Surviving the Middle Ages, the 21st Century, and my Government

I’m halfway home, surviving  my first novel.

It’s nothing like I thought it would be. No wonder I can’t remember anything about the last time I tried it, which must have been almost ten years ago.  It’s a blank altogether.

I signed up because I needed to reestablish my habit of production. NaNoWriMo goes for about 2000 a day, and I figured that’s about what I should be producing. Granted they say no editing. But I almost never edit, except in my head. So it seemed like a good way to establish the pattern I needed.

But a novel? That had never entered my imagination. I did know what behaviors my characters would engage in. And I knew that I had seen enough of such behaviors I should have no problem describing them. But novels have stories. Did I have a story to tell. I’m a teacher. For years and years I’ve lectured with stories. My students could always know I would go in a giant circle, exploring each event along the way, and then just as I ran out of time, and sometimes broke into a New York accent that could go nearly as fast as my French, everything would come together, and the moral was clear.

But I’d never considered actually writing a novel. Too much of a production. I think in lectures, not productions. Well, there was that one I started several years ago. I was murdered. And all the faculty in my department were suspects. It was great fun. Lived in a three-ring binder on top of my roll-top desk. I wonder what ever happened to it. Could I have worked on it in NaNoWriMo all those years ago. Nah, I would have remembered it then. Of course, I wrote Letters to My Daughter, to0. Don’t see that up there, either.  But I think I must have stopped that when she spent her junior year in Florence. I certainly didn’t use those letters for NaNoWriMo.  No, they were real letters, not a novel.

I decided to do this in mid October. So I checked the site to see if I should prepare anything. Read 5 books on novel writing. But we weren’t supposed to start until Nov. 1.  But they asked for a Novel title. A Title? How about a modern version of Aucassin and Nicolette. Was it like movies? Could you do a remake? Would that be like a redo? Maybe not. They asked for an excerpt. Now, really. How could I do an excerpt from a novel I hadn’t even thought up yet?

Then they had a forum on dares. Dares?  They dared us to make one of our characters a werewolf. Hello!  A werewolf. Well, actually, just a few weeks later, I discovered that Terrence, one of my characters really did look like a werewolf . So I made him one. So now I had a werewolf from the 21st century and a story that took place in the Middle Ages. Great. Then, on November 1st I started to write. I had to get the werewolf to the 12th century, and when one of my other characters tried to get him out of trouble by putting a spell on him, they all ended up being zapped  into the 12th  century into a tavern whose bartender was human, but that served mostly fairies.

Now I just know this is gonna be a great novel, cause I can’t wait to read the next chapter. Excuse me, I gotta go write.

Oh, the government, I forgot. Well, I’m 76 and the Republicans are going to destroy Social Security and Medicare, so I hope you’ll buy my novel when I discover that I can’t eat or get well anymore. Yeah, I thought it was only a Ponzi scheme when the people paying in now will have theirs paid by the people who pay in when they’re old.  I worked until I was 70 and paid all that time. But now Ryan says we can’t afford it because George Bush spent all our money proving to his Daddy that Saddam Hussein was a bad man. I think he said “evil.” Well, if he was as wrong as he was about the WMD’s I think I might write a novel about him next. Only fair, you gotta admit.

connect in peace,

Jennie the Red Jay


About Jeannie the Red Jay

Emeritus Professor, lawyer, physicist, mathematician, French teacher, Ph.D. in learning theory and philosophy. Artist, wife, mother, political activist. Teller of ever so many stories gathered along the way. Emeritus Prof. in sociology at California State University, Domingeuz Hills. Web Mistress for Dear Habermas in research study with Susan R. Takata of the University of Wisconsin, Parkside: Study of Social Network Analysis in Developing a Public Sphere in Local Communities, Real and Virtual.
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