The Monster Mash (Up)

ETA: Go vote tomorrow.  Seriously.  I don’t care for whom you vote (well, yes I do, but it’s still your choice, damn it)–just vote.

This is a mash-up post of all the things floating in my head.  I am kinda tossing them all in one entry because I can.

First of all, I am doing NaNoWriMo again this year.  I have done it for the past three years, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it again.  Why?  Well, the goal of it is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.  As y’all know, writing a lot of words is NOT a problem for me.  Hell, I average 2,500 words in one blog entry.  For the past three NaNoWriMos (and I’ve won all three, despite what their site says, and no, I’m not OCD about it, not at all), I hit the 50,000 words mark around the tenth day of the month.  I usually don’t talk about it with other people doing NaNoWriMo because I know how it sounds.  NaNoWriMo has been good for me, though, because it encouraged (OK, forced, but that’s just because of my own OCD) me to write every day for a month.

However, as to the main goal of NaNoWriMo, it’s not an accomplishment for me if it’s something I can do easily.  That’s why I debated this year as to whether I would do NaNoWriMo again or not.  Yes, it’s a good motivator, but if ultimately it doesn’t push me to the next step (publishing), then it’s really basically a masturbatory exercise for me.  Now, while I have nothing against masturbation (believe you me), in this case, it’s not particularly productive.

I talked with friends about it.  I mused about it.  I had decided not to do it this year.  It really felt like just a way to be doing something for the sake of doing something.  Then, I thought, what if I changed the goal?  Just because the stated purpose is to reach a certain word count, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a different goal–as long as I meet the stated one, of course.

So.  This year’s personal goal for NaNoWriMo is to have a publishable novel by the end of the month.  In the past, I have written novels during the month, only to shove them in a metaphorical drawer and not submit them for publication.  I still may at some point, but it’s self-defeating to write them and then just let them sit.  I have done that with many works I’ve written, which means I’m only engaging in half the activity of writing–the creative and fun half (the actual writing).  Next step is to submit and/or self-publish.

By the way, I just found out that I did not place in the top 25 for the August Short Story contest for Glimmer Train.  I didn’t think they would like that particular piece, but it stung, anyway.  I just submitted (yesterday) my piece for the October contest on Family Matters because that is one subject in which I have tons of knowledge.  It’s still a fiction contest, but it’s allowed to have nonfiction roots.  I did most of the initial writing by longhand in a notebook given to me by Gregory, and I discovered that I really missed writing by longhand.  I type over a hundred words a minute, and I edit as I go.  So, I don’t get to see the cross-outs and the scribbles in the margins (I’m an inveterate margin-scribbler.  I hate white space on a piece of paper) and the inserts when I type.  There is something sterile about typing.  Don’t get me wrong–typing will remain the primary way I write, but I think I’ll go back to longhand from time to time.

Anyway, as I may have mentioned, I hold Glimmer Train in high esteem, partly because it’s a quintessential literary journal.  Plus, it’s just damn good.  However, it is not my style at all (or, I should say, my style does not fit in with the journal at all), so I’m starting to question my determination to be published in it.  I think, somewhere deep inside, I feel like I’ll be validated as a writer if such a prestigious literary journal publishes a story of mine or at least places it in the top 25.

I think, though, that’s a self-defeating proposition.  I mean, I choose a literary journal which is pretty much diametrically opposite of how I write, and then I consider myself a failure if I don’t get published by them.  I probably will continue submitting to their contests, but I shouldn’t count on them to tell me my writing is good.

Anyway, back to NaNoWriMo.  Publishable novel by the end of the month.  That’s the goal.  I have no idea about what I’m going to write, but I will figure it out once I start writing (which will be in an hour or two).  I always have stories in my head, so plucking one out and writing about it is never a problem.  (Famous last words, I suppose).

Moving on.  I went to a Halloween party on Saturday at Choolie’s place.  I was thinking of being Lady Deathstrike or a vampire or something like that.  Kel said it was a bit stereotypical and that I should be something I never would be in real life.  I thought she had a good point, so I finally decided on being a fifties housewife.  However, I had to put a twist on it, so I was the foulmouthed fifties housewife.  I got my shit together, but it was a comedy of errors beforehand.  First, the dress I bought online was not elastic on the top, so I had a mono-boob.  This is not a good look, and it isn’t easy to breathe with one’s breasts squashed to one’s breastplate.  The cost of alteration would have been about as much as the dress, so I decided to hunt around for a different dress.  And, I still needed shoes.

Then, I get a note from the eBayer from whom I purchased my apron that her cat had shredded it.  Oh no!  I ordered another one, but I did not receive it in time for the party.  I found an actual housedress that was perfect, but the ties had been cut off.  I thought, “It can’t be that hard to sew ties back on.”  It wasn’t, but then I realized they were inner ties, which mean I had to sew on a hook on the other side.  Mind you, I was sewing Friday night.  I didn’t want to have to run to a fabrics store to buy a goddamn hook.  Fortunately, I had some in the house, so I was able to sew that on as well.  I was ridiculously pleased with myself for figuring out what needed to be done and doing it.  There was plenty of room for my epic rack, and if the replacement apron didn’t show up (which it didn’t), the dress itself was fussy enough to be workable.

Saturday, I had a good Taiji class in the afternoon, but meditation triggered a torrent of sadness.  I wasn’t in the mood to party, but I tried to put the sadness aside as I watched some college football and snoozed.  When I woke up, I still wasn’t in the mood to party, but I rarely am.

I started with my hair.  I stripped off my shirt and put on the bra I was wearing to the party.  I knew there was no way I would be able to get a shirt off over the ‘do I was creating.  Oh, and I nudged up the thermostat from 62 degrees to 65 degrees.  I got so hot ratting my hair, though, that I turned it back down before I was finished.  I sectioned my hair, leaving a ponytail in the back, a la Cindy Wilson from the B52s.  That part was staying down.  Then, I bent over and started ratting the hell out of my hair, starting from the back.  As I ratted, I added bobby pins and hairspray.  And more bobby pins.  And more hairspray.  Then, I ratted some more.  And added more bobby pins and more hairspray.  I feel guilty for how much of the ozone layer I destroyed doing my hair.  I used more hairspray in one night than I have in the past twenty years.

Anyway, after an hour, it was done.  It was monstrous, huge, and a sight to behold.  Really, it was the hit of the party with people marveling over it.  As I was driving to the party, I kept bonking it on the top of the inside of my car because I forgot how high it was.  People were very impressed that it was my real hair.  Once I was done creating the beehive from hell, I went to work on my makeup.  One problem–the glue tube that came with the false eyelashes wouldn’t open.  Once I got it open (do not ask how), I found out that the glue was dried out.  I was disgruntled, but I put it aside and applied the mascara directly to my own sparse eyelashes instead.  Once I was done with the full face of makeup (haven’t done that in twenty years, either), I got dressed.

I put on the dress (open in back, so no pulling over the head) and nylons, careful not to snag them.  I threw my heels in a bag, along with a rolling pin and my martini glass.  I made up a Bayer’s aspirin bottle to look like a Valium bottle.  On the back, I added this:  Mother’s Little Helper.  Take as many as fucking needed.  I filled the bottle with Tic Tacs (thanks, Choolie, for that suggestion) and threw the bottle into my dark brown clutch purse–the same color as my pointy-toe heels.  I also threw in my cat-eye glasses (had to wear my real ones to drive), my cigarette case holding unfiltered Pall Malls, and my cigarette holder.

I pulled on my lace gloves, and I thought I was ready to go.  I didn’t remember until about the third hour of the party that I had forgotten my pearl set (earrings, necklace, and bracelet), which really bummed me out.  Regardless, the party was great fun.  Choolie was an escaped insane asylum mental patient with a machete, but she’s better now!, and she had made lots of tasty dishes.  As always, she was an attentive hostess who did her utmost to make sure her guests were having a good time.  Said guests put tons of effort and thought into their costumes, and I was tickled by the zombie teabagger, the floppy disk, Jean Harlow, along with many others.   However, I started to feel sad again during the third hour, so I took off fairly early (midnight-thirty) so I would not infect anyone else with my blue mood.

It took me longer to undo my hair than it did to create it.  In addition, I had shut the bathroom door while I was gone because I did not want the cats in the bathroom breathing the noxious fumes.  So, I opened the door and turned on the fan when I got home.  And, I set off the CO monitor.  I had to open the sliding door and many windows in order to literally clear the air.

Final note on party:  Choolie has a new cat who is tiny, a dilute tortie, and who did so well at the party.  She wandered among the people, allowing everyone to love her up.  She didn’t mind being held, and she sniffed around curiously without showing any fear.  She’s a doll.

And, last week I went to visit Kel and the family.  It was a whirlwind of activity, starting with a soccer game.  Soccer Boy did not start, but he got to play a big portion of the second half, and our team won.  It was so much fun to sit on the sidelines with Irish Dancer and Punk Girl, talking about everything from relationships to Othello to Irish dancing and whatever else was on our minds.  Both the girls are bright, inquisitive, and great conversationalists.  We had a blast giggling and gabbing (we tried to mind-warp the coach into putting Soccer Boy into the game) as Geocacher (Kel’s hubby) paced the sidelines and Kel took photos (she’s the team photographer).

Friday, Kel and I hung out at the house (she had to finish up some sewing on Irish Dancer’s competition dress)  until it was time to pick up Soccer Boy from school.  We swung over to Duke Hospital to visit Kel’s mom, and then we dropped Soccer Boy back off at school for his homecoming football game before grabbing shakes and burgers on the way home.  Friday night was more Kel sewing and me watching the game (FTFY!) while chatting with various members of the family.

Then, Saturday was Irish Dancer’s big day.  The feis was two hours away, and Kel did her makeup in the car.  We stopped for fast food, but we pretty much zipped to the feis.  Now, I have to admit a failing here.  I was so excited to see Irish Dancer dance (the competitions can’t be videotaped) that I completely forgot to think about the circumstances.  What do I mean?  This.  I hate noise, crowds, and bright lights.  I didn’t think about the fact that a dance competition would have all three.  I started freaking out, and had I prepped myself for it, I could have handled it better.  I wore my earplugs and my sunglasses some of the time, which helped, but I didn’t have any Excedrin, which didn’t.  In addition, because of so many bodies stuffed into such a limited space, it was very hot, too.  As we all know, I don’t do well in hot.

The other thing was that the Irish Dancer had four competitions of around a minute and a half each.  That meant lots of waiting with little actual watching.  Sure, we had fun snarking on some of the dresses (the goal seemed to be as bright and clashing and sparkly as possible) and I got some quality time with Punk Girl, but I spent a lot of time fighting off the panic.  At one point, I went outside and plunked myself down on the grass to just chill.  It was cool outside, and I needed the escape.  I texted Kel so she wouldn’t think I’d completely disappeared, and then I tried to relax.

I was disappointed in myself for not thinking of this potential problem.  I am OCD woman, for god’s sake.  You would think that I would have come up with this contingency.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching Irish Dancer compete (she placed second, third, and fifth in three of her four competitions.  I’m so proud of her!), however, which was the main reason I was there.  She’s quite a bit taller than most of her competitors, so she was literally head and shoulders above them.  Kel had made Irish Dancer’s costume herself because Irish Dancer isn’t into bling or sequins or lace (thank god).  She looked beautiful and confident, and she was good.  I am glad I finally got to see her compete.

Sunday, we went to visit Kel’s mom again, had lunch with Rose (Kel’s sister), then went back home.  Rose’s son stopped by to say hey, and we just chilled and watched the games.  My team, of course, lost, while Kel’s team won.

Monday, it was back on the plane and back to Minnesota.  Another whirlwind adventure with the family of Kel.  Thanks for housing me, girl, and for showing me a good time yet again.

That’s pretty much all I have to say at this time.  Since I am doing NaNoWriMo (albeit in my own way), my blogging will be sporadic (not that it already isn’t).  In addition, I have a few other things percolating (I am not at the liberty to talk about them), which will cut further into my blogging time.  Just a head’s up for y’all.

12 Responses to The Monster Mash (Up)

  1. I hope you post some pictures of your costume, i’ve been looking forward to seeing the foulmouthed 50’s housewife for WEEKS now 🙂

  2. Hi, Carrie! Welcome to my blog, and thank you for being so enthusiastic. The minute I get the pics from Choolie, I will be posting them. You will be AMAZED by the hair!

  3. Definitely need to see pics.

    Having you visit was a blast, as always, and this time it was cooler, too! =)

    The Ambassador’s team, however, is going to get creamed like corn tonight. We squeaked into the playoffs, but got seeded against the #3 team in the state. They have an undefeated season, and are pretty much going to fertilize the pitch with us tonight.

  4. Pics will be forthcoming. And, the weather was perfect in NC this time around. I know it was all your doing, so thanks!

    Soccer Boy: Aw, sucky. I will be rooting for him, anyway. Who knows? The Yanks didn’t win the World Series, so anything can happen!

  5. Hahaha! Thanks for making that connection. I am a witch, too! But not a Wiccan (at least not an orthodox one).

  6. So did you hit the 50k yet? 🙂

    Sounds like you had a fun weekend — hoping you have lots of great creative days ahead (as well as days to indulge the other half of your brain and do the logical and editing chores you’ll need to shape whatever you write into something you can publish)!

  7. It’s not the word count, Alex! But, I will get there this week. It’s kinda bumpy because I am trying a different style of writing than I normally do. I mean, it’s still dark and shit, but it’s…more complicated this time. Wish me luck!