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Thursday, 24 December 2020

Merry Christmas

  

 


Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Martyn


Thursday, 17 December 2020

The Quest Continues


 No longer for perfection, but for the one, the fittest.

Not the grandest, the strongest or the like. The one most suited to me, which fits me the best of all.

A bit Darwinian, a process of natural selection?

Who is selecting whom, me or the notebook?

It comes down to sensing thr aura, the Zen of the book

Taking the Zen thing a bit further, it's not how do you feel about the book, how does the book feel about you?

It's the strange feeling, the sensation of losing touch with something.

Pick the book, whatever it is, take it down from the shelf. You sense something, a sympathetic resonance perhaps? You replace the book on the shelf and continue browsing, and ende up where you started with the first book you lifted from the shelf.

You take it to the till, pay the cashier, and away you go. The book arrives home and its not the same, strange but it happens.

I remarked in an earlier post about my first encounter with the Moleskine brand and how I felt it necessary to find the right instrument to make the first mark.

I admit, I fell for the romance of the history described in the pamphlet that comes with each one. I bought the book and the story and it took me a while to get over it.

It was the day my brain clicked into gear and did the arithmetic. I checked the figures. Page for page the three pack of the pocket sized cahiers with the soft cover was equal to a hardcover notebook of the same size, and roughly half the price.

I made the switch and awaited an introduction to the Fauxdori, the traveller's notebook lookalikes.

That introduction stared a whole new journey that brought me to here, now.

An odd side effect has been to bring to mind all the different notebooks I've used over the years, and decades and attempts at homemade notebooks.

Armed with a printer, photographs and a comb binder, assorted papers and a laminator. The research, documents downloaded and printed out would be comb bound for future reference.

Now I'm on the handmade notebooks cut and trimmed to size and bound by a pamphlet stitch. A new expression of life with a ntoebook, springing from a surperbly matched surprise gift. The Fittest gift I've received in a long time.

Christmas is around the corner, and this year there is a sense of anticipation of what it will bring.

Only a few more sleeps and we've notched up snow already this month. The bookies adjusted the odds for a white one.

Let the dreaming begin!

Martyn

(Image, December 2010)

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Fare Well?

 


Did you fare well? Put it another way, how was it for you?

I hit the target with a day in hand, and a strange sense of "Yeah, I can do that!"

I knew I could do it, and this year there was more in my favour.

I've been Yo-yo working since July, half furloughed, working sort of alternate days and weekends. It goes with the job.

This year with a lot more time on my hands, i.e. time available for writing, I still booted the computer up in the evening, after dinner, to cram the word count in before midnight.

My perspective shifted, the intensity of previous NaNoWriMo challenges dissipated, I got cocky and nearly blew it.

Halfway through the month, about the 12th, I ground to a halt for three days. The word count hit zero.

Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galazy, et al,)  talked about the sound of dealines as they whooshed by. This one come at me with a headlong rush.

It started well, Day 1, November 1st, I bagged 3,760 words.

Apart from the 12th to the 14 th Nobvember when the word count flatlined at zero, the lowest word count (with actual words to count) was the 21st with 364 words.

I tagged 50,000 on the 29th with a run of 4517. Logged it at 10:11 pm GMT on the 29th November.

I have done a handful of Camp NaNoWriMo over the years. This was my fifth NaNoWriMo, and my fifth win.

The winner's cetificate was duly printed out and filled in, and waved around the house. It is worth cheering, 50,000 words, in 30 days, no excuses.

A block of words to match the Great Gatsby for length, perhaps not in quality. 

As good or bad as any first draft has a right to be, it exists. It is positive, and it gave my self confidence a boost.

I can do it, became, I did it, again - without the Oops!

There was an Oops moment, three days of them.

A good start of 3760 words on day 1, the 1st, and 800 hammered out in the first hour after midnight. I put the computer away until the morning, and ploughed on later in the day.

10,000 words were accounted for by the 6th, and then on  the 12th it flatlined, zero, until the 14th. Kicked off again and toppled 25,000 on the 17th. Slightly behind the target count - the website said I would finish in December - I had 30,000 on the 19th.

11 days and 20k words to write. Time to get my head in gear, I pulled it together and went for the home straight, to finish with a day in hand.

According toi the stats at NaNoWriMo. Iam a night own, usually writing betwen 10:00 and 11:00 pm (really more 8:00 to midnight, but whose checking,) with an average daily word count of 1724.

On reflection, what has my Covid 19 NaNoWriMo helped me to discover?

I can do it, sit down and let the words pour out, don't fight the flow. Don't bully my characters, let them be real and tell the story. They are the players, strutting the stage, or the screen?

That's what happened on the 12th, I had to renegotiate the conditions. The characters were leading and I was reluctant to follow.

I came back to the story and followed where they led. I have the story so far, and will have to wait for the rest.

Allowing the characters to lead brought the answers to the surface. Elements in the other stories have become clearer, the pieces fit the jigsaw.

I'll be back there soon, I can feel the activity bubbling under the surface, waiting for the next chapter to spill on to the page.

For now, well done, whatever your final word count. Taking the plunge takes nerve.

If you hit the target and bagged the goodies.

Congratulations.

Martyn