Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update: Across the Finish Line

Well, another year, another novel. Yep, that's right. I am done. As of yesterday afternoon I crossed 50,000 words and kept right on sailing. After verifying my word count I wound up with 52,843 total words. Like I mentioned yesterday, it is largely crap; if I were to edit it down, I doubt I would have half as many words. But it is done.

I will be honest: I didn't think I had it in me, not this year.

Now I know I do. Or did. Thank you all for your thoughts and well-wishes you sent my way over the past month, my friends and readers. Thanks for all your words of support. I felt them keenly and they helped immensely. I could not have done it without you.

Most importantly, I could not have done it without the support of my LW and the Horde. They tolerated my long hours staring into space interrupted by frantic typing and breathy mutterings. I am sure at times they were certain I was hearing the " a low, dull, quick sound --much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton," especially when I would "pace...the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury...."*

They no doubt fancied me mad.

I am mad no longer. At least, not like I was, and no more mad than usual.

I am myself again, gentle readers...and ready for a long nap this weekend. Let us all get there in safety and sanity, eh? God bless you all.

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*The Tell-Tale Heart, with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update: Home Stretch

This is it. The light at the end of the tunnel is blinding. The finish line looms large. The fat lady is doing her "mi-mi-mi"-style warm-ups.

The end of the month is here.

And with it, the end of NaNoWriMo 2011.

Thank Heavens.

This year was tough. Illness, financial concerns, stress at work, and Horde-related stuff all conspired against me. I think my LW gave in a couple weeks ago. Myself? I've been using every spare minute at home, work, and church jotting down thoughts and then transferring to digital media when I had the chance.

I am almost there. I mean it: as of this moment, I am 615 words away from 50K.

This one surely will not win any awards. I do not think it will ever see the light of day again. It is crap, filled with utter crap. It has every spare mental jot and written tittle that I could muster this past 28 days.

It may be bad, but it is done. Almost. "Will be done" is more accurate, I suppose. In the process, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned that I have forgotten an awful lot about creative writing in the past eleven months. I have learned that Law School killed more of my imagination and creativity than I supposed, not to mention the actual practice of law and client-relations. I have also learned a lot about my own motivations, my own psyche, and my resilience. I have learned a lot about the weakness of the flesh, too, and how physical ailments can have such a drastic influence on the abilities and functions of one's mental -- and yes -- spiritual self.

In less than 36 hours, it will all be over. I will have won out.

And then I can rest easy for eleven months.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Constructive Thoughts: Gratitude

I really dislike Thanksgiving.

Oh, please do not get me wrong: My dislike stems from some childhood issues with the actual day itself. I love the turkey (dry) and all the fixings. I love the idea of Thanksgiving. And I realize the importance of that idea. In fact, I was fairly slapped across the face this weekend after moaning and complaining about my 'illnesses' and my various temporal plights for the past week.

In my studies over the weekend, I came across a little gem about gratitude from President Ezra Taft Benson that really struck home to me.

The Prophet Joseph Smith is reported to have said that one of the greatest sins for which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty would be ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a serious sin. There’s a great tendency for us in our prayers to ask for additional blessings. Sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received....

We need to be more grateful. It’s one of the marks of strong character, to have a feeling of thanksgiving and gratitude for blessings that are ours. We need more of that spirit in our homes, in our daily associations, in church, everywhere. It’s so easy to cultivate the spirit of appreciation....

I hope we can be happy where we are, be grateful for our blessings—now, here—accept the challenge that is ours and make the most of it, and not be envious of others....

Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth. It is in the depths, not at the pinnacle of success, where men and women learn the lessons that help to make them strong. The hour of a man’s success is his greatest danger. It sometimes takes reverses to develop us into strong, courageous characters.

When reverses come, we need the Church and the gospel all the more. I’m satisfied that it’s possible for men and women who have testimonies of the divinity of this work to meet any possible reversal and still keep their spirit sweet and their faith strong....

Yes, with the help of our Heavenly Father and His blessings, we can meet every reversal that can possibly come. And every reversal can be turned to our benefit and blessing and will make us stronger, more courageous, more godlike.
God help us to be grateful for our blessings and never to be guilty of the sin of ingratitude.
Ezra Taft Benson, "All This and the Gospel Too," New Era, Nov. 1991, 4

And then I was reminded by the Psalmist,
Psalm 34
1 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9 O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
22 The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
All this is to say, simply, in the hubbub of the coming week, amid the turkey, the cranberries, the football games, and the ridiculous midnight sales, remember that we--every single one of us--has a heck of a lot for which we need to be grateful.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Constructive Thoughts: A Realization

Long-time readers will know that I have a habit of being negative. I am negative about my office, my job, my career, the people that fill the town around me, politics, and so forth.

Today I came to a realization. I had an epiphany.

I am fine.

Sure, my health is a mess and the pain from the past week has resulted in some pretty weird and frightening dreams/hallucinations/phantasmagories. Nothing much has changed in my employment or career and it does not appear likely that anything will.

But still, I am fine.

In fact, I'm better than fine.

Wealth would be great. Fame? Meh, I find that I do not desire it much any more. There is a whole pile of worldly stuff that I once thought (and probably will again) would make my life "better." Perfect health would be a dream beyond a dream.

But you know what?

I already have everything I need or want.

I live in an average-sized house in a clean neighborhood. My yard may be somewhat unkempt and the rabbit cages may need a bit of cleaning. My neighbor's grass may be greener and their rose-bushes more prize-winning. But you know what?

In that house lives a loving wife and beautiful children who clamber over one another to hug and greet me when I stagger in from a long day.

And despite the Horde's clamor -- or maybe, in part, because of it -- my home is a peaceful, quiet refuge from the world.

That house has heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. There is a sound roof, which keeps off the rain and snow. There is sufficient to eat and all within are clothed.

I may not have everything the world says I need or want. I will likely never attain that status.

In truth, however.... I find that I have it all.

And for it all, I am eternally grateful.

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Milestone!

I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the passage of a milestone, of sorts.

Ten days ago my follower-ship numbers for this blog passed 60! Welcome and greetings to #61: Caorthine!

To Caorthine and all the 60 others who have stumbled upon my corner of the blogosphere, seen something they've liked, and taken a moment to click "Follow"--Welcome and Thank You.

To all my followers, and any future readers: Feel free to leave comments as you wish. I love to hear from you and to know there are people out there reading my opinions.

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NaNoWriMo Update: Prayers Needed

Curse Election Day.

I must have picked something up while working at the polls, because for the last eight days I've been as sick as a dog, with little sign of it letting up. Dizziness, nausea, headaches, random pains and aches. I have had the lot. Most of the symptoms have kept me from sitting for long periods at the computer, or even with a pad of paper and pencil in hand.

I am therefore over 1 week behind in my NaNoWriMo attempt for 2011. That's 13,336 words (1,667 per day at 8 days).

I hope to be able to be functioning at a level high enough to type for longer than a few minutes at a time. Sooner, rather than later.

You know, before the numbers get too overwhelming to tackle.

Oh yeah, we are at mid-month. Happy happy joy joy.

To all my readers-- Please: light a candle for me; say a prayer; send good karma my way. In whatever way your particular practices may preach, I would dearly love all the support I can get.

I hate giving up.

That, and I would really like to throw off the gomboo.

EDIT: According to the stats at NaNoWriMo.org, at this rate I'll finish by December 25, 2011. Or, I'll have to write 2,300+ words per day to finish on time.

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