Novel-Writing Status Update #18

I hate to disappoint but this will not be my final novel post update. Unfortunately, I am still about 500 words short and my brain has short-circuited tonight. I will finish tomorrow.

Current word count: 49,554
Tomorrow’s goal: completion

There just comes a point in time when you realize that no matter how long you stare at the screen and place your fingers on the keys, nothing will be accomplished. After an hour of staring and eating my body weight in chocolate, I have surrendered and admitted defeat. Tonight was busy and emotionally draining without having the added pressure of finishing a novel tonight.

Not a melting pot, but a beautiful mosaic

People never are quite as they seem. I’m perched on a stool in Starbucks with my fingers flying over the keys, my eyes glancing upward for a few seconds every time the door jingles to signify another customer. There was never a more dedicated people watcher (who knows if a random person’s quirks will become a piece of one of my characters).

There’s this girl. Hair like spun gold, tousled by the summer breeze. Few freckles and blue eyes with a hint of grey in them like the sky just before a thunderstorm strikes — at least as far as I can tell from across the room. A sweet voice, an innocent voice. White cotton cargo pants and a hot pink crop top that reads SELFIE in white block letters across the front, the price tag dangling from the back so I know she bought it on sale at Victoria’s Secret Pink store.

When she was in line, I got up to get a napkin and I noticed the wooden necklace around her neck that was stamped with: made in Kenya. I overheard her saying that she wanted to go to Africa again, so I know she’s already been there. She speaks French because I heard her say “Merci” to an older gentleman and when he replied in kind, she spurted out a line in fluent French. Her accent isn’t natural though so she learned it at school and she’s advanced enough that it’s probably her major. She had an Anderson student ID card with the year 2013-2014 so she’s a sophomore but her car had an IU parking tag issued a few days ago (it was parked right next to my seat at the window) so she must be a transfer.

I know she lives in my area because she mentioned some local landmarks. I may have possibly memorized her license plate number (accident! Not my fault that it was repetitive and the car was parked right next to me!). Also, I saw the sermon notes from my church in her purse and she mentioned that she doesn’t have many friends this summer because they are all gone but she hopes to make more at a bible study on Tuesday. Ironically enough, on Tuesday, my bible study is having a get-together with all the other bible studies at different locations so I will probably see her again.

I know all of this but I have no idea what her name is. If I do end up meeting her on Tuesday, I will have to try and act ignorant of all these things so I don’t sound like a creeper. But I kinda want to be friends with this girl.

My first impression of her was preppy, ignorant, with a sense of self-entitlement. Upon listening to her conversation, she was hardly any of those things. It’s amazing how wrong we can be about a person when we truly get to to listen to them talk about their passions. If there’s anything most revealing about a person, it’s not their secrets, not their everyday routine, but what their passions are. It defines the state of our heart and speak volumes about the spirit within. All of our passions are unique and when we get together, they don’t mix together like a melting pot, but rather fit together like a Roman mosaic. It’s all part of the beautiful masterpiece that God has woven, the tapestry where each strand is a different hue but they come together to form a entirely unique creation. Some threads might be brighter than others, but all are equally as important; pull one thread out and the entire work unravels.

I don’t know if I’ll ever see that girl again but I appreciate her shadow that keeps me silent company as I dwell about the simple lesson that inspired this post. Next time, I will introduce myself properly.

For now though, you will remain in my mind as the girl who left the tag on her shirt and then went in public. Because who does that??

Novel-Writing Status Update #17

I’ve finished purple and made the incredibly difficult decision to cut out the color black. The concept of black doesn’t work with the idea that you have to search behind your eyelids (it’s black behind there all the time anyway) and at least I have two more characters that I can use whenever I want. So I only have 4 more chapters left. TO celebrate, I figured I would give a list of my chapter names:

1- Let my Soul Smile through my Heart and my Heart Smile through my Eyes
2- They Live in a Grey Twilight that Knows not Victory nor Defeat
3- All Colors are the Friends of their Neighbors and the Lovers of their Opposites
4- The Overcast Skies held the Color of Deadened Stones
5- In the Dark We are All the Same Color
6- The Color of Truth is Grey
7- It’s an art to live with pain and mix the light into grey
8- It would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with base notes
9- When you’re Green, you’re Growing
10- Keep a Green Tree in your Heart and Perhaps a Singing Bird will Come
11- It is not by the grey of the hair that one knows the age of the heart
12- When you’re blue, you’re indigo. Indigo. Indigoing. Indigone.
13- Everything changes when a man becomes purple
14- I wasn’t born to the Purple
15- White was a cold pale shade of understanding that seems to take all your hope away
16- God paints in many colors but he never paints so gorgeously as when he paints in white
17- Love is the only grey color that has any beauty to it
18- All Theory, my friend, is grey

Yes, to answer your question, they are all quotes and in the final draft, I will be including their names. For the sake of time and space however, I have left the names off for now. The working title of my story is: THe Colors on the Backs of my Eyelids.

Current word count: 45,274
Tomorrow’s goal: 48,343

Emotions aren’t covered by single words.

I’m in a mood.

Not sure what kind of mood, but my soul feels tired. If a soul could sigh, mine would’ve done so many times today. My burdens aren’t heavy, I’m not sleep-deprived, the sun kissed my face today while I read from my new book, and I’ve been productive with my chores and my writing. But a mellowness dims my enjoyment of the day and I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like I’m looking at the world through nostalgia-tinted glasses.

I miss how life used to be. Don’t we all? I miss when things were uncomplicated and I knew what I wanted out of this life and I was still young enough to believe that I could get all that I wanted. I miss strutting through the halls in high school and knowing all the answers. I miss when friends were true friends and you called them up on the weekends to go to Wal-mart and buy a container of raw cookie dough so you could eat it as we talked about everything else. I miss when I was young enough to sleep on a trampoline under the stars with no concern for bugs and old enough to be able to name a few of the constellations. I miss when I could sing sad songs because I thought they were pretty and I could twirl around in a dress in tune with the melody, completely innocent as to what the lyrics meant.

I’ve really enjoyed this whole novel-writing month, but writers carry a terrible burden with them. They know people and they can look at life in a much different way than others do. The good writers can snag a reader with a few, well-paced words that could wring an emotional connection from anyone, even a professional assassin. Mediocre writers can at least explain to a reader what they feel inside. Even bad writers can wrench a reaction from inside themselves. I don’t know that category I fall into but somehow the emotions hit me with more force than they used to and I’m unsure about how to deal with it.

I’m used to people telling me that my face is hard and stony, that I build walls around every living piece of me, that I need to let someone in to soften my heart and feel something. I’m used to the robotic facade that display to the world. I’m used to feeling everything, but in moderation. Addicted to my own personal version of Novacaine, I ignored the sensations that would pop up and numbed myself to the full spectrum of human emotion.

But now I feel. Maybe I’m enduring the withdrawal symptoms. Maybe I dislike change. Maybe it’s like shaking your foot awake after it’s fallen asleep. Whatever it may be, I don’t like it.

Maybe this mood I’m in is pouting.

Maybe I’m lonely and just need chocolate.

Maybe it’s just a mood.

Please don’t ask a question I don’t know the answer to.

Three things:

1) My dog can’t handle these long nights. I lull her to sleep with the clack of the keys but whenever I shift in my chair, sneeze or move in general, she freaks out and barks. As much as I love dogs, writers should probably own cats. Except a cat would sit on my keyboard and that would be problematic. So maybe writers should just own fish. Don’t tell my puppy that I’m having adulterous thoughts!

2) I really want to read what I have written. I haven’t read anything but the first chapter so far and I’m beginning to wonder. Curiosity burns inside me whenever I get a glimpse of a sentence that I have written whenever I scroll up. I wonder if it’s good. I wonder if other people will think it’s any good. I wonder if other people will even read it.

3) I can’t decide what kind of person I am. I’m a full-time nanny for two little boys and they were talking today about the type of girlfriend that they want. When I added by two cents into the conversation, they were amazed to find out that I had a boyfriend at one point (they only saw me as the permanent playmate and the food server). When they asked why I broke up with him, I gave a simplified, child version and they accepted it and the older one even agreed with me! Then they asked why I was single and I gave that explanation and the younger one agreed with me!

After this encounter, I was thinking as I began to wash the lunch dishes. I’ve heard it said that girls are one of three types: single, girlfriend, or wife. I have no experience in the wife department, but I would like to think that I would be a good wife. I mean, I nanny so I’m good with kids and I’m a great cook. That’s gotta earn me some brownie points somewhere? And I am a confident single person who isn’t desperate to find another man. Which means I still have my dignity and my independence. As a girlfriend, I’d like to think I’m great. I mean, yeah I have high expectations but any guy that I would think of dating would naturally also have high expectations (see previous economist post). Plus, I’m a great cuddler. But which type am I the best at?

I have no idea.

As great as it is to be single, I do have those moments when I miss being part of a couple. And when I was in a relationship, there were moments when I wished I could share the same house as him so I could see him more than once every few months (long-distance is terrible — but a decent way to make sure that the love is strong). But there was always that part of me that enjoyed my independence. I can’t decide who exactly I’m supposed to be, but I hope that I’ll be able to figure it out. Then, I can move on to solve other issues like world peace or child labor laws.

But until then, I am sure of one thing. I have no idea what kind of person I am.

Novel-Writing Status Update #16

Remember how I said that it wouldn’t be hard to stick to the schedule. I lied. But not intentionally. When I first said those words, I meant it and I fully intended to write and remain on schedule. But that was before I got a second job and I wasn’t getting home till 11 at night and working 12 hour days.

I haven’t even finished the color purple yet. I’ve started the second half but I’m about 2000 words from completion. In addition to that, my computer is releasing hot air like a travelling balloon and running super slow right now. Even my coffitivity app won’t run without pausing. And I have a book propping up my computer so it can properly vent but have you ever tried typing on a tilted keyboard?? Next to impossible, I tell you!

Such obstacles would distract anyone else from completing their duty as a writer — but me? Never. I shall press on, persevere, continue to reach my prize! My sarcasm is sharpened and my metaphors are at the height of their glory! My wit is hardly at it’s end and my fingers are honed to strike. And the melodrama continues…

Current word count: 43,101
Tomorrows Goal: 46,676

Novel-Writing Status Update #15

I haven’t updated about the novel in awhile. The last time I was starting green, is that correct? And now I come to you with the news that I have just finished blue and I’m on page 73. With only 6 days left, my schedule is going to look like this:
6/25 – finish part 1 of purple and 1/2 part 2 of purple
6/26 – finish purple and part 1 of black
6/27 – finish black and part 1 of white
6/28 – finish white and part 1 of grey
6/29 – finish grey and begin ending
6/30 – finish ending and post on the blog and Facebook about my great accomplishment, followed by a few minutes of sobbing since my fingers hurt from so much typing

I don’t think I’ll have a hard time sticking to the schedule. This way, I won’t have to worry about word counts and I will be satisfied by completing sections of the book instead.

Word Count: 37,441
Tomorrow’s Goal: 40,008

One more weird fact before I end this post: my brain food for this week is tortilla chips and sweet onion salsa. I have eaten 2 family-size bags of chips and finished 1 1/2 jars of salsa. I’m sure that’s healthy…right??

With the economy, it’s all about common cents.

I would make a great economist.

No, really. My principle is as follows: only invest in something that will result in a profit.

It’s quite simple. You could even call it my life motto. In financial situations, I usually keep it pretty safe and only put my money into endeavors that will guarantee (at least 90% of the time) a return on my investment. In my hobbies, I continually put time into those actions and practice the basics over and over in order to get a better result. In my relationships, I will put forth my energy and effort into strengthening the friendship or romance and I hope to see such effort mirrored in the way those special people treat me. I give a lot to gain a lot.

When I don’t receive the return that I expect, I will usually begin to analyze the situation. Is there something wrong on my end? If so, what can I do to fix it? And if the problem lies with something that is out of my control, is it a one time deal? Or do I foresee this situation becoming a continuing issue?

In the recent past, I have noticed some areas where my returns aren’t nearly equal to the investment that I put it — mostly in my relationships, both friendly and otherwise. Those who know me well, know that I am extremely loyal, determined, and stubborn. And I never. Give. Up. It’s simply not in my nature. If I call you a friend once, there’s a good chance that you will always be my friend. Unless, of course, you stop putting forth energy into maintaining the relationship and I find that I am the one shouldering most of the burden. That’s a waste and I will stop that poor investment.

It is important to mention that I am not impulsive. I do not trip over my emotions when making decisions, even if I am quick at making those decisions. I will always give that circumstance a second chance before withdrawing any investment. Sometimes, even a third or a fourth chance. Do not assume, for one second, that I am easily taken advantage of. I have enough respect for myself to know that if you don’t want to be in my life, there’s nothing I can do to make you stay. Nor do I want you to. Stand up and give some effort or sit down and allow someone else to take your place. I don’t need negative energy in my life to drain me.

So, dear friend of mine, when you stop talking to me for months at a time and text me once to complain that I never talk to you, when you ask for my advice and then scorn it so that you can do the opposite, when you insult me to my face about my life choices and then demand that I accept yours, when I support one decision wholeheartedly and you claim that I am not on your side, when you cry on my shoulder about your past and then scream at me for judging you when I try to comfort you, when you are immature enough to post a rant on Facebook when I tell you how I really feel, when you would prefer me to sugarcoat everything so that you wear blinders to the truth, don’t expect me to continue to invest in your train wreck of a life. It’s exhausting to give energy and pour time into something that continually demands more than you can give. And honey, if you think that you can tell me that I was rude and stupid for closing a door in my life in order to open another, think again.

That’s what a true friend is. I was a true friend until it become one-sided. You don’t deserve any more of me because you didn’t give me any of yourself. You don’t get to spend any more time with me because you wouldn’t make the effort to move your schedule around unimportant things. You won’t receive any more effort from me because you never returned the favor. You were a poor investment.

And I would be an excellent economist.

When you get older, you don’t lose all the ages you have been.

I didn’t write today. I didn’t want to. No, it wasn’t the responsible thing to do. Yes, I realize that I will be really behind tomorrow. No, I wasn’t feeling motivated or inspired. And yes, I probably will regret that decision tomorrow night at 5 p.m. when my fingers are flying across the keys to watch black mediocre words pop on the screen just in order to make up for one night of laziness. But that doesn’t really bother me right now.

I’m not sure what bothers me right now. There aren’t words to describe it. It doesn’t mean that I won’t try, though.

Do you ever get that feeling when you look forward at the years stretching before you and you just get so overwhelmed by the panoramic view because you really have no idea what’s going to fill that space between now and then? Or do you ever realize that you’ve only spent 19 years on this planet but your soul feels like it bears the weight of 29,200 days? Or do you ever have those moments when you think about everything leading up to this moment in your life and you wonder if anything could have changed to result in a different outcome? For example, what if one little choice that you thought meant next to nothing was the deciding factor in your life that results in that face staring at you in the mirror? And the funny thing is, when you look in the mirror and you see what kind of person you’ve become, you don’t even recognize them.

Have you ever had that feeling?

I watch other people my age act much younger than I do and I begin to wonder: did they make the wrong choices? Or did I? Why can they laugh that loud and not feel embarrassed? They do not struggle with the weight of the burdens on their soul; yet, haven’t they had just as many days as me, if not more? The question niggles in the back of my mind, wondering if it was I who chose a different path, or they. I do not fit in with those younger than I for they only see me as the domineering, older authority or else, an old-fashioned judge who doesn’t fit in with the times anymore — despite the fact that my generation is creating these times. I do not fit in with those my age for I act much older than the number of candles on my birthday cake would imply. I do not fit in with the older crowd who claims that I am foolish in my youthful wisdom.

Friendship isn’t as easy as it was when we were children. When we were blessed with naivety, we assumed that anyone in a 5-foot radius was a friend and that we must interact with them. But now, everyone in a 5-foot radius is probably a stranger and I learned my lesson well when my mother told me not to speak to strangers. Small talk has become intimacy and friend requests are status symbol. Look how many people want access to the profile that I hide behind, we cry. As we get older, we realize that real friendship takes more effort than we are willing to put in and we settle for the acquaintanceship that one click of a mouse brings. We live far away? I don’t want to call you to see how you’re doing…but a status update seems easy. You’re busy for the summer and can’t come out to see me? No problem, share some pictures online and it will seem like I’m there when I scroll through. This isn’t friendship and the definition is so varied between the X, Y, and Z generations that mine no longer fits in any of them.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me alone in the middle of the night, typing my twisting map on a computer screen and wondering if I will ever be able to decipher the contents enough to discover the place where I can truly find myself. It may be lonely here, but I have made friends with the hopes that whisper encouragement in my ear and suggest that someone actually reads this, that someone on the far sides of cyberspace understands even the slightest bit about what I am saying, that someone out there is much too old and much too young at the same time.

To that someone, I say hello. All ages welcome.