Friends, acquaintances, and virtual strangers have asked me that an average of 1.5 times per day in the past week. My answer, as in most Octobers, has been, "Not this year."
In case someone reading this doesn't know, November is National Novel Writing Month. Not, as I initially typed it, National Nobel Writing Month. Most of what comes out of NaNo is, frankly, crap. But it's a good way to get in the habit of writing, and writing is a good habit to have. Especially for those of us who fancy ourselves writers.
An author has written something. A writer is writing something now. I'm an author. I want to be a writer. So I need to write. So why not NaNo? Because I have this awful mental image of someone reading what I've written and saying, "You wrote this in NaNo, didn't you?"
I'm also afraid to sign up for NaNo because real life has me by the short hairs right now. (Actually, all my hairs are short now, thanks to a series of haircuts over the past few months. But be that as it may.) My husband used to feed the critters, collect the eggs, keep some clean laundry available at all times, and handle routine household maintenance and repairs. Now that he's gone, my sons and I are figuring out how things work. Or don't work, as the case may be. Yesterday, for example a blow-out bladder exploded in my clean-out vent.
A blow-out bladder is a heavy-gauge rubber balloon that is screwed to the end of a garden hose, then slid into the clean-out vent between the house and the septic tank. It has, or is supposed to have, a tiny hole at the other end from the garden hose. The theory is that running water into the bladder will first expand the balloon until it seals the drain pipe, then jet water fiercely through the tiny hole at the blockage until the blockage gives way.
Our older bladder was lent out and never returned, so when snaking the drain became more of an exercise in frustration than anything else, we went to Ace and bought a new bladder. Yes, I did get the big one designed to fit this size of pipe. No, I didn't check to see that the tiny hole existed. Evidently, it didn't. The resulting geyser was spectacularly unpleasant.
At least Ace returned my money without quibbling.
The second bladder induced drainage, but this morning the toilet went bloopbloopbloop when the tub drained, which means something is still wrong. The septic pump, which is essential because we had to install a raised septic drain field, might be going bad. The pump itself cost under $150 last time it was replaced, but replacing it means calling the honey truck to drain the septic tank so the pump motor can be reached.
Yes, that small tank of sloshing sewage really is called a honey truck. And they say writers are creative.
Or the pump could be good but could be getting insufficient juice to run on. The wiring to it is ... let's call it "creative." We've already established that plumbers are creative, right? Well so are electricians: in my house, turning out the back porch light means hearing the toilet go bloopbloopbloop until someone remembers to turn on the back porch light again. Anyhow, the porch light is on, so that's not the problem.
And it's not like the plumbing is the only thing pulling at the focus of my attention. The AC faltered several times over this past summer. While my husband managed keep it running, or kept getting it back to running, he admitted he wouldn't be able to keep it going through this next summer. And, as mentioned before, he's not going to be there to try. So research on alternatives has taken up some time and will continue to take time.
And there's the day job. The day job is not going well.
And I saw my doctor, who wanted to know why I haven't had last year's colonoscopy yet. It's not that I'm reluctant to have it done, especially having read Dave Barry's description. It's that I'd need a ride home afterward, and my sons are both on learner's permits, and I don't want to ask anyone with a license to give me a ride because my house looks like Smaug's cavern would if Smaug had to buy all his mathoms on an income like mine. Which adds the need for housecleaning to the reasons I can't spare time for NaNo.
And that's a stupid reason, because over the past several weeks we've been housecleaning from the time garbage gets picked up on Friday afternoon until the maximum number of containers is full and lined up by the road--which is usually Saturday or Sunday. Eventually, maybe even by the end of the year, we might produce enough of an effect to notice. Meanwhile, I have five days of the week left to NaNo in.
So why not NaNo? Writing has always been my escape valve. Every November, I meet with various NaNo groups a couple of times a week to write. These sessions are fun and productive. Note that the NaNo Rebels like me don't start a new novel to write in that month; we have plenty of started works to finish up instead. But...what if someone says, "You wrote this in NaNo, didn't you?"
Excuse me, the chickens are calling.