Apropos of nothing, I figured I’d do this how-to. Let’s say your friend tells you about a problem or situation and how she (or he — I’ll just use she because whatever) handled it. Let’s also say that the way she handled it seemed to be unobvious and that a different obvious solution pops into your mind.
You can handle this situation in one of two ways:
1. Assume your friend is an idiot and didn’t know any better.
2. Assume that there were more influential factors that her overview did not illuminate and that she is smart enough to have considered the trivially obvious solution and rejected it for a good reason.
I respect my friends and think highly of them, so I opt for choice 2. And it’s nice when my friends do the same for me. Here are sample scenarios:
Friend: We decided to buy a house in [less than desireable location].
Me: That place sucks. I would never buy a place there. You should buy the worst house in a great neighborhood instead.
Friend: *punches me in the face*
Friend: We decided to buy a house in [less than desiereable location].
Me: What made you guys decide on that place? I am wondering because I know you know it’s not the greatest for [whatever reason], so I know there must have been something awesome that made this the best choice for you.
Friend: [long boring yet rational explanation that makes perfect sense]
Seppo and I frequently ran/still run into this situation:
Us: Welcome to our house! It’s crazy, we know.
Friend: How much have you guys put into it?
Us: X amount for house and Y amount for repairs.
Friend: OMG, you should just have torn the place down and rebuilt it. It would have been cheaper.
Us: You are so right! *slap selves on foreheads* We never thought of such a thing! We would have been so much better off if we were as smart as you! Gosh, I never considered that option! *kill friend with frickin’ laserbeams*
I’ve run into this situation a few times:
Me: [tells story of some shitty thing someone did to my parents because they don’t speak English]
Friend: They should learn English.
Me: *dies from apoplexy*
Well DUH. DUH on a STICK. Wow, I’m so glad you shared this amazing tidbit of wisdom that I never once considered! Shocking! I ::heart:: you forever!
November is National Novel Writing Month. Check out the info at the official NaNoWriMo website.
The goal is to write 50,000 words of prose in the month of November. I did this last year (in December instead) and it was extremely gratifying. Most days, I wrote solidly for about 1-2 hours, with the exception of maybe 4 days when I wrote for around 3 days hours, even taking two days off near the end and finishing 3 days early. That wasn’t to boast; I just want to reassure you that you can do this without sacrificing your entire life. This effort results in a book about the length of Catcher in the Rye, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Great Gatsby, Brave New World, and Of Mice and Men. Dude. How do you say no to that?
It’s weird, but the premise is that you are writing the draft and should not expect it to be the completed novel, so you should expect to write lots of crap with the good. It’s about enjoying the experience and going out and actually writing things down, not expecting “the muse” to dictate when you tell your story or figure out that next plot snarl.
From the FAQ on their website:
If I’m just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time?
There are three reasons.
1) If you don’t do it now, you probably never will. Novel writing is mostly a “one day” event. As in “One day, I’d like to write a novel.” Here’s the truth: 99% of us, if left to our own devices, would never make the time to write a novel. It’s just so far outside our normal lives that it constantly slips down to the bottom of our to-do lists. The structure of NaNoWriMo forces you to put away all those self-defeating worries and START. Once you have the first five chapters under your belt, the rest will come easily. Or painfully. But it will come. And you’ll have friends to help you see it through to 50k.
2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you’ll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you’d never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.
3) Art for art’s sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and “must-dos” of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.
I am definitely going to do it again this year. Who is with me?! Last year, Seppo got my draft bound up and printed via CafePress. It looks like a real book, with front matter, chapter breaks, page numbering. It’s beautiful. People who cross the finish line on time are generally offered a free copy of their book printed via www.LuLu.com, but as I did mine during the month of December instead of the standard November, I did not qualify. It was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. The ride itself was exhilarating and I learned SO much about the writing process. I am hoping to leverage some of it for this year’s run.
Let’s do it, people! Woo!!!
- Watch Serenity! It was really, really good.
- I heard a woman say “humendous” on the radio today. 😀
- Work is going really well. I’m motivated, the project is interesting, and they are trying to get us more resources.
- I’m starting to gear up for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Woo! A part of this will be to reread Outlander in order to get into the feel of a well-told story.
- I’m teaching my dog a new trick: holding a biscuit on his nose until I tell him he can have it, at which point he will flip it into the air and eat it. I’m at about 30% into it.
- Seppo’s The Sims 2 Console demo was awesome. Short, but awesome. I really wish they had shown some more of the stuff you can do because it’s really cool, but they obviously don’t want to give too much away.
- Prison Break and Lost are sucking my life dry. There is so much tension that were I not a young spry thing, I’d be gasping for air and calling for an ambulance. I’m just glad that Rock Star: INXS finished a few weeks ago and that So You Think You Can Dance is wrapping up this week, because I need my life back.
(Pay no attention to the skin color difference. That’s just the flash and ambient lighting. You know who I’m talking to. *cough*Edy*cough*)
I am walking around with my fist tightly closed because I am terrified of losing it. Seppo pretended to take the dog to the beach this morning and snuck into the city while I was still sleeping to pick up the ring. Hee. That little rascal. He is so sweet. We were at the store yesterday to pick it out. It’s really beautiful. It’s unique without being bizarre and beautiful without being conventional. Like Seppo himself. We also looked at wedding bands, but we took up all our time there deciding on the engagement ring, so I think we will just wait until another time to figure out the wedding rings. The twist in the ring actually helps it fit more comfortably on me, so maybe we can figure out something like that for Seppo’s wedding ring. He has trouble wearing rings because he has a lot of “webbing” between his fingers.
Seppo and my engagement was official the day he poured out his heart and proposed to me, and I burst into tears and accepted. We danced and cried and talked. That night is when we made the promise of commitment to each other. The ring doesn’t make it any more official. It is, however, a physical symbol of his love and promise and I accepted it as such with great happiness. It meant a lot to him to get it for me, and it means a lot to me. Now, please excuse me while I go squeal in the corner. 🙂
* Yes, “shiny” was also in reference to Serenity. 😀