Do or Do Not.

Archive for October, 2008

Ten Years: A Commemoration

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Terry and I decided to do something special to mark our tenth anniversary, and since neither of us really had much desire to go the tattoo route, we instead went down to the mall and both got our ears pierced.

Yes, we now have matching earrings because we are just that damn adorable.

Written by Allen

October 28th, 2008 at 8:29 am

Posted in Personal

Ten Years

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On October 27, 1998 — ten years ago today — Terry and I snuck off to the Escambia County Courthouse in Pensacola to get our marriage license. That was the intention, anyway, as we had planned to elope on the beach the following weekend.

Instead, partially inspired by an offhand snarky comment from one of my co-workers (“Don’t come back married!”), we got married.  We stood in a dark stairwell in the courthouse, wearing jeans and sandals (her) and sneakers (me) and enormous smiles, and we repeated back our vows to the Justice of the Peace, and we exchanged the simple silver bands we’d purchased.  Then we went home and told our parents, and we had dinner at the Outback Steakhouse that night, and we spent our joyous wedding night in our little rental house.

I’ve never for a single second regretted either the circumstances of the wedding or thought that marrying Terry was the wrong decision.  Not for a second.  Far and away the best decision I’ve ever made.

I love you, sweetheart, and hope for several more decades as amazing and fulfilling as the first one.

Written by Allen

October 27th, 2008 at 9:06 am

Posted in Personal

Oh, no — NaNo.

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In what was clearly an insane, feverish moment of self-delusional hysteria, I signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month for the first time in three years.  Fifty thousand words of fiction in thirty days, when I rarely write any fiction these days?  Pshaw, no problem at all.

The funny thing (or not so funny thing) is that it’s only been about six weeks since I irrevocably turned my back on writing fiction.  Not so much irrevocable, huh?  I thought I didn’t have any stories in my head or heart worth telling (and truth be told, I’m still not positive on this point), so I told myself (and Terry) that any writing I did was probably going to have to be in the non-fiction/commentary realm, which comes much more easily to me.  (Yes, the implication there is that I’m just lazy.)

Yet here I am, a month later, getting ready for this intensive submersion into words, words, so damn many words.

So my question to myself is:  why?  If writing fiction is something I thought I’d given up on, why subject myself to NaNo?

I’ve had people ask me a couple of times recently about how my writing was going, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell them I’d essentially given up, that I’d decided writing prose wasn’t my thang.  These friends only meant well, of course, and I certainly don’t get upset with people for asking — though I tend to get upset with myself for not having a good answer for them.  I truly feel bad, like I’m letting people down for not using abilities of mine that they’d like to see me use.

But while that’s a small part of my trying it again, it’s far from the main reason I’m doing so.  I feel like I’m letting myself down with this whole “giving up” thing.  I think I’m never going to be able to live with myself if I don’t give writing more of a shot than I have.  The last few Novembers, I’ve been disappointed in myself for not trying it (even when it didn’t make a lot of logistical sense for me to do it.)  And while I don’t think that participating in NaNoWriMo will be the final word for me on writing vs. not writing, and while I’m sure that the result of whatever I do for NaNo won’t be something I can sell, I think it’s important for me to try it, to get back into the habit of writing, to loosen up some of the constrictions I have in my head.

These, then, are my goals for National Novel Writing Month 2008:

  • Finish at least 50,000 toward one (relatively) cohesive story. Yes, the 50K words are the overall main goal of NaNo, but the only time I’ve actually “won” NaNo by making that goal, I totally (kinda) cheated:  while I did indeed write 50,000 words during the month of November, my story was actually three unrelated stories — all unfinished.  Twenty thousand words in, I realized I was stuck and completely changed stories; ten thousand words later, I realized that what I was doing sucked through and through and was going nowhere, so I changed again.  I think the first and last bits possibly could have been worth the whole 50,000 words if I’d stuck with them, but munging the three together felt like it was totally in violation of the NaNo spirit.  This time:  one story, though I make no guarantees that one story won’t ramble off into some bizarre tangential places…
  • I’m shooting for a minimum of 1,500 words a day. The more 1,500-word-days I accomplish, the fewer 3,000-word days I need to have to make up for slacking.  Fifteen hundred words isn’t really that bad; when I’m rolling, I can knock out that many words in under an hour, especially if I’m turning off such speedbumps as, well, editing.  I’m actually hoping for more like 2,000 per day, but 1,500′s the actual bottom-line goal.
  • Have fun. This one’s actually harder than it sounds for me because I get so wrapped up in my pursuit of perfection.  Trying to get back to that “spirit of NaNo” business, I intend to just go forward and not give a damn about editing or perfection.  I have to keep that “first draft” idea firmly in mind and know that I can revise the hell out of whatever I write after November.  I just want to relax and try to enjoy the process without being so wrapped up in the product.  (This is an ongoing concern for me in many areas of my life.)

You’ll notice over there in the sidebar (if you’re not reading this via RSS) that I’ve already posted one of the nifty NaNo calendars which show my total wordcount and day-by-day progress.  I’m hoping that putting this out there to all of you, and knowing that I have a public display of how well or poorly I’m doing, will help motivate me to finish.  So wish me luck — I hope to have a reasonably completed shitty first draft of a novel in a little over a month!

Written by Allen

October 22nd, 2008 at 8:45 am

Posted in Writing

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Rays of Light

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As a Boston Red Sox fan — and make no mistake as you read these words to follow, I am a Red Sox fan — I was, of course, sad to see them lose the American League Championship Series to the scrappy, upstart (I’m legally required to refer to them as such) Tampa Bay Rays last night.  But the only other team I care about at all is that same Tampa Bay team, so I was also quite happy to see them win it.  Even more importantly, as a baseball fan, I was thrilled to see the Rays advance to the World Series.

When big championship-level sporting events come around — especially, but not exclusively, ones where I haven’t paid a damn bit of attention to the regular season — I almost always root for either the underdog or the team which hasn’t won in a long time or has never won before (provided, of course, that I don’t have an actual rooting interest in either team involved).  I really like seeing new teams win championships, knowing that fans who haven’t gotten to see Their Team win are enjoying that experience, knowing that a new generation of kids is learning to support their favorite team and knowing that sometimes that love they feel for their team is rewarded.  I think it’s good for any sport for fans to think that any given year, their team could win it all — “Hey, if the Rays can make it to/win the World Series, maybe we can, too!”  

For this year’s Series, the “Who’s Suffered More?” criteria’s almost, but not quite, a toss-up for me:  the Rays have never been to the Series, while the Philadelphia Phillies were there 15 years ago.  But the city of Philadelphia, though they have teams in all four major sports [1], hasn’t won a championship in any of them in a combined 743 years.  (I’m guesstimating on the math there.)

The Rays, though, have thoroughly, thoroughly sucked every year of their existence before this one.  Yes, surely Philly fans have suffered more than Tampa fans, but that’s partially because until this year, the Rays have been utterly insignificant.  They’d never finished higher than fourth in their five-team division, and even that was only once. The reality is that teams with payrolls as miniscule as Tampa Bay’s aren’t really able to compete every year; magical seasons like this one come around infrequently, if ever, for most small-market teams, and I’d like to see the Rays win it all while they can.  (And it’s hard to be too upset as a Sox fan, seeing as how they just won it last year and then three years before that.)

The way baseball tends to work, chances aren’t bad that next year the Rays will still be competitive but will be back toward the middle of the statistical pack while the Red Sox probably will again be a World Series favorite.  If I had to make a quick-impression prediction right now, I’d say Tampa Bay ends up somewhere around 84-78 and out of the playoffs, while the Red Sox and Yankees will both win 90 or more games and again fight to win the AL East with both teams quite possibly in the postseason.   This might be their one shot, so go you Rays; you Red Sox, don’t worry — I’ll be cheering you on again come April.

[1] Assuming you still count hockey as a major sport, of course, which I suppose is kind of debatable for a league which broadcasts its championship series on the Outdoor Life Network.

Written by Allen

October 20th, 2008 at 11:01 am

Raising Them Right… er, Left

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The following conversation took place this afternoon between Kelsey and Brandon, both six years old, while riding home from apple picking:

KELSEY:  We’re gonna vote for Obama.

BRANDON:  John McCain wants to make it so kids won’t have any money when they grow up.

KELSEY:  Yeah, that’s why we’re gonna vote for Obama.

BRANDON:  Me too, I’m voting for Obama.

A pause.

BRANDON:  John McCain sucks.

Written by Allen

October 11th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Kids,Politics

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