Monthly Archives: November 2016

All Saints’ Day

14915453_10154367153072415_5818038096005274670_nToday was the Feast of All Saints, where candles are lit and prayers are said and hymns are sung for all of the new saints–i.e., those who have died in the last year. I’m not what you’d call a regular churchgoer (I’m as strange as they come, har har) but I’ve found lately that in church, I can’t help but experience very strong emotion.

I was with my mother (and husband and son, but husband had to go to day care with son because son was NOT about that daycare life and would NOT be cool), and my mother- and father-in-law were singing in the choir.

This has been a rough year–on Facebook I tagged 14 people off the top of my head who have lost someone precious to them over the past year. I spent a lot of the service sniffling from a combination of catharsis and allergies (no it’s not a cold I 100% refuse to acknowledge that it’s a cold shut up it’s allergies).

My father died on December 10th of last year after a long battle with esophageal cancer, a very nasty cancer that he actually beat twice; it was the third recurrence that killed him.

When I think about it now, it’s with a weird mix of devastation and peace.

Continue reading All Saints’ Day

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two solutions to (one of) my problem(s)

My big problem with NaNo is time. I was talking to my mother about it today, and her reaction to the existance of NaNoWriMo was “In November? Don’t they know how much other stuff is going on in November?”

But so far blogging daily has been fun and exciting, and so far so good in terms of meeting my goal.

So maybe I just need to be looking for things with shorter turnaround times. Like flash fiction  contests or the 8-Hour Book Challenge! Continue reading two solutions to (one of) my problem(s)

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that old-time feeling

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(please ignore this shoddy attempt to muffle its very loud chime with a dishtowel)

My husband just inherited a clock with Westminster chimes that used to belong to his grandparents. It’s now sitting on top of what our toddler son calls “the No-No,” aka a barrister cabinet.

Listening to the chimes every fifteen minutes is reminding me that my grandparents, too, had a (grandfather) clock with Westminster chimes; I had sort of forgotten about it until I heard this clock chime when I got home. When it went off, I got a very visceral wave of nostalgia.

aka Barrister Cabinet
Atop the No-No

People talk a lot about how evocative smells are–and I find that to be true, although I have a pretty terrible sense of smell (an asset for a high school teacher; high schoolers, as a group, do not smell great).

But the chimes got me thinking about memory in general (mine is terrible and so I rely on looking back at journals to remind me about stuff) and that sent me over to LiveJournal to peer back in time at me-from-the-past.  Continue reading that old-time feeling

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Words on Words on Words

So, having spent the requisite half-hour noodling around with web design (I have definitely not kept up with advances in coding since the late 90s/early 2000s, y’all), I am now ready to stare blankly at a “New Post” window for a while before I knock out today’s blog post.

I happened to be putting around on Twitter earlier and saw some tweets from Cleolinda Jones,  which took me waaaay back. I read her LiveJournal (remember LIVEJOURNAL??) obsessively in college and just loved her writing.  In fact, that got me to thinking about how much I love recaps, because I actually… follow a lot of recappers pop-culture analysis blogs.

Continue reading Words on Words on Words

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Brevity is the Soul of Wit

So, as I consider the specter of 50k words–and read blog posts about NaNo and beta the revised version of my friend Stephanie‘s novel that started off as a NaNo–it’s easy to get very excited. But it’s also easy to get scared – I mean, 50,000. Fifty. Thousand.

That’s… a lot of words.

And I’m not usually scared of words – I was that kid who tried to fudge my 3-5 page papers onto just five pages, not to get them up to three!

From 2014-2015, I wrote 150,000 words with a partner over the course of about a year and a half for a novel that didn’t even really have a clear plot yet.

So, clearly, generating words isn’t my problem. And, sadly, word count isn’t the end-all and the be-all of quality.

I’m reading a great example of this right now:

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Using hardly any words at all, artist Kyle Baker portrays Nat Turner‘s life and rebellion. When he does use words, he is often quoting from Nat Turner’s own confession, given in 1831 from his jail cell as he awaited execution.

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I’m only about halfway through; it’s both easy and incredibly difficult to read. Oh, it’s quick and easy to understand; but the things it shows are things that, as a human, I would really rather not know about.

Which is why more people really ought to read it.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund offers information for people interested in teaching the book. (LIKE ME!)

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NaNoOHNO

failboat2So, it’s that time of year again…

The time where I debate whether or not to fail at NaNoWriMo yet again.

Don’t get me wrong–I love a good tradition! And I’ve been failing NaNo for, like, fifteen years now.

Some years I’ve even failed it professionally (they have a program where teachers can do it with students… Yeah, we all failed). I have buttons.

And remember that one time that I got a huge grant to write a manuscript in three months? “It can’t be that hard,” I said to myself. “Tons of people write a novel in a month.”

(The part where I had a baby right at the beginning of the three months did throw a pretty serious monkey wrench into that plan. And I wrote more than zero words, which puts me ahead of many years’ NaNo efforts…)

According to the NaNo website, my lifetime total is 8,729 words. So, this year–despite the toddler, the full-time (plus) job, the general chaos of life when one is, like me, terrible at saying no to things…

I’m doing it.

Not for the 50,000 words, or the winner badge (because, let’s face it, I am… not optimistic it can be done during this season of my life). But for the practice.

I’m going to write something, anything, every day this month. 

Please feel free to harass me via Twitter: @larkinplarkin

Here’s today’s effort. Wish me luck tomorrow…!

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