Although I must admit, I considered it again. I keep remembering Sleepless in Seattle, when Meg Ryan says, “It’s a sign.” Yep. It’s a sign. I’ve downloaded software to write my novel, read about six books on how to write a novel. No, none of them really fit what I meant to do. But neither did the genre categories that NaNoWriMo offered me.
That’s OK. I don’t have to work at getting outside the box, I AM outside the box. I think I’m getting used to it. I probably like it out here, or I would have found my way in before now. Being different means you’re probably not too popular at parties with cocktail conversation, but over the years I’ve learned to balance that out by vivid and colorful conversations with myself.
So when Gail called on Thursday, to ask why we weren’t doing Halloween this year, Arnold (husband) and I were surprised. We hadn’t received an invitation. So we thought they had decided to not have their neighborhood party anymore.
Since I was considering running away anyway, that was OK. I could practice with the NaNoWriMo software. That was important. Despite having read the entire manual for two different sets of novel and screen writing software, I still hadn’t figured out how to ask either set how on earth I was to get a fresh sheet of composition paper and fresh note cards to start writing. Both software programs told me in detail how to use the note cards, how to write the outline, how to create a list of characters, but neither one told me how I ask the computer “May I have a scratch pad? May I have a note card? May I have the composition screen, with a fresh sheet instead of your notes?”
Granted, all this was happening with a nagging suspicion that I should just run away. But Gail’s call just added more to do. Now, of course we had to do Halloween. And since we thought they weren’t having Trick or Treat this year, I hadn’t done all the handmades I usually give the children for treats.
Way back when I was planning the handmade gifts, I had done a wonderful crochet piece on Catrina of Day of the Dead fame. Mexican culture celebrates the dead so differentlyfrom our preoccupation with fear.
We focus on vampires and Frankensteins and serial killers and werewolves. Even some of the children come as goblins and witches and scary, scary other-worldly creatures.
Mexican culture, on the other hand , focuses on skeletons and skulls and sugar skulls, and pictures of their family and friends, who return on the first day of November 1st to celebrate and honor the happy lives they lived.
“Boo” and “Trick or Treat” are not part of the Day of the Dead tradition in Mexico. Instead, picnics are held at the cemeteries, with food included for the Dead as well as the living, and with joy and dancing by all. And, marigolds, the traditional flower for this celebration, are strewn everywhere.
With so little time left to prepare for so many, I fell back on my plans to have all our public-sphere conversations with neighbors and friends summarized in story form for out meetings. I know that Steph would like to adopt the habit of handmades for gifts instead of just candy for “treats.” So would Susan. I’d already sent them the pdf versions of two of these picture/stories. But they hadn’t all successfully arrived.
Ever practical, and knowing that some of my CSUDH students had found this blog, I decided that if I uploaded the pdf forms here, all of you who had found JeannieSpace would be able to take these images and stories down and use them with your own friends and families. This blog is under Creative Commons, as is our website. So download and enjoy them.
The first file I created To Egg or Not. It’s my drawing, my writing, so you may use it (though not for sale without permission, copy it, and, as long as you keep it free under a Creative Commons Copyright, alter it to be what you’d like it to be.
To Egg or Not
and it was summer
and the egg was chicken
and the chicken was . . .
or did we kill it?
This one is not for the very young. Our college students were talking about the Dada art movement after the First World War. The art reflected the insanity of the culture that artists found themselves in at the end of the First World War. How ironic that we find a similar culture of craziness in this human-caused global depression in 2011.
Jeannie the Red Jay
- NaNoWriMo ’11 Dawns (wordobsession.net)
- A Writer’s Notebook: NaNoWriMo table of contents (snoekbrown.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo approachs. I might be a little terrified. (lemoncity.wordpress.com)
- It’s NaNoWriMo time… (jamesgardneruk.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo Starting Soon – will you write an Historical Novel (althistfiction.com)
- Art not permanent by artists who seek something more authentic
- Marigold by Eugenia W. Collier of SPARC.