public option providing direct competition to insurers, they have no incentive to change.
We've won nothing except a tick in the win column. We beat the fuckers, now what?

This bill isn't going to help most of us who need it. As a friend just told me, "We only got the door slivered open."
Yes. The trick is to keep our collective foot jammed in that sliver of open door and keep pushing it open.
The only real, rational, effective reform possible, is adopting a completely new model. Build on what's been done in France and Germany, perhaps?
We need the safety net of an NHS, but a form of private co-insurance would be fine as well. I don't have a problem with keeping private options available for those who want and can afford them. However, being an ethical human being tells me that access to healthcare is a basic human right.
It's part of what living in a society requires of us.
We are interdependent, we must grant each other at least a minimum opportunity of health and education.
This seems so utterly simple to me. I cannot understand why it is such an anathema to others.
I really can't.
So tonight, while others celebrate the victory, I mourn a missed opportunity. For real reform, for taking our bodies and identities off the table in politics, for meaningful change in Washington. The saddest thing of all, is that it's been four months of political skirmishing, and now there's a win and even the win is meaningless. This bill is not likely to pass the Senate. The health insurance industry is spending 1.4 million dollars a day to ensure it won't.

Shaking the tree: Bad juju and focusing the lens

There is a plethora of information coming at us, 24/7/365 if we let it. It becomes a wall of noise, a tidal wave of data ready to capsize the ramshackle rafts artist sail. We're on an endless journey to find an island of stillness in this raging sea. It's harder than it seems. We're not trained in it, most of us. In fact, we're trained to the opposite.
Lately, it seems as if there is so much energy at large in the ether that is a ravening maw ready to swallow us all whole. I'm learning as I go, with NaNoWriMo. It's an impressionistic map, this world I'm building. I haven't got the feel of it all yet. There are horrible things happening, everyday. Have I suddenly become more sensitive to them? Has the white noise of mundane distraction fallen away and left me raw in the face of the storm?
I don't know.

What I do know, is that there is a very weird sense like something is caught on the tip of my tongue.
There are swirling images just out of the corner of my eye.
Finding the stillness. Focusing the lens. It's a discipline I'm unused to. I'm used to an organic state of creation. It's going to take time to learn to sift through the stream of consciousness in a gestalt way that is productive instead of overwhelming.
The incredibly exciting thought is that I'm recognizing it so much more easily.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Random pretty things: Aromaleigh Mineral Makeup

For anyone scratching their heads over the topic... um... It's the Carnival of the RANDOM. This includes my occasional forays into deeply girlie things. 
I confess: I'm a mineral makeup addict. I have been since discovering Bare Escentuals on QVC in 2003. I have problem skin. It's incredibly sensitive, yet oily-acne prone. When in doubt, my skin will break out rather than hive. 
I'm also a very, very, low maintenance kind of girl when it comes to my, "Look." 

No. Really. 
On the other hand, being a performer means that sometimes I need a really intense look. 

I like products that are versatile, I like looking like myself, but better. Brighter, more perfected, glow-ier. On occasion, elevating into  badass, rock 'n' roll temptress. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to Aromaleigh via Miss Cleolinda Jones (ok, so it was part of the Secret Life of Dolls, which I have a hilarious obsession with.) 

Back to my point: Mineral makeup addict, temperamental skin, performer, usually low-maintenance look... oh, and for reals, mostly utterly broke. I mean, brokety-broke-broke. I do not have room in my budget for retail regret. I cannot afford overpriced stuff. Period. 

So, I begin to browse. Thinking to myself: Self, you can't be silly here. You're really just looking for a foundation that matches your very Casper-like winter skin tone and maybe a color that approximates the holy grail of colors, (aka Urban Decay Pleather lip pencil in Naked. It is the most gloriously perfect pink-peach-nude-grey-undertone-teensy-bit-of-shimmer neutral that looks perfect on lips/cheeks/eyes... and is discontinued. Which makes me a sad panda hoarding my last little nub. It is not the same as their current lip liner by the same name, don't be tricked.)   


Aromaleigh is like dying and going to heaven for those of us that love the pretty-pretty, hate the chemicals, and are on a budget. 
There are weekly sales!
There are mini-sizes in some things and EVERYTHING can be bought in a sample size! 
There are coupons!
There are rewards points!
Also, even compared to the drugstore brand wannabe mineral lines, these products are really, really reasonably priced. Actually, they're a steal. One of the amazing things about mineral makeup is how long it will last. For eye and cheek colors, it can literally take YEARS to go through even a mini-jar. All-over face colors, foundation/concealers/finishing powders tend to go faster. Usually 4-6 months for a full-size jar. 
The cost is actually amortized into a fraction of the cost of conventional makeup, but the initial layout can be ouchy. 

My favorites so far, (no pix, I may add later.): lipcolor in Darling, it's not quite the holy grail, but it's a beautiful sheer pinky-nude and it smells divine. I'm also loving their eye plushes in Persian Kitten and Rosy Cheeks. The textures are silky smooth, the colors are simply luscious and the prices are to die for. 
I'm also completely astounded that after years of searching, I've found foundations that are as pale as I am. They make pure white. I can use it as a lightener on shades I already have. (I kid you not, I have pasty, ghost-white skin in winter. It's not glowing alabaster or porcelain, it's just flat-out WHITE. You try to match that skin tone without going to clown makeup,) or I can just use it seamlessly on my skin. Yay!
So, Aromaleigh is officially my new favorite thing. It's less than half the price of Bare Escentuals, there are even fewer additives, the color selection is amazing and the service so far is brilliant. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 3

I don't have that feeling of, "YES," yet. At least not for all of it. I'm almost 4k words in and it feels a little like rollerskating on marbles. I feel awkward with dialogue and I'm still getting a sense for my characters. I'm being introduced to peripheral characters pretty quickly. I'm not sure who's important yet and who's not. I'm pretty sure that 2/3 of them are gonna end up dead by the end of reel 2 anyway.  I'm also still sick. The head cold has settled a wee bit in my chest. Not fun. I'm taking the night off. I need to re-center. Also, I've had way too much personal drama going on over the last few days. Shaking it off is like getting rid this upper respiratory infection. It's gonna take a little while. So, day three...meh. There's always tomorrow. Which I'm very hopeful about. Write on, WriMos, write on.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A cleansing breath

No one gets along perfectly 24/7/365. No one. We get on each others' nerves, we've all got little ticks and habits and compulsions that drive other people crazy. What keeps us from killing each other or living lives of hermetic isolation? The need for other people, the recognition that we ourselves are flawed beings and maybe love.

No one can hurt us the way the people we're closest to, can. We learn each others' buttons, like there's buried treasure if we hit them in the right sequence.'s incredibly destructive. We bruise each other daily. In the most casual and unobtrusive ways. We've become a snarky, cynical society. Sarcasm is the forked tongue we speak from day and night. We expect our loved ones' to know when to stop. We expect that if you can dish it out, you can take it. What if these expectations are merely another flawed premise?

What happens when the lines are crossed and you don't know how to go back?
Person A is, by nature, a habitually snarky person. Usually harmless.
Person B is someone who isn't sure when it's a joke and when it's serious. Person B asks Person A to stop being snarky towards them. Person B apologizes, and stops. For a while. This becomes a pattern.
Finally, after Person B turns the tables on a remark Person A has made in the past, Person A makes remarks that are insulting to Person B. Person B attempts to illustrate this to Person A without being confrontational. This is ineffective. Person A repeats the insult. Person B is more direct and expresses their displeasure, indicating that Person A should try that behavior with someone else. Person A objects and replies to Person B in a form they've seen before. By using language that implies Person B is misinterpreting the exchange, Person A in effect, invalidates Person B's feelings. This is something that has happened before. Person B rejects this and indicates they are ignoring these messages and wishes to be left alone. Person A continues to send them. Person B then asserts publicly that Person A should stop contacting them. Person A then indicates they believe person B is  being both passive-aggressive and irrational. Person B merely desires an apology and some time free of contact with Person A in order to feel less hurt and angry.

Person A's continued attempts to communicate with Person B are ignored and erased, as messages begin to indicate Person A has doubts about Person B's mental stability. Ignoring them seems to be the best course, as Person B believes that they will be drawn further into a hurtful situation. Ultimately Person A asserts that they are not angry, therefore Person B should call them. Person B then feels additionally invalidated and upset.

How does this get resolved?
Can it be?
Why is the need for a cleansing breath and an apology cause to question someone's mental health?
Why isn't, "I'm sorry," the immediate response when someone feels hurt by something you've done?
If you know the answers, please tell me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Out of the starting gate: NaNoWriMo '09

 Today is the first day of my first NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month. No, I didn't know about it either.) I'm pretty sure I babbled my way through a prologue of 1774 words, (after losing 600 words when I did something silly here.)  At least, through the graces of Paperclippe,  I found the awesome yWriter software. It's free and has lots of very useful tools that I will write more about when I've had a chance to thoroughly explore them. So far, it looks as though it will remove the need for handwritten notes. I'm trying to find a groove, but the basic point of doing NaNo in the first place, is to muscle my way through the process. Regardless of inspiration, regardless of how choppy some bits may be, or the bits I'll need to fill in later, if I can get the bones of this beast built, I'm halfway there. This is the short story I'm using as the springboard for the novel. (No, I'm not including it for NaNo.) I don't know how regularly I'll be blogging about it, but I wanted to get first impressions down. 
  It's weird. It's strange to look at word count as the priority. It feels almost unnatural not to obsess over the quality of the writing. It's exhilarating and enervating and yet... It's wonderful. I've made connections with people on an additional level, because they're also participating. It's an adventure worth having.  If nothing else, by the end of the month, I'll have pushed myself further in the realm of fiction-writing than I've ever dared to go. It's well worth the strangeness. 

So that is the first day. There will be many more. Some wonderful, some frustrating, some grindingly slow. One word at a time, one word right after the other. 30 days, 50k words. 
I'm giddy.