Writing–NaNoWriMo 2013 Project

NaNoWriMo Day 3

I’ve decided to do something a little different this year. Instead of my usual 60,000 word novel target, I’m going to instead do two 25,000 word (or there about) novellas. The novellas are connected, so it’s almost like I’m doing a novel. I’m just behind the rules, not outright breaking them.

Besides, they have a category for rule breakers.

The two novellas are about The Rainmakers, Annie and Wil McCain, who are traveling 1880’s Kansas, practicing their trade, a gift they inherited from their parents. Naturally, since this is the Wild West, things can get a little rough. And since this is an alternate history replete with certain paranormal elements, things can get a little weird.

In the first novella, while traveling between towns, they encounter some prejudice as well as some folks that would like to kidnap them and use them for gain. In the second, they make rain in a spooky, not-quite-friendly, almost-ghost town.

I blame this idea on the fact that I watch mostly Western TV shows in the afternoons (and that’s where most of my knowledge about the Old West comes from so I’m sure it’ll be fine). The idea was further encouraged by listening to Michael Nesmith’s “Rainmaker“.

In the end, I decided this idea worked best of the few others I’d come up with. It was the most developed, easiest to further develop, and seemed to be the most agreeable with the double novella concept.

Even though research-wise I might have some issues (I have done some basic stuff), I’m actually pretty excited about this project. It’ll give me a chance to try something I normally wouldn’t think of trying.

I think this NaNo should be a good workout.

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The Reality of “Let’s Be Brave”

The Garden (Michael Nesmith album)

Last year I posted about a dream I had in which a young Michael Nesmith came to me and said, “Let’s be brave”. And I decided that it was a great idea and these were words I should live by.

I declared it my new motto.

Almost a year later I can safely say that I haven’t been too good about living up to those words.

In some ways, I have. Little ways. I bit the bullet when it came to my sewing, pushing aside the idea of making a mistake and wasting a shirt or a pair of jean or a handkerchief and turning those things into bags and skirts and dresses.

I’ve self-published a couple of novellas in that time and I’ve been less shy  about being a writer, though I’m still pretty restrained when it comes to bugging people to read what I’ve published.

I’ve given fewer fucks about what people think about me and I’m embracing who and what I am and I’m less afraid about being that person in front of everyone more and more.

But in a lot of important ways, I’m still a coward.

My life has advanced very little. My need for security keeps me petrified. My ability to make money being tied to my self-esteem, my inability to be more creative about making money, the constant berating that goes on in my head about not having a “real” job and how everyone judges me as a failure for it, those things I haven’t been brave enough to even face, let alone conquer or let go.

I still can’t ask for help; my ego won’t allow it. I’m not brave enough to admit that it’s okay to ask for help and that, maybe, people would be willing to help me. I’m not a failure for asking for help, even if I feel like I am and like I don’t deserve it.

I’m still ashamed of so many aspects of my life. The bravery that I feel when facing them falters when I have to admit them to other people. I still have too many fucks to give in that department.

And don’t even get me started on the downright terror that complete paralyzes me when it comes to matters of the heart.

Who would have thought that turning brave from chicken wouldn’t happen overnight? Or even in a year?

I acknowledge the progress that I’ve made and I hope to keep making more, but I can’t help but be disappointed that I haven’t gone farther in a year.

I’ll never be able to stitch “Let Be Brave” on a sampler if I don’t live up to those words.

Let’s Be Brave

“Let’s be brave” is my new motto. It’s advice I received from the most unlikely source.

A couple of weeks ago, I dreamed about Michael Nesmith of the Monkees. He appeared to me in this dream as he looked back in about 1966, with the wool hat and the denim jacket and the young face with great sideburns. And in this dream he suggested to me that we stage a 1950’s fashion show. I don’t know why he wanted to do that, but I loved the idea of it. And I told him so.

He told me that I shouldn’t love the idea, but that I should love that he was brave enough to have the idea and share the idea. Then he looked at me and smiled and said, “Let’s be brave.”

I woke up in love with that sentence. “Let’s be brave.”

Too many times I’ve found myself holding back because I was afraid. Afraid of how I might be judged for having an idea and putting that idea out into the world. I don’t want to be seen as a failure. I don’t want to be seen as stupid. I don’t want my ideas to be judged as stupid.

This fear of being judged is keeping me from being brave. I can’t get anywhere, doing anything, be anything if I don’t make some bold moves and give my ideas the respect they deserve. First of all, no one else will respect my ideas or support them if I don’t put them out there. And if people don’t respect or support my ideas, than I’m getting the same amount of respect and support I’d be getting if I didn’t tell them at all.

The point is to be brave enough to own and accept my ideas for all the world to see.

I’ve made small steps in doing that already. I posted a novel chapter on the blog for people to read. This is something I don’t do because I don’t like anyone to see what I’m working on. I don’t like talking about it. I don’t want anyone to know.

Well, that’s silly. I’m a writer. I write. Here’s what I’m writing. Enough with this chicken shit.

Enough with the yellow-streak down my back that’s effecting more of my life that just my writing. Yellow is a terrible color on me anyway.

Let’s be brave.

Words to Live By

Quotation marks

I like quotes. Real people, fictional people, doesn’t matter. I like a good, strong quote. I like a quote you can apply to your life. I’ve got my share of those. Here are a few of my favorite ones.

“Simple respect. I expect nothing more and I’ll accept nothing less.” -Margaret Houlihan, M*A*S*H

It’s the baseline for my life. I’m big on respect. I give basic level respect and I expect to get at least that in return. As I get to know you, the respect increases, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I keep in on that basic “You and I are both humans and I was raised with manners” level. And sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I decide you don’t deserve my respect, and I’m not going to give it to you. Period. End of story. I won’t treat you badly or disrespect you (unless I’m forced into that position); I just won’t deal with you at all. If you’re not worth my respect, then you’re not worth my time.

Likewise, I expect basic respect and I won’t take anything less. I won’t let you disrespect me. I won’t settle for it. I won’t stand for it. I got that sort of treatment more often than I should have when I worked in retail and I tell you what, I didn’t get paid enough to pretend it wasn’t a big deal. Customers were corrected, as nicely as possible at first, of course. Because I’m working a job that YOU think is lowly doesn’t mean you get to treat me that way. You will treat me with common courtesy and basic respect. Period. It’s up to me to earn anything more.

“My guts are not here for you to love.” -Margaret Houlihan, M*A*S*H

Another line that I apply to my general existence. You don’t have to like me. I wasn’t born for you to like me. I’m here for my own purpose and I act on my own reasons and I make my own decisions and you don’t have to like any of that. I’m not here to make you happy. I’m here to live my life and do my time and make the most out of what I’ve got and do it in my own way and if that doesn’t satisfy you, Scooter, then I don’t know what to tell you. Get used to disappointment, I suppose.

“I cannot sit here waiting for you to have an epiphany. I am losing the will to live.”Radek Zelenka, Stargate: Atlantis

I use this as a reminder because I have a tendency to do a lot of sitting and thinking and don’t always follow through on the action part. Problems are typically solved through action and granted, it’s good to attempt a solution after thinking one up, but there comes a point when you can only do so much thinking and then the doing has to start. I can’t sit around and wait for a better idea or a better option. I’ve got to run with what I’ve got and risk failure.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” -Samuel Beckett

If there was every a quote for writing, this is it. If there was ever a quote for LIFE, this is it. It does me no good to go through life afraid of failing and as a perfectionist, that’s sometimes difficult for me to grasp. This quote reminds me that failure is part of life and can be the best teacher.

“The power is inside you. Nobody can give it to you. Nobody can take it away. Now go play the harp.” Michael Nesmith, The Monkees

The ultimate self-esteem boost. I don’t need anyone’s permission to be great. I don’t need anyone’s approval to be great. I can be great if I want to be and no one can stop me. In the end, I’m the only one that rules over myself. No one else.

“They can’t yank a novelist like they can a pitcher. A novelist has to go the full nine even if it kills him.” -Ernest Hemingway

A writing reminder that can also be applied to life with a little revision. I’m in it to win it, baby. I’ve to be ready to throw a complete game every time I step on the mound. (And sometimes after a particularly rough writing jag, I feel like I just threw nine innings, too.)

“Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Life’s a play. We’re all unrehearsed.” -Mel Brooks

In the end, we’re all just muddling through the best we can. Might as well make the best of it.

Rerun Junkie–The Monkees

I know I’ve talked about the music before, but now let’s focus on the show. After all, it’s the reason for the music anyway, right? At least in the beginning.

The premise was simple enough: four band members lived in a kickin’ beach pad and had wacky adventures while playing really catchy tunes that are still played to day. Most episodes got two songs and these were usually set to “romps” in which the boys and the guest starts ran around and acted silly. There were also given an excuse to play at least one number in many episodes.

The second season got a little crazier as the guys were more prone to imporve and more prone to smoking pot. There weren’t so much as script as there were guidelines to an epidsode and even tehn they were quite loose. The episodes, though a little stranger, were still fun.  “The Devil and Peter Tork”, “Fairy Tale”, and “The Monkees Christmas Show” remain to fan favorites.

Peter, Mike, Micky, and Davy. Yes, I know what episode this is from.

The band was comprised of Davy, the cute one; Micky, the crazy one; Mike, the in-charge one; and Peter, the dumb one. Okay, that’s over-simplifying things a bit, but the point was there was a “type” for every girl (though the target girls ended up being 8-12). Davy was the teen idol heartthrob with a British accent bonus. Micky was as charming and funny with a good heart. Mike was the epitome of the strong, sarcastic Texan with a protective air. And Peter was sweet, sensitive, and a little naive, which made you want to protect him. I think every one of these guys has been my favorite at some point or another. I think they planned it that way. Very clever.

The show managed to attract some fun guest starts including Rose Marie, Julie Newmar, Lon Chaney Jr, Monte Landis, Phil Leeds, Butch Patrick, Ron Maask, Rip Taylor, Ruth Buzzi, and Joey Forman.

Sporadic reruns of the show have garnered new generations of fans. I got hooked when I was six during their 20th anniversary tour. Though I listen to the music almost daily (I’ve got all but 2 albums on my iPod and I will have those one day, oh yes), I still love watching the show, particularly when I need a mood boost. Most of the eps I have are on VHS. It’s the only reason I still have a VCR.

I can’t imagine a higher compliment than that.

 

Where I Watch It