Mist in the morning (and stories at night)

Today, as I drove to the daily newspaper in the valley where I live for a long day of designing the newspaper on our asinine new computer system, I was treated to some spectacular misty views on the stage road. I couldn’t help but stop to shoot a couple photos.

Idyllic, no?

In this photo, I love how the fenceline undulates up and down into the mist, with the imposing mountains behind.

NaNoWriMo update: I have written 3,955 words so far! That’s about 600 words ahead of schedule. I’m having fantastic time with the writing so far. I sneaked home for lunch yesterday and spent most of it writing. After the school board meeting last night, I went home and wrote for another hour or two. Today, I drove back from the daily newspaper, shoved some food in my mouth and wrote some more. Let’s hope I can keep up the pace!

Here’s a teeny excerpt (please note all contents of this blog are copyright!):

As Tom negotiated the next curve, Clint craned his neck to stare at the sloping back of Summit Mountain. The verdant mess of pine crept up the stone and came to an abrupt end at tree line. Every time Clint passed the mountain he thought about Brody Thompson, one of his best friends from high school, who’d gone alone to snowboard down the bowl, triggered an avalanche and came home in a body bag three days and a long search later. Clint had gotten the phone call his sophomore year at Northwestern. He’d flown home for the funeral, the one time he ever did. He remembered Brody’s girlfriend’s sobs from the front of Two Ocean United Methodist, how they seemed deliberately out of sync with the hymns. Remembered Brody’s father’s face, which looked like all the light had drained out of it. Brody’s mother wore a black veil and didn’t move during the entire service.

Clint and his best friend Derek Wilson split a case of Bud Light that night in Derek’s truck behind the Get N’ Split. They talked about Brody in the glow of the radio dial.

“Remember when he sacked that mean sonufabitch from Chester High during the game when you blew your knee? You might’ve blown your knee, but that kid looked like he might worry himself up a tree until the end of the game,” Derek laughed around a gulp of beer. “Kept looking over his shoulder and hesitating, waiting for another wicked hit from Brody.”

Clint tossed an empty can over his shoulder into the back seat and reached for another in the cardboard case between his legs.

“Remember when he first started dating Laura?” Clint recalled, a faraway look on his face. “Man, he was into her. Even skipped practice once to go make out with her in the church parking lot.”

“Yeah, they made a pretty swell pair,” Derek mused and the two clicked their beer cans together. “To Brody, snowboarder, football player, friend.”

“To Brody,” Clint replied and chugged the remainder of his beer.


You’ve got to hold me to it

OK, blog friends, are you ready for this? I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. That’s National Novel Writing Month. That means writing 50,000 words in 30 days, or 1667 words a day. Yikes! I already write for a living, so I’m crossing my fingers that I can pack another 1667 into each 24 hours.

So why am I telling you this? Well, the folks at NaNo recommend that writers tell everyone they know that they’re participating in the novel writing so we’ll be shamed into finishing our novels. Can’t tell everybody we’re writing a novel and then not live up to that standard, you know!

There’s a lot of criticism of NaNoWriMo, and rightly so. Not everybody is a good writer. Some people are just really good at churning out a whole lot of garbage (well, OK, I was an English major). What I hope to gain from NaNoWriMo is a serious kick in the pants. I have an idea for a novel that I think is pretty good, yet I keep backing away from it. “Oh, I don’t have enough time,” and “I’m a journalist. Anything longer than 30 inches is asking quite a lot,” and “It’s just going to be drivel anyway, so why try?” have been holding me back long enough.

Here’s what my novel is going to be about: A young journalist returns to his hometown of Two Ocean in northwestern Montana for a job at the local newspaper, the Two Ocean Times. He discovers a new side of his town, and learns that while a place like Two Ocean is hard to leave, it’s even harder to stay.

So, I expect that the vast majority of what I write will indeed be drivel, but I’ll have a solid start and clean up and edit from there.

OK, here’s the part where you all promise not to laugh at me in the middle of November when I’m insufferably whiny. As of right now, though, I’m insanely excited!