Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Second Week of NaNo

It’s actually almost the third week, but let’s not go there, OK? With just over 10,000 words (many of them incoherent), I’m 10,000 words behind. I had been hoping to catch up over the weekend, but events conspired to prevent my writing at all Saturday or for more than an hour Sunday.

There were some high points to the weekend. Friday night, the book dragged me out of bed to work, and I clocked up a couple of thousand words about God, sacrifice, translation, and various other high matters. I don’t know how much of it will be usable — I don’t dare even look at it, frankly. But it’s quantity, not quality, that matters — I need to remember that. It doesn’t have to be a finished draft. It just needs to be 50,000 words.

Saturday morning I had to get up early (after 5 hours’ sleep) and drive up to Palo Alto for the confirmands’ retreat. It was a powerful spiritual experience. Then I had some lunch, got home to a houseful of D&D gamers, and took a long, luxurious nap.

And this is where I blew it. I should have just locked myself in my office to write. Instead I wanted to spend some time with Michele, then go and spend a few hours of quality time with my keyboard. I didn’t want to start writing and then be interrupted, or start writing with one ear open for the game to end, or start writing, get into the groove, and refuse to see Michele because the work was going too well.

So I asked when the game would be over. If it would end late, no problem; I could write now. If it would end early, no problem; I could have some supper and see Michele before I started work.

“This is the last encounter,” said the Dungeon Master.

OK, cool. That was around 7:30, and the games are scheduled to run from noon to about 7. I made myself some supper, did some housework, wondered if I should just go to work, checked on the battle, wrote e-mail to my family, wondered again if I should just go to work, decided not to (it couldn’t be long now, could it?), killed some more time, and realized after two hours that (A) I was starting to feel really sad, and (B) this game could go on indefinitely. On both counts, I’d better find out what was up.

So I ventured into the game area and asked to speak to Michele privately. We went out to the front porch and talked for a bit. She was actually more upset than I was — she had been trying to play the game while wondering when the damned thing would be over, and suffering her own torments of frustration and impatience while being aware that I was left dangling. And dangling in that way is a really nasty sensation, as she knows.

So she was really upset and needed comforting. Afterwards, when the gamers had gone, we spent some time together trying to deal with the emotional aftermath of the situation. So in the end I didn't get either the pleasant hang-out time I wanted with Michele, or the writing time.

I was angry that I had been misinformed about how long it would take and upset that she had preferred to be polite to the gamers rather than let me know what was happening. Most of all, I was frustrated and angry that people who knew me and loved me would be disrespectful to my work to that extent.

Of course, the DM wasn't thinking about my work. He was thinking about the game, and he didn't interpret the question as being of any urgency, or as requiring an answer in terms of minutes. He answered accurately, just not usefully. And Michele certainly didn't intend disrespect for me or the work. She got caught in a thicket of conflicting needs.

The one to blame here is me, of course, for putting myself in the position of entrusting my writing schedule to the vagaries of the D&D game.

So that was Saturday. Began beautifully but without writing, ended a real mess and without writing.

Sunday, of course, I had to go to church; I was being confirmed. And again, this was an intense spiritual experience after a night of not nearly enough sleep. Got home, took a nap, woke up and tried to spend some time with the family, I think. I did try to get some work done Sunday night, but I don’t think I managed a hundred words. I don’t really remember Sunday evening, except one agonized moment when I realized I had blown the weekend. Oh, and I spent a *lot* of time in e-mail, trying to explain the situation to someone whose mind works very differently from mine, figure out what had gone wrong, and propose ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

It doesn’t help that I’m wiped out from the antibiotics I’m taking for the infected surgical incision. Or that I’m still on-and-off angry about what happened. Or that Friday started with a problem with the bank which took much of the weekend to resolve. The minute this thing is settled, I am going to change banks. I’ve had enough garbage from these people already.

So it has been a rough few days. I’m cranky, tired, and irritated, and you should see my dreams.

And next weekend I have a NaNo writing party Saturday night (for which I would very much like to have a high word count), and Sunday we need to be out of the house all afternoon and early evening because of some work being done there. I am seriously considering staying in a motel near work for Sunday night. Then I would have to do some writing.

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