Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day Twenty-eight: Glimpses of Normalcy

NaNoWriMo is like taking part in a total immersion language program. For those who may not know what that is, instead of taking a foreign language in college for two or three one-hour sessions a week, you live in a dorm with other students of that particular language, French for example, and that is all you speak. By only being allowed to communicate in the language you are learning, you learn it much faster. The theory behind it is based on how children learn their native languages, which is primarily from hearing their parents and older siblings speak it.

NaNo is something like that. You may be physically present in a non-NaNo world, but much of your waking time is spent either working on your novel, corresponding with your writing buddies about your novels, or talking in the forums seeking support or discussing problems with your novels. Even when you're not actively engaged in writing or discussing, your brain is trying to work out plot snags or details of the next scene. You speak a whole new vocabulary, one steeped in writing terms and NaNoJargon.

It takes some adjustment when you finish your book and suddenly remember that you have a life that exists the other eleven months of the year. Somehow, during November, that seems to slip your mind. But I've begun to catch glimpses of normalcy. For instance, when I'm writing, I like to listen to the classical music station on the radio ("ALL Classical, ALL the time," is their motto). But a couple of days ago, I suddenly realized there was a smattering of Christmas music sprinkled in amongst the works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Grieg. Then, while watching television in the evening, it was impossible to miss the holiday commercials; and even two of our favorite programs had Thanksgiving themes, and one was a Christmas episode!

There have been more mundane reminders of that "other" life, too. Bills still have to be paid: creditors don't consider NaNoWriMo a valid excuse for late payments. And my husband informed me that there is something amiss with our refrigerator--how can it be freezing and thawing at the same time? So, it looks like a call to the repairman is in order.

And then there's the mud! Not only have we had one of the wettest springs and summers on record, but fall has not been much better. Our back yard is so saturated, I'm thinking of investing in "Wellies" for Mindy, my dog, so she won't track in so much mud from outside. If it were just a bit warmer, we could grow rice or perhaps have a cranberry bog of our very own. The bottom line is that the floor by the kitchen door needs to be mopped almost daily to keep the muck from spreading into the the main house.

It was also nice to take a day off from writing to enjoy Thanksgiving with family, to talk with real people instead of just the characters in my book, and to listen to conversation that I didn't write. Soon, meals will return to being more balanced, and more regular, as will bedtime. Once again laundry will be folded upon its return from the laundromat, and clothes will be available in drawers and closets instead of having to be fished out of the accumulated bags of clean laundry piled by the linen closet. Furniture will be dusted, floors will be vacuumed and mopped, beds will be made. In short, the normal rhythms and responsibilities of life will return--at least until next November.

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