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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm alive--but what is life? A look on the Darker side of Nanowrimo

I’m a fan, not a writer. At least I know that by now, but I didn’t before. I did learn something from what happened, at least I can say that. I’m glad that it ended when it did. I can’t sleep at night knowing what could have happened. To my friends, to my family, even, to me. Yeah, when I go to bed and my mind starts to wander, I think of anything, but that. They called it Nanowrimo, I called it—well you’ll find out. It started on a Monday. That’s what my calendar says at least, but in my heart, I know it was already starting. The people were so friendly at first, so nice. Even before it started they pegged me. Tagged me with some cyber spray paint like spider pheromone leading them to me every time. I can’t believe I said, that, too late. I thought they meant what they said, I mean, this is America. Freedom of the press right? Right to bear arms? Something to keep people like that away from kids? Wrong. Freedom to do something….There should never be freedom for people like them.

I still get shivers thinking about it. I guess I have to start at the beginning, it’s not too hard now, but when it gets further on, that’s when, well, it happened.


Monday started with a bang almost literally. School, life, phone calls, you know what it’s like for a highschooler. You heard the phrase,’ If life gives you lemons, make lemonade?’ I’d like to punch whoever said it(in a Christ like way of course), cause they weren’t around to help me. Yeah, I didn’t know, I bit the lemon—and hard. They said that all I had to do was start it, they’d help, they’d encourage me. It sounded good to hear! I wanted to believe it! And I did—for a time. Then it well, sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. I wanted to belong, look at me, how did it turn out?

So I started on Monday, the words seemed to come, I was pleased, so were they--for awhile. Even the others were fulfilling their end of the bargain, they encouraged me, even wanted the words to come, cheered me on. I did the same for them, it was cool, too cool. I should have known it would never last.

The month continued, and I started to lose sight. No, not literally,  no it’s not that kind of medical story rubbish, but figuratively. The goal, they said it was so attainable! All it took was 1667, the magic number, they hallowed number, that sounds good, but I found it wasn’t any of those, it was the deadly number. Don’t worry, keep reading, the story gets better for you, worse for me.

Life kept coming, they kept contacting me with their prodding, but it was really just well, demands. They were polite then, now I know better, they were biding their time. The words were so subtle, it’s a wonder I caught on at all, but that is now, this was then. So what happened?

Yeah I’m getting to that, it’s hard to explain to an outsider like you. I lived it, I breathed it—I was it. But like I told you(Unless you weren’t listening) the days kept rolling by. I lasted for nine days, nine straight days. Ok, that’s a lie, I don’t need to save face here. I made it maybe five and then I fell under the wheels of their machine. I know, I was on board right? I was with them too, right? How did I fall off? It was a long story—and at the same time short. I’ll give you the abridged version. I don’t expect anyone to read this that long. I got ahead, I ran ahead of the group, I can still hear their encouraging calls now, they lauded my enthusiasm, and I theirs, they were my role models, I wanted to make them proud. I did, and then—it happened, but I can’t tell you about that quite yet, don’t worry we’re getting close.

So yeah, I got ahead---then when their cheers were silenced, well we know what they really were now, simply their laughing at yet another person under the Nanowrimo spell. But their cheers couldn’t reach my ears anymore, I was safe, I was ahead! But the thoughts kept swirling in my head, the indoctrination, the numbers 1667, 3334, 5001, the numbers meant nothing to me anymore. All I knew, all they told me was keep-writing keep going. I had to keep going, and then I stopped.

I know what you’re thinking,  “So? Why do I care if this no name stops?” Yeah. I knew you wouldn’t understand. It’s…too hard to explain, my memory isn’t even very clear at this stage in the story. But sometime around the tenth day, yeah that’s write, oh I mean right, ten days in, I stopped.


I went camping, I refused to make myself pound out the words, they couldn’t reach me when I was camping I thought I was safe—I thought wrong. I thought about them I thought about the manuscript on the computer—not a lot. Worse when we first got into the silence, the pop of a chat bubble, the imaginary chastening at failure to do—it, to write. Then, the voices went away almost as if by magic.  silence, glorious and freeing, living life again without being at beck and call! Glorious freedom I will never accept you without a thought again!!

When I got back, their hounds of literation haunted me, hunted me. And the ceasing of the voices that gave liberation? Gone.  The voices were back, to stay. Peace of mind? Yeah, you guessed it, gone.


So I kept at it, they prodded me, pushed me past my limits. I tried to let them pass by the wayside, to fall over on the side and let them by. I kept telling them, “Thirty thousand, that’s enough. Just—a  break.”

“NO!” They shouted.

 I screamed, I still scream.  I ran, I shiver now.  I walked around the house with shoes untied---something I despise. So I kept going, they rode me, scourged me into movement. But just like those Epic battles, I can’t find any marks on me now, I don’t know how they did it, but they did. How does anything like those people from Nanowrimo do anything?


Like I said, I kept going, I finished. If you can call it that—does an almost dead body hitting the finish line count? It did to them, they said, good job, they congratulated me. They even played it up as if it was my idea, they were good—so good at pretending I almost believed it myself. I bought the lie—at least partially, and yeah, that was when it happened. I waited...seven days I told myself, I was done, it was ok, I finished, just move on with life.


I couldn’t.


When their twisted words worked for other people, they were finishing, they ended, they survived. I didn’t—I couldn’t. They  had done too good of a job. I tried to stop, I wanted to. I don’t know if I could have stopped or not until this day…sometimes I think yes..sometimes no. So yeah, you probably guessed it, I started again.

This time the voices were louder, sleep wouldn’t come, my loved ones began to hide when I walked through the room. Even those with, teaming up with the voices began to wonder, so did I—no, so I should have. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t wonder all. I could do was obey when they said “Word war.” I didn’t want to Word War, I didn’t want to ever see one again, but I couldn’t stop. I trembled walking to my writing spot, but I just  couldn’t stop.



And guess what? I finished again!

But the cost was higher, a  sprained wrist(No joke), blurry eyesight, and a strange attachment to a fight pits fighter named Jaden, as well as the messenger without an anchor, Maria, and her companion, Jason who finds her on the Chillzen streets.

 Yeah, the names mean nothing to you, you’re an outsider, but they mean everything to me. I’m not a writer, I don’t dream about my characters, I don’t have to write. I keep telling myself that. I still do, I have to, I can’t live otherwise. You thought this was going to be a happy story? What gave you that idea? This is life, this is dealing with Nanowrimo, no room for joy. I don’t know where you’re from, but if you ever heard or hear about a group of people that have never known you that are willing to encourage you through this—challenge? The only challenge they know about—is seeing how hard they can push you until you break.

I lasted almost ten days, how long will you last? How long did you last? Is there anyone else regretting Nanowrimo, anyone regretting it’s over? What did you lay down on their table of sacrifice to meet their so called goals. Yeah you know what I mean, what did you give up.  Tell us, tell me, maybe we can finally get some help, shut these guys down for good.




Because you took the absent thinking about doing a second Nano Novel from the careless thought stage to reality. Because you let this timid writer dare to try it.

Because your word wars made finishing possible and--even fun ;) Because your blazing penchants for word wars astounded my entire family. Thanks Jake, thank you so much.

Because the fun time I had word warring with you and the fun I had learning about Nano from someone with much more experiences than myself.
I love Nanowrimo. Write. Drain your brain of all creative energy. Crash into bed. Do it all again the next day.


7 comments:

Squeaks said...

*blink* Wow...that was amazing, Millard!! And thanks so much for the nice picture :P It's actually hilarious because my youth group has the most FUNNY inside joke about sharks XD I literally laughed when I saw that...thanks so much!


And I'm very very glad that you conquered the NaNo monster 2 times!! At least you were courageous enough to write 2 books...I was a coward & stopped 1/3 of the way through my second :( But I'm honoured to know a most excellent writer as your self who not only dared to try, but finished!!

God Bless ya, Mil!

Squeaks.

Pingpong said...

Hmm too true too true.

whisper said...

ROTAL!!!! Millard, that is a deeply moving, terrible story. Grippingly terrifying. >_> Wonderfully written; wonderfully. "I can’t sleep at night knowing what could have happened. To my friends, to my family, even, to me." Epic. :D

Eagles Wings said...

Heh....Epic sir Millard, purely epic.

Jake said...

Woh. That was...something else Sir Mil. *shakes head* Wow...I actually agree with you. I feel burnt out now ;) and I wake up thinking, "Word war tonight--I can't get behind," and then rembember, suddenly...IT'S OVER. I finished. I succeeded. And now it still haunts me.

Slowly, slowly I am normalizing myself (as normal as a Sadaar like me can be LOL) but still the wounds shall stay with me for life... >_> <_< Exactly the reason I fear I am going to do it again next year. I cannot stay away from it, alas.

By the way...your post eerily reminded me of Witchdrale. :O

Anyhow...LET'S DO IT AGAIN!!!!! (Aye, I believe I am partially refueled...)

Millard of Swiftstorm said...

Hehehe, witchdrale.....:O I haven't had that chance--but I hope the book comes today!!


Thanks for the awesome comments all :)

Goldarrow said...

*shakes head* yep I don't understand... Nor do I want to. That just sounds crazy to me. (and I have done "crazy" check out my diet, or hobbies, or stunts you would know then)

Glad you had fun.... Congrats.

Ps- how many words was that one post? 10k? :)