NaNoWriMo Day 19

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Hey, kids. So today's excerpt is about one of the few murders in my home town and my relation to the family. They were regular customers at the video store and I had waited on the husband and wife earlier that day. (They rented The Piano.) They seemed like particularly nice people, and it's something I've thought about a lot since the event.
 
Before I started writing a memoir, I read various articles about how hard it is and how it is emotionally exhausting. In my usual form, I thought that sounded like overly touchy-feely crap. I will say that this month, while extremely satisfying so far, has indeed been EXHAUSTING. The more I talk to people about the book, though, the more excited I get. I hope it's all worth it.
 
Oh yeah, happy Friday.
 
I am 19 days (out of 30) and 33,074 words (out of 50,000) down.
 
That evening, I read the article in the May 25th Syracuse Herald-Journal in disbelief. I was shocked that ____ was capable of something so heinous but realized I had no idea who these people really were. I felt and still feel extremely sad for ____, the children, and their families. The things I gleaned from the newspaper were that ____ ______ stood silently in front of the judge and offered no explanation or apology while being sentenced. ______ had been charged with second-degree murder, but the victim's family agreed to let him plead guilty to the reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter. This lesser charge was agreed upon and was intended spare the children from the stress of a trial, and it accused him of killing his wife "while under extreme emotional disturbance." The visiting Onondaga County Judge _____ ________, according to the Albany Times Union, told ______, "This is one of the saddest cases I've ever handled." No doubt the judge has seen numerous cases involving violent crime, yet he made a point of noting that this one was particularly sad. I think he must have seen something similar in ____ as I did and was more struck by the type of person who had committed the crime than the crime itself.

NaNoWriMo Day 18

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Today was a pretty good writing day. I've been waking up early to write almost every day, and it helped that Greta slept past 6:45 today. Whoever decided to put NaNoWriMo during the month where we're supposed to "fall back" is either thoughtless or cruel, although I'm guessing most WriMos, as we're affectionately known, don't do their writing in the morning.
 
I am 18 days (out of 30) and 31,148 words (out of 50,000) down. Chugga, chugga, chugga.
 
Between the happy visits and the sad visits, there was the day-to-day in-between of people who just wanted to rent a video, were approximately my age, and who I knew on some sort of friendly basis. There were a lot of those visits, and they often speckled the doldrums of my shifts with some interesting, bright, or funny spot.

NaNaWriMo Day 17

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Zzzzzzzz...so tired...losing motivation...running short on material...how am I ever going to make it to day 30?
 
I am 17 days (out of 30) and 29,045  words (out of 50,000) down.
 
_____ _______, more than any of my boyfriends or my best friend or anyone else, visited me the most and would stay, by far, the longest. He was two years younger than me, at least two inches shorter than me, rotund, and he had an amazing afro of blond hair. What he lacked in conventional looks as far as height, weight, and hair texture went, he somewhat made up for with pristine smooth, ivory skin. I don't think he ever had a breakout, which is the one thing I envied about him. Unless I wanted an update on ____ or was feeling extremely bored—which was almost never between having school work, a TV in the store, and my own thoughts that I could get lost in for exorbitant amounts of timeI grumbled and rolled my eyes whenever _____ came in the store. He was a pest. He would even irritate the customers and had no qualms about it. He would beg me for free candy, and if I said no, he would sprawl out on the floor in front of the counter in a passive protest. He would engage the customers in conversation about movies and tell them they could walk over or around him: he was in the middle of making a protestation. The most heinous act that involved him was when a customer once wrongly referred to _____ as my boyfriend. He was far from my boyfriend; he would never be my boyfriend.

NaNoWriMo Day 16 (Let's Do the Time Warp Again)

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This weekend we dropped the Greta Bean off at my parents' house and went to New York City to have some childless adult fun, complete with hanging out with rowdy friends, drinking alcohol before noon, and watching a concert on a school night. It was nearly impossible to find time to write during our travels. I did end up surpassing my daily word count goal on Sunday, though, AND I surpassed the halfway mark. I didn't write a single word on Saturday or Monday, sadly, which got me behind schedule. I have been obsessive about meeting my goals and staying ahead, so this kind of killed me. I had to ignore Greta most of the evening, but I am back on track now. Don't worry, Pat paid attention to her while I was ignoring her. (And that's why kids are given two parents.)
 
I am 16 days (out of 30) and 27,300  words (out of 50,000) down.
 
And since a couple people have asked, just to put it in perspective, 27,300 words equates to 90 pages in MS Word, Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double spaced. I'm told 50,000 words equates to a book that is about 185 pages in the publishing world.
 
Even though I made it clear I would not actually involve myself in attempting to thwart Mr. Karate's thievery, I was actually terrified. What if he did come in and steal when I was there? What if I happened to look up at him right as he put a VHS tape in the band of his massive sweatpants? He could stuff me in the trunk of a car and bury me in the woods before I could say, "Hello, 911? A giant has abducted me because I tried to stop him from stealing a very old, used copy of Sister Act. No, I know, it's ironic because Whoopi Goldberg was in the convent hiding because she witnessed a crime. Personally, I think he should be arrested for having such bad taste in movies."

NaNoWriMo Day 12

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I'm feeling slightly less woe-is-me today. In case you hadn't noticed, this project is making me slightly bipolar (and, yes, I realize "slightly bipolar" is like being "a little bit pregnant," but you know what I mean. And, no, I'm not pregnant). My cheery mood today is due in part to the fact that it's Friday, it's 62 degrees and sunny outside, and Pat and I have a really fun weekend planned.
 
I am thinking I may be too busy to write and post this weekend, but maybe I'll surprise ya (and myself). Anyway, if I don't post don't send out the police looking for me.
 
Here's another slightly dicey excerpt for you. I think the statue of limitations is up on this one, thankfully.
 
I am 12 days (out of 30) and 23,065  words (out of 50,000) down.
 
After days more of radio silence, even though I knew he had essentially broken up with me (in quite possibly the most cowardly way ever), one day while at work I wrote a three-page letter explaining why we needed to break up, apologizing all the way through it. Even though he had treated me poorly, I cared about him and wanted to be a nice person. While I was crafting the letter, a familiar face appeared in the large window in front of the store. It was _____, one of ____'s few friends who actually made a point to be friendly to me and visit me with an almost frightening regularly at the store. When _____ walked in I skipped the pleasantries and asked what was up with ____. He said, "Well, Fran, he doesn't have a job but he has a lot of money. You figure it out." I thought, There's no way I'm dating a drug dealer. I have never had a drink in my life. I have never smoked a cigarette. I always do my homework. I'm never late. I'm honest to a fault. I am not dating a drug dealer. There is just no way.

NaNoWriMo Day 11

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Here's a haiku describing how I feel right now:
Tired, sick of writing
Nap and long bath would be nice
So not close to done
 
I am 11 days (out of 30) and 20,951  words (out of 50,000) down.
 
My brother knew ____ through a mutual friend, and he was in the "hate-him" category, as were, it seemed, a lot of people I knew. My brother went so far to suggest that if ____ were a more motivated person he probably would have blown up a building. But _____ and I felt we knew the "real ____," and I subsequently let myself get wrapped up in what would become the unhealthiest relationship I ever had with another human.

NaNoWriMo Day 10

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Oh, boy. I hope you kids enjoy this little gem. Today I wrote about how I concluded my fourth trip ever behind the wheel: by driving my mom's Acura Integra into the side of the video store right before my shift was due to start. Good times.
 
I was on a roll writing today and it felt fun and easy. As usual, I had a hard time picking an excerpt. I don't want to give away too much but still pick something that will make sense without the rest of the context. Anyhoo...
 
I am 10 days (out of 30) and 18,948  words (out of 50,000) down.

 
I took a break from driving for about a month. My mom didn't want to pressure me, so throughout my driving boycott she would delicately ask if I wanted to take a drive, but I'd always say no. Eventually my brother stopped by my parents' house one day and said, "You've got to start driving again eventually. Let's take a ride." So ____ got me back on the saddle again, and then it was back to my mom spending many patient hours with me driving through the beautiful rural expanse of Marcellus, exploring the long, hilly country roads and not driving into any buildings.

NaNoWriMo Day 9

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I know I always say how I think it's annoying when people talk about their dreams, but I have to share one I had last night.
 
In my dream my present self was driving down the street I grew up on. I saw that there was some sort of little neighborhood sale going on, with a little food stand and then an open house with more food and tchotchkes for sale. I was looking around for familiar faces and realized I didn't see any. The neighbors welcomed me in the house. I was walking around, trying to navigate through the house, and there was a table blocking the doorway from the kitchen into the dining room, where I wanted to be. I could have walked the opposite way through kitchen and then circled around through the living room into the dining room, but no, I decided to climb over the table that was blocking the doorway and I BROKE IT. I was so embarrassed and I felt so bad for the neighbors who invited me in.
 
Gee, do you think I am having guilt issues about writing about people from my past or what?? Just to clarify, yes, yes I am. And, no, I don't usually climb over tables at strangers' houses.
 
Writing was hard today. I don't know if it was just hard to follow up after the last two intense days, or maybe I am rusty because I went out last night with an old friend and shared a charcuterie board and a bottle of wine, or maybe I'm getting senioritis even though it's only day 9. Whatever the reason, I really didn't feel like writing today. But I will have you know I pushed through.
 
I am 9 days (out of 30) and 17,325  words (out of 50,000) down.
 
When leaving the Dome, we'd try to see how quickly we could get back to the car, trying to break ahead of the rest of the large pack walking from campus to their cars. When it was snowy and icy, as if often was, we would slide down the big hill and down the various side streets to the parking garage, as if we were wearing ice skates. This would always give us a burst of energy for the ride home and give us a bit of an advantage getting out of the parking garage. In the car, my dad would ask me what I wanted to listen to. Nine times out of ten I'd choose side 2 of Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water, on cassette. I'd sing along to all of the words in an attempt to stay awake for the dark, cold ride home.

NaNoWriMo Day 8

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I'm still chug, chug, chugging away. I injured my right hand this weekend by overdoing it with yard work and cleaning in the house. I think writing 50 pages in one week might have been a contributing factor, too. I shall not quit, though. I hope I don't come out of this project with a claw for a right hand.
 
Today's excerpt is the second and final day focusing on my classmate's suicide. I am hoping to put the tissues away for a while after today.
 
I am 8 days (out of 30) and 15,523  words (out of 50,000) down.
 
___'s death affected me more than anything else ever had. I was sad about the loss of my friend and the fact that I would never see him again. I was sad that there was something so awful in his life that it made death more appealing than life. I was sad no one was able to help him realize that whatever was going on would eventually pass. I felt guilty that I had no idea he was dealing with anything that was worse than any of the normal teenage angst the rest of us were dealing with. I was angry that there was a gun in the house. I was scared at the reality that someone I cared about could be there one day and not the next.

NaNoWriMo Day 7

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Today was both the hardest and easiest day of writing for me so far. I wrote about the day a good friend in my class committed suicide. It was easy to find the words today because I've played this event, the day, and the months that followed over and over in my head, but it was hard for obvious reasons, and there may or may not be a lot of snot on my sleeves right now. Note to self: get tissues for my office.
 
It was also hard to pick a blurb today...blah.
 
I am 7 days (out of 30) and 13,746 words (out of 50,000) down.
 
I went to my second-period class, then my third-period class, and as I started to walk to my fourth-period Spanish class, I filled with dread. Spanish class was my first class of the day I would have had with ___. He was diabetic and would go between third and fourth period to the nurse's office and test his blood sugar and take insulin. He would walk into the class a little bit late and Señor ______, the Spanish teacher, would say with his slow drawl, "Hoooolaaa, Timoteo." ___ would mimick with an even more exaggerated, "Hooooolaaaa. ¿Qué tal?" I sat down in my chair for a moment, looked around for a couple of friends, but I didn't see them. I saw the class was sparser than usual. I thought about what it would be like sitting in Spanish class without ___ ever walking in, and then I popped up, walked up over to Señor ______'s desk, and for the first time that day, I started to cry. I took a moment to collect myself and barely eked out, "I have to go, okay?" Señor ______ asked, "Are you okay, Sabina?" addressing me in my Spanish name. I nodded and said, "I just have to go." He nodded at me, and I caught my breath and walked out of the room without making eye contact with anyone. I didn't know where to go. For the first and only time in my high school career, there were kids  meandering through the halls without hall passes in their hands, talking in hushed voices. I thought I should probably to go the library, where I knew there were grief counselors.

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