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A fond farewell to November

November 29, 2009

My total NaNoWriMo word count stands at just shy of 10,000. That amount hasn’t changed since 5 November 2009. Nor is it likely to increase by 40,000 over the next day or so.

Unlike last year, I’m not upset, or regretful. November has been a very good month for me—professionally and personally—and that has contributed to my not completing NaNo this year.

Image used with kind permission, © 2009 Julia Anderson.

The anthology project I co-created with fellow Write Anything writer Jodi is almost ready for launch, and we’re already starting to plan the next edition. Another (non-writing) project, which I’m not yet allowed to talk about, is taking shape.

Truth be told, I’ve had one of my best month’s in a long, long time.

Of those 10,000 words, I’d like to share a few hundred. Here’s the first part of The Moon, the first short story I wrote for my NaNo project.

I can fly, but I’m struggling to keep off the ground, trying to force it, with everyone watching me, laughing at me. Even though I’m a few feet off the ground, and it’s clear that I’m floating there, they still don’t believe I can fly, and every taunt makes it harder for me to control, my arms and legs are flailing and eventually I return to the earth, dejected. It’s at that point I wake up to the perversely cheerful voices of the morning DJs on the radio, chirpy and enthusiastic, gleefully cajoling the listener out of bed. And so I obey, because it’s Monday, and that’s what you do.

I don’t like the man in the mirror. He’s tired, old, sullen. He has bad teeth, thinning hair, one eye lower than the other. Ugly, and tired, and beaten down. I wonder if he ever dreamed of anything better than this. I scrape the stubble away from his chin, doing my best to make him presentable to the world. The least he could do is smile, the miserable bastard. People might hate you less if you smiled you know. If you tried. He just shakes his head. Why bother? It’s too late now. Life has beaten him. God help me, I don’t want to wind up like him.

The kettle shakes spasmodically as it boils, wisps of steam rising from the rusted spout. I stifle a yawn, and look forward to that first hit of the morning. Something to look forward to at least. The coffee beans suffer a swift and merciless fate in the grinder, a sacrifice to the gods of caffeine and weariness. I spoon their desiccated remains into the cafetiere, and add the water, letting them slowly infuse the liquid.

From the cupboard I take two cups and place them on the work-surface. Mirror images of each other, differing only in colour. They never matched anything else, except each other. I fill them both with fresh coffee, then add sugar to one, slowly stirring it, letting the crystals dissolve.

Then I remember myself, and pour the dark brown fluid away, watching it swill away down the plug-hole. I rinse out the cup, and place it back in the cupboard. Suddenly I don’t feel like coffee, so leave mine on the countertop. Time for work, I guess.

Now that the annual November madness is over, time to concentrate on the madness that comprises the other 11 months of the year!

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