NaNoWriMo has been a huge disaster for me so far. I’m supposed to be around 13,000 words. Instead, I’m stuck around 4,000. I’ve missed three days of writing completely owing to various school-related demands on my time, the election, and other people’s emergencies. I’m proud of the work I’ve done this week since Monday, but I’m frustrated in a variety of ways. My boss came up to me at dinner today, and said that he was going to be away Monday, and would I cover for him. Another teacher expects me to give up my free period to teach her SSAT prep class (that’s the Spells and Sorceries Aptitude Test, ). Those two assignments amount to an hour and twenty minutes of free time lost.

There’s been a lot of lost free time this year. My students are in my apartment most evenings this year, and it’s clear that they need that social time, because they are starved for love and attention and praise, and I can give it to them. Indeed, I sometimes feel like I have to, because there is no other source.

But starting with the outdoors program this fall, for which I’ve given something on the order of 80 hours this fall, there’s been this steady encroachment on the time I have. As of Tuesday this past week, I’ve now been assigned to be the history department’s proofreader – FUCK! The history department will generate a hundred two-page papers over the next ten days or so, and most of them will be bad. I hate to malign my colleagues, but most of them are bad writers, and they have only the vaguest idea how to critique a student’s work in a way that shows they know 1) what the problem is, and 2) what they’re going to do to fix it.

Fencing starts in a week, and then there’s going to be serious adjustments to time. I have sixteen matches scheduled this fall for my fencing team, which means I’m going to be traveling all over the state. I have a junior high-level fencing program – but I remain the only coach who’s actually coaching.

And indeed, I sit writing this in the driver’s seat of one of the school’s buses, parked in the uncertain sodium light of a Big Kmart, a TJMaxx and a Super Stop&Shop. It’s indicative of the way my day works that I can only find writing time by taking my students to buy things and leaving them to their own devices for an hour.

saw me at Drum and Dance, and said “You look tired.” I feel tired. The fall term has really worn on me, and I’m ready for a change.

The one bright spot at the moment is Dave’s comment on Thursday. He’s thinking about letting me start a poetry reading at his coffee shop. I’d like to do it on Thursday evenings, when I’m free to do my own thing, but only after dinner is over. And yet, even this bright spot is compromised. He’s worried about two things, I think. He doesn’t want his shop overwhelmed with yahoos looking to offend people, and I think he wants to stay away from political themes. Since he’s a Republican, I’m not terribly surprised. As he said on Thursday, “I don’t want offensive language cloaked under the name of poetry. This is a private business, and there will be censorship within these walls.”

I’m not sure how I feel about that. If I host the reading, I wind up having to be the heavy, enforcing his edicts on a fragile and potentially hostile audience. I’m not sure that works. The model I’d like to follow is SPEAK… which is more about sharing than stage time, as has put it so eloquently. does a good job of setting up a series of themes and then allowing quiet poetry to develop, and allowing alternate voices to speak in contrast to the homogeneity of slam. , any thoughts on how you got SPEAK… to work? Anyone, your thoughts on running a poetry reading in a potentially censored venue? I don’t think it’s going to be your typical slam scene, but I’m still curious what the reactions are to the theoretical limits of the space.

I see at this point that I’ve written over 700 words in this one entry. Sure, I can whine at the world but I can’t work on my novel… OK, I’m going to work on fiction for a while. Even if I don’t finish NaNoWriMo, I’d like to break last year’s word count of 25,063.

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8 comments

  1. I’m a much better whiner than novel-writer myself lately.

    Still, I have an insane amount of faith in you. You can totally do this. Don’t forget that super outline you have all ready for you. 🙂

  2. I’m a much better whiner than novel-writer myself lately.

    Still, I have an insane amount of faith in you. You can totally do this. Don’t forget that super outline you have all ready for you. 🙂

  3. if it makes you feel any better, i’ve hit a brand new high of 3858 words. woot-woot. considering that this is the beginning of the Great Crunch at work, i’m unlikely to hit 10,000, so i’m allowing myself a pressureless write – i figure, as long as i get something, i’m cool with it. i can always go back & reclaim the project after New Years.

    when do they take their OWLs?

  4. if it makes you feel any better, i’ve hit a brand new high of 3858 words. woot-woot. considering that this is the beginning of the Great Crunch at work, i’m unlikely to hit 10,000, so i’m allowing myself a pressureless write – i figure, as long as i get something, i’m cool with it. i can always go back & reclaim the project after New Years.

    when do they take their OWLs?

  5. “The one bright spot at the moment is Dave’s comment on Thursday. He’s thinking about letting me start a poetry reading at his coffee shop. “

    Holy Shit..when did hell freeze over?

  6. “The one bright spot at the moment is Dave’s comment on Thursday. He’s thinking about letting me start a poetry reading at his coffee shop. “

    Holy Shit..when did hell freeze over?

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