Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rewards, Distractions, and Favorite Authors

Well, I wasn't sure it was possible, but in two days I managed to write 18,000 words in order to win this year's NaNoWriMo challenge. Phew! I think my poor computer doesn't know what hit it. The NaNoNovel probably feels the same way since it is likely impossible to write good prose that quickly. But I've come to the conclusion that this story needs to ripen a bit before I really write it, so just having that time to get to know it a little better was probably beneficial.

As soon as I finished my 50,000th word, I went into unpacking mode. Mostly because I was sick of navigating around piles of boxes, and couldn't find my blankets to just turn the whole mess into a fort.

May I just say, "Ugh!"

In short, unpacking is a pain. It's amazing how you can work so hard at something and have it look worse when you're done than it did when you started. I am trying to focus on the little victories, though. For example, I was able to find the vinegar when we needed it this evening, I now have two cabinets full of clean dishes, and the pantry now has food in it instead of cardboard. Little victories.

Still, it's easy to feel daunted when I still can't find things like, for example, Blackout by Connie Willis.

Connie Willis is, in my opinion, a brilliant author. She's often classified as a science fiction writer, but she, like Jasper Fforde, challenges conventional genre classifications. I love every one of her books that I have read, and thus she has reached "hardcover status" in my personal library. (As opposed to ebook status, or paperback status, hardcover status is reserved for books that are so wonderful that I know I'll want to have them absolutely forever.)

Anyway, I bought my hardcover copy of Blackout several months ago, but decided to wait to read it until I also had All Clear, which is, as I understand it, the continuation of Blackout. All Clear arrived shortly before NaNoWriMo, so I-- in a great feat of willpower-- decided to save both books as my reward for finishing my 50K.

Well, 50,000 words later and what do you know? I can't find Blackout! I found All Clear after digging through about half a dozen boxes, but Blackout is nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, in the process of looking for Blackout I found Celia Garth (also in hardcover) by Gwen Bristow, which is another book I've been saving for a special occasion.

In a way, reading Celia Garth is more momentous than reading Blackout because Gwen Bristow stopped writing around the time of her death about thirty years ago. I read and loved her Plantation Trilogy as well as Jubilee Trail, and Calico Palace, but Celia Garth will be new for me. I'm almost sad to read it, but if Ms. Bristow's other books are any indication, Celia and I will have a long and happy friendship.

Now, the trick is to find the time to read. The next two weeks will be very busy because I have four, no wait, five book signings to attend. I'll be at Lion Around Books in Quakertown this Friday from 6:30 to 8pm, The Moravian Book Shop on Saturday from 1 to 3 pm, Christkindlmarkt in downtown Bethlehem on Thursday at 11am, somewhere in Emmaus (more details to come) on the 11th, and at the Clinton Book Shop in Clinton New Jersey on the 12th. Phew! I guess that's what happens when you contribute to a Christmas anthology.

And somewhere in there I have to bake cookies, wrap presents, and find a spot for my Christmas tree. (I know where it will go, right where that pile of boxes is!)

Oh, and read.

And make a new friend in Celia Garth.

And look for Blackout.

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