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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I've never done NaNoWriMo before. I'm a poet. Once in awhile I bust out a short-short story and send it off to Quick Fiction and feel fine when I get my rejection letter because, after all, I'm a poet. (Though I actually feel fine getting rejection letters from poetry journals, too, since the chances of getting published are so astronomically small that I expect to get rejected, and only really react on the rare occasion a poem is accepted, or if I get that strange and wonderful thing, the form rejection letter with a bit of encouraging editor ink: "No way in hell will we publish this, but it was more interesting than most of our slush. Keep trying! Send us something else in nine months!")

This year, though, I'm doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those unfamiliar with the acronym - or is it an abbrevianym?) because I got the bright idea to make my Creative Writing students do it. (I told them they can adapt the challenge to whatever form inspires them, which began a plethora of exciting acronymizing - National Short Story Collection Writing Month = NaShoStoWriMo, National Poetry Collection Writing Month = NaPoCoWriMo, and National Graphic Novel Writing Month = NaGraNoWriMo). Then one of them said "Are you going to write with us?" And what else could I say but "Of course."

So my version of NaNoWriMo is National Memoir Writing Month (NaMeWriMo, appropriately enough), where I am grappling with the enigma of my father and my relationship with him, trying to figure out how the mensch I adored so much at ten turned into the prick I finally had to cut off all ties with for several years at thirty. Actually, the real enigma is the reality that these two dudes are the same dude, at least in many ways. It will be interesting to share some of this with my students, given that I often use stories of the more innocent and hilarious aspects of my dad's insanity to amuse and inspire my students. But I never go to the dark places in my dad's personality, and to write a memoir, this I must do. I'll leave out some stuff. The porn, definitely. The copious quantities of midwestern weed, probably.

I'll let you know how it goes.

[Oh, and for those who are curious, a postscript to the lice thing: The lice thing was a PAIN in the ASS. They returned three times with Roo which was the worst, because she was the family member least able to hold still and deal with the treatment (or understand why we kept torturing her). As I've explained to several people who've asked why lice seem like such a bigger deal and a thornier problem than when we were kids: it's so bad now b/c lice have become superbugs, so the usual pesticide treatment (active ingredient: permethrin) is 50% effective or less. We ended up trying that (failure), then a horrible home remedy with Cetaphil cleanser (smelled nauseating and also failed on Roo). The thing that finally worked (and the one that was actually the least toxic) is "Licefreee," essentially a saline gel that dessicates the little fuckers and their eggs. I hope we're done with it, but the whole thing was such a fucking pain. God spare you from being lousy with lice.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with the NaMeWriMo. Re: the porn thing - a friend of a friend went to clean out his recently deceased father's house. Inside: 2000 porn DVDs! At $30 a pop, this would amount to $60K spent on this stuff. He always wondered why his dad didn't want to move to a smaller place...

- e

11:58 PM  
Blogger Lucky Star said...

Oh, good luck, good luck!!! How's it going so far? I just signed up to participate this week. I did it in 2002 and completed it, but...I didn't have a job or 3 college classes and 2 full-time step kids, just my two little knows if I'll make it, but I'm working on it and that's what counts!

I absolutely love that you are involving your Creative Writing students!! Such a great exercise.
I look forward to reading your post about how it went, when it's over...

7:20 AM  
Blogger Alphabettingham Post said...

I want to NaMeWriMo November '10. Will you? Know of others? I'd love to see a group form. Denise Cottingham, poet, journal keeper..., NeecerNin on twitter..

3:58 AM  

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