Day 10 of NaNoWriMo. It’s going well. I bought myself an appropriate present:
Greg from In The Groove posted this on his blog. I laughed so hard I cried, and immediately sent him a message that said something like “Please please please please please please. I must own this.” And he was nice enough to fetch it for me.
Here. Take a closer look at the fabulous blue dress. I must also have that fabulous blue dress. (I would settle for the mod couch, too. Or for that matter, the hipster trying to look down her dress. There are worse things to have around than a hipster interested in looking down your dress.)
Greg asked me what caught my eye about the record, and I told him the dress, and the upside-down smile with the guitar on the therapist’s couch, and especially the song titles.
I love it all.
Think this has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo? That’s what I thought, until I got home last night to do a bout of writing before bed. I was in the middle of kind of a difficult scene in my novel. My novel, of course, is a big cheat in terms of NaNoWriMo, in that it is less fictional and more a word-for-word description of recent events in my crazy southern family. (Is every southern family crazy? every family anywhere, if you look hard enough?) I’m not worried that I’m breaking the rules, since I am only competing with myself, but it’s why I’m writing so fast. This material is pure literary gold, pure southern gothic. This is the novel I have to write out of me before I can write anything good, and that’s my only goal.
I’ve told a few people that I’ve discovered something crazy, in just a few days of writing. The snarkier I make my characters, the more melodramatic the dialogue, the more ridiculous the deliberate misunderstandings and communication shutdowns become, the more f-bombs people drop in Party City parking lots….the worse we all look on the written page, the more I actually like all of us in real life.
I hesitated to put any of this in writing, in my “novel,” because I was seriously afraid that it would make things worse, make me angrier, make me self-righteous and judgmental about what is already a delicate balance. Nobody wants to sit down at a holiday dinner with someone who has just written a vitriolic, Conroy-esque novel about their family. Audrey, in fact, has instructions to break into my house and delete the draft from my computer, should anything happen to me before I can complete it and destroy it myself.
Several people have expressed horror at the fact that I do plan to destroy this novel. The thing is, though, this novel isn’t the good one. I’m deliberately writing out all the worst parts, making us all literary caricatures, and it’s like putting all the worst parts in box which I can close, and put away. This version doesn’t have the best parts of us in it yet. This version isn’t about the things that bind us together and make us laugh and remind us how much we love each other, even when things get a bit southern gothic. This version only tells one part of the story, but, I’m hoping, isn’t really the most important part of the story in the end. I’m feeling lighter and freer with every page I type. I’m sleeping soundly.
And so to the album cover: I realized I loved her instantly because she’s exactly how I feel in week 2 of NaNoWriMo. She may be swimming in Crazy, but she’s having a great time with it.