Thursday, November 30, 2006

Four Day Weekend?

The buzz at school yesterday was the forecasted winter storm, which was to bring us ice and sleet followed by up to a foot of snow by Friday morning. Like all good teachers, I expected sunny skies when I woke this morning, and told my kiddos to do their homework accordingly. After all, I explained to them, the more prepared for school they were, the higher the likelihood that school would be cancelled.

The prospects for bad weather were bad enough that Monkey's proposed departure for a trip to Lincoln this weekend was moved up a day. She spent last night in a KC HoJo's. Her post-trip report had some nasty freezing precip falling in the KC metro area yesterday afternoon, but here on the homestead, we just had some wet and loud thunderstorms.

Last night, Elementary Teacher ( a new character to this, the chronicle of the author's life) came over to watch the OSU-UNC basketball game. He's from Ohio and doesn't have ESPN. It was great game (UNC won 98-89, or some such ridiculously high score). When bedtime arrived for me, the skies were cloudy and it was cold, but no precip was falling.

This morning, the grass is crunchy and the tress are icy. The roads seem okay, here, but the county roads are apparently a bit slick. The ticker on the TV screen flashed some nearby school closings, but nothing here. At 5:40, I was preparing for a normal day at school. Then, to my joy and surprise, the screen flashed the magic words: "Columbia Public Schools are CLOSED today." Woo hoo!

The forecast is still pretty nasty, with a foot of snow still forecast by Friday morning. In the immortal words of TS Eliot: "Do I dare to each a peach? Do I dare to expect two snow days in a row?" I shall, in a superstitious nod to J. Alfred Prufrock, wear my trousers rolled, today.

What good fortune it would have been had I needed to write a few thousand words to finish my novel on time. But I don't! 'Cause I finished that puppy. I am almost going through a bit of post-writing flurry withdrawal. I kept thinking I had something to do last night, but I didn't. It was a bittersweet feeling of longing mixed with triumph. I feel it still.

So, dear reader, what shall I do, today? Back in Mob Town, a snow day meant toilet paper sandwiches with a glass of milk, but I think I'll have something else for lunch. I'm just glad it's not Tuesday. It would suck to miss chicken nugget day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We Have A Winner!

Well, after neglecting my students, my colleagues, my friends, my wife, and a host of other things, it has all paid off.

I finished my novel! I am amazed how it sort of all came together, and how some things I had been working on in the past (and some things waaaaay in the past), raised their ugly heads in this piece, too.

It was a slog, but it has been worth it, especially since Monkey is now showering me with kisses!

And now...prepare for a possible snow day on Thursday/Friday.

Think about this: I finished my novel on chicken nugget day. What could be better?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

This year, I am giving thanks for Monkeys, puppies, and Democratic victories, just to name a few things.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

On Target

I have finally made up the difference between where I should be and where I am. I should have, if I want to finish the novel by Nov. 30, 31, 673 words by the end of today. I currently have 31,844. So, instead of being my usual 3000 words behind, I am actually almost 200 words ahead and am on pace to finish on time. And, should I so desire, I can keep plugging away and get even farther out front. But, I have written 7000 words or so this weekend, so I feel like I've done enough. I think I'll spend the rest of the day grading papers and watching Peyton Manning carve up the Cowboys.

Monkey and I are gearing up for Turkey Day. Pie making on Wednesday (hooray two day work week!), so Monkey is happy about that. And company coming into town, too. So, it should be an exciting week. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Halfway Point

This morning, at approximately 7:39 CST, I crossed the 25000 word mark! This is an achievement, but it only serves to remind me that I have a long way to go, and less time than is optimal to get there. BUt I am determined. I was talking to PartnerTeacher yesterday after school, and I realized, while talking to her, how disappointed i will be in myself if I don't get this done. This morning (at least the first two hours of it) has been encouraging. Can I write 5000 words today? I'd feel so much better about my prospects for completing this task if I do.

By the way, at this stage of the process, I am pretty sure this monster will never see the light of day. It reeks. Sorry, Osculator. Then again, after a few months go by, I may want to show it off just because I did it. And we can laugh together at how bad it really is...or we can be surprised when we find something worthwhile (if we do find something worthwhile (if we CAN find something worthwhile (aw, hell, let's just agree to laugh at it))).

Off to type some more (after a nutritious breakfast, of course).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No Progress: Speaking Your Mind

Bad day, yesterday, on the writing front. I wrote zero words! After school, I had to moderate a forum at school on No Child Left Behind. I didn't get home until eight, and I was pretty beat. I watched a little TV instead of writing! Boo!

I got some done today, so I feel better, but I really have to kick it into high gear this weekend if I am going to make it. We have out of town guests on T-day weekend, so I don't know how much I am going to be able to get done. Plus, I am just tired of playing catch up. I should be at 25000 by the end of today, so I am about three thousand words behind the pace (if I want to finish on time). I don't know what is up with the word counter. My word count is right, but my goal is way lower than what I think it should be if I want to finish on November 30.

That is all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Twenty K and Chili

In case you haven't been watching in fascination the word counter just to the left of this post, I just hit 20000 words on my novel (barely). It's not good (although eventually, it may be), but I am doing it, which, for some reason that not everyone needs to understand, fills me with some pride. However, since almost all of my little bit of free time is dedicated to putting word to flash drive, posts will be minimal for the foreseeable future.

By the way, Monkey and I are both feeling much better, AND, I made chili on Sunday. Woo hoo!

Friday, November 10, 2006

This is Really Important

Did I tell you that Boring Election voted this time around? With the fate of the free world hanging in the ice skating rink-free balance, she proudly declared that this election was "NOT boring."

Worth a post all to itself!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Through-Lines, Party Lines

Obviously, the through-line for November is the novel. Writing, writing, writing. I am slowly closing in on being on schedule. Currently only 5000 words behind. With luck, the weekend will afford me time to catch up.

Today was a pretty uneventful day. My health seems to be improving. That's good. Slowly, all the other teachers are falling prey to the flu. They're taking days off! Bunch of wusses!

This weekend, Monkey and I have no big plans. No football games, no travelling. I envision grading and resting and emerging on Monday the picture of health. Saturday night, Monkey and I have decide to have sushi and see a movie, but we have no idea what to see. Any suggestions?

By the way, I would be remiss if I did not mention the recent midterm elections. This is indeed the first election since I was in my mid-twenties where I really felt like my team came out on top. I guess Clinton's two terms were a positive, but not something I could really feel good about. This feels good. After so much of the Republican partisanshipfulness, there over-simplification of everything, their arrogant disregard for the rule of law, and their demagoguery, I hope that the Dems can help make things more like what governing in America should be, a consideration of what is best for everyone and a discussion of what is and is not permitted under the Constitution. Of course, the danger of the new guys turning into slightly different versions of the old guys is present, but I am hoping this will not occur.

Anyway, after two days, things seeem different--in a better way...the real test comes after 1/20/07!

God Bless Everybody. No Exceptions!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Chicken Nuggets Equal Novels? What the Hell is He on About?

There is satisfaction, such as a well enjoyed meal of chicken nuggets on a Tuesday noon. And then there is satisfaction, like hitting 8000 words on your novel.

There is joy, like that experienced reading an excerpt of your novel and saying to yourself, "That is not bad." And then there is joy, like that experienced when you tell a class of fifty juniors that your novel is crap and that it just doesn't matter. The joy of writing--that's why you do it. The ability to say (you hope) I won! I wrote 50,000 words in a month! That is joy. That is satisfaction.

I'm still hacking--hacking up phlegm AND hacking away at the mountain of words I must employ this month. Check out the button over there if you are interested, and participate (in the writing, not the hacking up of phlegm)! It's never too late. What the hell!

I also confessed today, as I do every year to my classes, of my love for Anne Sexton. She was the first poet I really loved that I found all by myself. I guess I had liked other poets and poems that I read in school, but she was the first one I remember finding and liking all on my own. And you never forget your first.

What else? Oh, Monkey is doing a great job of being my muse while I write, AND, she wanted me to make certain that everyone knew that she had been going into work late in order to get extra rest while she was sick. She did a good job of self-care (better than I did), and she is now almost as good as new. I, on the other hand, am slowly recovering (today is over a week!).

Alright, sports fans, I gotta go write some words. Later. But I leave you with one of Anne Sexton's poems.

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves;
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
Whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ignoring the Flu

I've had the flu since Tuesday. Haven't missed work, though. The explanation for which is hardly worth the time or effort. Let's just say I'm dedicated.

Since I didn't miss any work, even when I could hardly croak out a "Good morning" on Friday, I figured it would be a great idea for Monkey and I to head up to Lincoln for the Mizzou-Nebraska game on Saturday. It was a bad idea. The game sucked and mostly I just slept and force marched back to Missouri on Sunday, with Monkey feeling the early effects of the ick herself.

Sunday was misery, to say the least. Today, I am feeling better, yet not 100%. Monkey is still in a bad way, but she went to work today, anyway. And I hardly have any room to berate her for it (even if I still do).

In other news, November is National Novel Writing Month, and I am doing my best and keeping track with my kiddos. One of my block sections is even working on a sort of class novel, each of them taking a hack at 1000 words or so and passing it along. Who knows what that will turn out to be, but so far it's been fun. I, by the way, am way behind the set pace for 50,000 words by 11/30. I have about 3000. I should have 10,000. I'll catch up.

As a matter of fact, I should be writing, now. And so I shall.