Wednesday, October 21, 2015

50k, Baby

November encroaches, promising colder, longer nights and days riddled with turkey. Both of which I shall embrace. One November event I have typically avoided is NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month. The goal is straightforward. In the month of November, you try to clock in 50,000 words, approaching the lower bounds of a novel's word count. Hence, the title of the event.

I write Monday through Friday in the morning for an hour or two, but I'm a slower type of gent (using the term loosely) averaging anywhere from 300 to 1k. The daily target for NaNoWriMo is 1,667.

I tried one year and didn't bust out of the 20's. So you can see why I hesitate a little.

I even told my writing group just a few days ago, that I did not intend to embark upon that train wreck again. But here I am, thinking about it. Envisioning the word count piling up, the inspired ideas, the hated jock, at his locker with a small smile on his face,starting the slow clap that quickly envelopes the whole school until they are ALL clapping and cheering me. Wait. Why am I in high school? Gross. Anyway.

I'm doing it. Going to give it a serious go. Another one of the huddled masses stooped over my keyboard at odd hours. I don't plot, though. That also gives a fellow pause. This type of momentum requires a consistent writing. But, I would rather my story develop organically. Don't worry. My characters don't talk to me and force me to do things or any of that BS. I just enjoy the discovery that comes from writing without a plan and the problem solving needed to figure myself out of writing jams. Well, it helps that I write fantasy, cause you know, you can just make stuff up. It's fantasy.

Sure it's prescribed. Sure it's annoying. Sure some channels of  NaNoWriMo chatter annoy people. I don't care. It's time to shake up my routine a bit and stretch.

How about you? Rocking the NaNoWriMo? Or another new endeavor in November?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

3,000 Miles & None The Wiser

What should an introverted homebody lacking any semblance of direction sense, with a slight fear of driving, do with a week of vacation? Why, go a road trip of course!

My mother re-located to the southwest and I had yet to visit her new home. Rachael thought we should take advantage of the opportunity, and instead of the standard few hour flight, turn it into an asphalt adventure and cure some of our geographical ignorance.

When it comes to geographical considerations, I am, simply put, a moron. My third-grade memorization of the states and their capitals has grown thick with cobwebs, and sadly was never supplemented with additional knowledge. A few years back I started upon the Shelby Foote's brilliant civil war narrative, and was forced to consult a map tirelessly due to my ignorance.

We rolled away from Saint Paul on a cool and crisp (how else to describe a MN morning?) on October 3rd. Our first day was designed to ease into the trip, with a pause in Des Moines to visit a friend, and then only a few hours more to bring us into Lincoln, Nebraska, birthplace of Rachael. Why there isn't a statue there to commemorate the event is puzzling to me! The college town has a plethora of bars and dinner spots to choose from, but our weariness prevented much exploration.

Next day had us in Denver exploring the mythical Red Rocks Amphitheater. The rocks there are simply gorgeous. I am not a photo journalist, as these photos will attest:

After Denver, we rolled into Albuquerque and woke up to the news that just a miles away from our hotel, hundreds of hot air balloons were being launched. This has got to be the lamest photo ever, but here was our view:

The next few days in NM went by too quickly. A few highlights:
My wife and I in White Sands

A wooden railroad trestle in Cloudcroft NM

What trip would be complete without visiting the world's largest pistachio?

The desert mountains possesses a raw beauty that's easy to appreciate. It's fascinating to see the terrain change from a dusty scrub land into a lush coniferous forest simply by increasing the elevation a couple thousand feet, which can be done in 20 miles of travel.

We took three days to get down there, and decided to do the trip back in two. Nine hours of driving got us to Oklahoma City, and we were surprised by the greenery OK had on display. Day two consisted of 12 merciless hours of interstate 35, and for the record, Kansas, your $7.00 of tolls was not very cool.

Even the most cynical corners of my mind can at least recognize the advantages of travel, if nothing else, to appreciate and long for the comforts of home. Overall, I enjoyed the trip and welcomed the tiny bit of knowledge I garnered about this giant land mass that is the United States and its various forms of beauty.

How about you? Done any traveling recently?