Archive for the ‘NaNoWriMo’ Category

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. The highs were hyperbolic, the lows were plumb deep. But I survived. Here are the lessons I lived to tell:

Tryptophan is the writer’s silent assassin. I still haven’t recovered. (Who’s idea was it to make November the national writing month anyway?)

I made two really good friends, my characters. I hope to spend more time with them, though I’m not sure this project is the right one. And that’s okay. (really, it is)

The daily posts were fun, but I did feel compelled to polish those bits, which goes against the NaNoWriMo fast and furious philosophy. I learned that as a writer, I prefer long baths to quick showers. And I think I missed behind my ears.

Next time I think I’ll do a little more preparation in the form of plotting, because the wandering plot was my demise on this one.

I fell shy of the 50,000 word goal, but I did get to 30,000 and that’s 30,000 more than 0.

I did not ignore my family nearly as much as I anticipated, though I did drink copious amounts of coffee to battle the post turkey haze. Many brain cells were lost.

Will I do it again next year? Of course I will. I’m doing it again next month! Because that’s what writers do. We write! Ah, the insanity of it all.

Goodbye November. Hello December. I need a nap.

Image from www.pandart.org

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Day 18

Inside Nana’s spacious Buick Regal–now Bo’s–I consider a new tactic for the subject of his pills when he tosses me a folded-up piece of paper.

“I wrote you a song.”

I unfold it and stare at the elegant loops of his cursive as the words slowly come into focus.

Come with me into the woods

                  so lovely, dark and deep

I’ll lay you down upon the ground

                  this promise I will keep

Don’t fear the end, for day’s small death

                 is lovely, dark and deep

I’ll be right here to hold your hand

                  this promise I will keep

Now close your eyes and sing a song–

                   my lovely–dark and deep

I’ll follow you into the night

                  this promise I will keep

This song must be anout Nana, about laying her to rest. I remember how I sang to her in the end, church songs she loved best. It seemed to give her peace and it was all I could do by then to comfort her and me.

“Sing it for us, Tabby Cat,” he says. “Any melody will do.”

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But standing in the church on Sunday morning, singing the hymns side by side, I see a flicker of belief in his eyes. Hope for better times. Maybe he’s thinking of Nana, who always told us we were all God’s children, loved and precious. She believed enough for the both of us. And every Sunday, standing by her side, singing His praise, I felt the light and hope fill me up and I held onto it for as long as I could.

After church we stand outside and catch up with Nana’s friends–there are so many. Everyone in the congregation, it seems, was touched by her. Several ladies invite us out to lunch, but Bo declines for the both of us. We have plans to pay someone important a visit. Afterward we drive to _________, where Nana was laid to rest in the Sorrell family plot, next to her husband, Buford I, who according to Nana, was an alcoholic and when Nana’s three living sons were old enough, they scattered like buckshots across the south. Nana said they all had a touch of their father’s darkness, which is what she called depression. “He’s got the darkness just like his father,” Nana once said about Bo. “But we’ll show him the light of Jesus, won’t we, honey?”

On Nana’s other side is the baby girl, her only daughter, who was stillborn. Helen was her name. Nana always told me I was sent to her to heal the hole in her heart that her daughter’s passing left behind.

Bo runs one hand over the arch of granite that is Nana’s headstone, larger than the rest. Bo got the most expensive rock Chandler Funeral Home had to offer, because he said when we went to visit her grave, he didn’t want it to look cheap.

“We aren’t so close in life as we are in death,” he says. “The Sorrells, cozied up like bedbugs, for all of eternity.”

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Days 13 and 14

“Where have you been?” I ask Holly with the movie on mute.

“None of your business.” She continues on to her room without glancing my way. Soon enough I hear her music,  louder than it needs to be, making me invisible to her in every way possible.


I study Bo’s face, perfectly calm and composed, but his eyes are distant, plotting. “I think we should set his car on fire,” he says without regret or hesitation. “With him in it.”

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Days 11 and 12

“Thank you, Tabitha,” she says and takes a seat at the table with practiced elegance, preparing herself for the trials of the day. It’s funny to watch her in pageant mode. Like a robot Barbie, she performs even the slightest task of sipping water like there are cameras tracking her every move.


He brings in a pallet of hair dyes and I stack shelves along with him, but I‘m not as fast because I get distracted by the labels–honey blonde, strawberry brown, mahogany, dark spice. Maybe if I dyed my hair I’d be as happy as the girls on the boxes–a new hair color to turn my life around.

It seems every pretty face reminds me of Holly.

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Days 8, 9 and 10

I didn’t cry about it then, though I had before. My insides felt like a Halloween pumpkin, scraped and hollow. And what filled it in the weeks, months, years that followed was some kind of emptiness that crying couldn’t fix.


We walk down the dirt road, dark now; the stars twinkle in a bottomless black sky and above us hangs a toenail moon, Nana used to call it, when it’s just a sliver of white. I reach for Bo’s hand and twine my fingers with his…

…At the bottom of the steps I hug him with fierce and sudden emotion. “You’re my best friend,” I say as his strong, sinewy arms wrap around me–muscle, bone and warm blood pumping through his veins, his smell like gunpowder and pine needles–so alive. I will heal his broken heart and give peace to his restless mind. I’ll take care of him as Nana did, and we’ll get through this as we have everything before it.


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“Where will you be in five years, Tabitha?” Bo says to me. Sometimes it’s like he can read my mind.
“I don’t know. Anywhere but here.”

“You going to leave me then?”

“No, you’ll come with me. We’ll go together.”

“I see myself in prison.”

I look at him. Just when I think we might be dreaming out loud, he’s imagining the worst.

“Prison? For what?”

“For shooting a dickhead named Hal Glisson.”

Hal Glisson again. “Did he bother you today?”

Bo smiles ruefully. “Just looking at him bothers me. I spend most of class thinking about ways to kill him.”

“That’s not good. Or healthy. Maybe you should sit in the front so you can’t see him.”

“You know what he said today? He said the Holocaust never happened. That it was a hoax the Jews came up with to further their own anti-Christian agenda.”

“That’s crazy.”

“I know, but people believe him. Ignorant redneck bigots like Hal Glisson say this shit and people believe him. And it makes me want to kill him.”

“You can’t kill him. Freedom of speech, remember?”

“But let’s say I could do it without getting caught. Wouldn’t the world be a better place without Hal Glisson in it?”

“Maybe, but now you’re sounding like a Nazi yourself.”

He tilts his head and narrows his eyes at me. “You’re good, Tabby Cat.”

He’s right, I am good, because I’ve had years of experience trying to talk him out of doing stupid shit, which is why I never know about the things he gets caught doing. Because if he’d told me ahead of time, I’d be able to convince him not to do it.

“In five years, we won’t even remember guys like Hal Glisson and Cameron Kleter,” I say. “We’ll be touring the country with our rock n’ roll band. We’ll be seeing the world.”

“No we won’t,” he says. “Best case scenario, is we drive away from here and never look back, but these shitheads are like Gremlins. And even if we started up in a new place, I’ll still be working at a Walmart and you’ll still be…” He trails off and I wonder what he was going to say.

“I’ll still be what?”

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