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Charlotte K Stewart

Writer, Reader, Knitter, Artist

Writing up a Storm

I had a painfully slow start to nanowrimo. I was prepped, somewhat, and I expected to be able to write at midnight, for a few solid hours. Instead, I dozed off in the evening and wasn’t able to start writing until mid-afternoon of day one. I did manage the nano-prescribed 1667 minimum for day one and day two, which was nothing short of herculean when you add into that the fact that a family member woke up with unexpected blurred vision/near-blindness on day two. Talk about scary. Well… the good thing is with a sudden medication change, the vision seems to be a factor but not total blindness, so far. I am on call to support the family member, though. I had been already, which has worn me down quite a lot the past year. This is an added layer of stress and concern on what’s a non-stop difficult living and overall situation. It all complicates my own medical picture, too, mainly from the stress alone. It affects certain factors in my body and how my medication does or doesn’t work… it’s complicated and even my doctors are having trouble keeping me somewhat stable and out of the hospital.

Yet, I write on. I picked up many more words yesterday, day three. I pushed past the 15K mark! I take that as more than making up for the first day. And, with my total sitting just over 17K today, I am prepared in case I don’t get solid writing time the next few days. I know there will be days I get much less or much more than my personal goal of around 3K/day; I’m thankful I’ve written a lot of words this weekend. Tomorrow, I should be able to get a good amount in, too, barring something unforeseen. I know everything written isn’t my best, but I am comfortable with my story and I like my characters. That’s something, right?

 

Triple Play

This is my first page in a planning notebook for nanowrimo. It may or may not become a bullet journal, but it will serve as my hands-on, analog talisman between the digital writing sessions when I need to jot things down.

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Halloween aka Last Day of Preptober

Last day of October may be when most people are focused on dressing up, dressing their kids up, getting organized or playfully disorganized trick-or-treat/trunk-or-treat events, taking the work and family photos and putting them online on every social media channel, handing out goodies from their homes, playing spooky music, watching scary movies…

I don’t have a workplace, so no office contest, party, etc. No significant other, and no kids… so no costume couple or kid/family pics here. We usually barely get kids at our door, due to the events planned for this past weekend, and we live in an odd area, rural but not far from some towns with actual community gatherings. They have parties and the trunk-or-treating things at set times, and very few families go door-to-door anymore, especially in a dead-end or cul-de-sac community. We get candy to hand out just in case, but it’s rare we get more than three knocks on our door. More candy for us, when it’s said and done, usually. Which brings me to the next thing- preptober.

It’s THE LAST DAY BEFORE NANOWRIMO, aka NANOEVE! Are you ready? Are you nervous? Excited? Have you been planning? Or, planfully not planning? Whatever your jam is, I hope you are looking forward to November, full of great isolated but communal creativity exploding into the universe from notebooks, computers, smartphones, and scrap paper all over the globe. It’s kind of a neat thing, when you really stop to think about it. I don’t always have a few extra funds laying around this time of year, due to multiple important family birthdays in November (thanks to growing up in a snowy area, with lots of uh-huh going on in those early winter months, apparently!)… and of course, the holidays approaching. I don’t usually buy gifts and knit things to give for Christmas, but, as many of them now either have what they’ll use from me already or have moved to warmer climates where they simply don’t need hats, scarves, a pile of cozy blankets… it’s a little tougher for me financially, and I end up sending gifts or gift cards (less postage on those)… because of the changes and some important budgeting around it, I was able to free a small bit to make a once every few years type of donation to the cause of nanowrimo, specifically to fund one writing package for one student. I figured, I became inspired and interested in writing thanks to a few great teachers while I was in elementary school, and rejuvenated again my freshman year of high school. If I can help possibly stoke the creative flame of just one kid somewhere, that’s pretty great, really.

So, I don’t feel ready for nano this year. I have announced my novel. It has a title, a cover, and an obscure and not-quite-right blurb which I’ll update as the month goes on. I have gathered the troops – nano buddies, my local writing wrimo group– via nano site, facebook, and discord. I feel like life around me in general and specifically things like my not officially designated home writing spot (hard to explain, but… it’s a mess and is not really ideal or distraction-free) are anything but ready. I know what nano is like and that things are likely NOT to get super organized, relaxing, or better over the next month. I would *like* life to calm down and Mary Poppins itself into some semblance of order. I can dream, right?

I will charge forth, words blazing, hoping to not only slay my word count goals, but to actually find my way back to my writing routine. It’s suffered greatly this calendar year, as I have, and *we* need a reboot. That’s truly what nano is for me this year… a personal overhaul, of sorts.

Less than 12 hours to kickoff. Ready, set… almost ready… one more trip to get water, snacks, another round of  Words With Friends…

If I don’t see you at midnight, or for the next 30 days, have a successful nanowrimo, fellow writers. You can DO it!

 

Nanowrimo is near

At the stroke of midnight, around 36 hours from now, it will begin… one month of writing boldly, rapidly, steadily, bravely. It is always daunting in some ways and comforting and predictable in others. Each day, the goal of 1,667 words makes the overall 50,000 words for the thirty days seem reasonable and attainable. Until the blank page glares back at me and my mind goes blank. Or, I realize at 11pm at night that I haven’t put down a hundred words on a given November day. I’ll try to push myself while also being kind to myself, because life is hard. Yes, nano is supposed to be productive, and it’s also supposed to be FUN.

Someone please remind me of that last part after we’re about 12 days in.

Is it Only Thursday?

This feels like the fifteenth Thursday, or maybe Monday… of a week. I’d like to say I am doing better, feeling better, in less pain. That would be a lie.

What I can say is I spent fifteen minutes cleaning today. I wish it could’ve been more. I need to *just* do these small bites as I feel up to them, or the bigger projects will never transpire. I have to feel like even the small steps are something forward and not me remaining stuck.

Progress is slow, and my struggles are still large and ever-present. A few little steps today felt like big ones, so it’s a start.

I Should Be…

Fill in the blank with sleeping, writing, cleaning, improving, or any number of other things that I’m not doing. My brain isn’t having any of it. My body is fighting me every step of every task. I should be doing about a million things I’m not.

Unwanted

I’d like to write a poem or essay about how this word “unwanted” makes me feel. I’m too close to it to convey those things with perspective tonight.

What I can say is I am physically ailing. Emotionally, I’m drained. I’m slow to ask for support. I tried, and I was criticized and put down. I learned from early in life to internalize and stuff those feelings inside. Then, I get accused of not reaching out again, or of holding onto things (feelings, experiences); I wonder why.

Stuck goes along with unwanted now. Stuck in a sick, failing body. Stuck in a location/situation due to a long list of valid reasons. Stuck in suffocation. Stuck in isolation. Stuck and silenced. Stuck screaming only into an imaginary black hole.

 

Emotionally Drained, Physically Pained

No one really wants to hear what seems a long list of complaints, ailments, or what’s seen as whining. I get that. So, I’m not going to do that in this post. I just need to write and vent a little. Today was hard. It was not far off the usual, lately, as I was in unbearable physical pain. It’s standard when you have chronic illness and some major old injuries that never go away mixed with newer things occurring thanks to a combination of factors. Along with that nightmare, the pain that prevented me from moving around much early in the day, I had another batch of messes which were a lovely combo of my family members’ BS plus some things that came into play later in the afternoon.

I am opening up, exposing something I seldom do, even with other family members, and trying to work through what happened today. See, I’ve been raw the past few days already. And, today there was a reappearance of an old topic… an impasse between my father and me. I can’t get into the details. I can say, I made some confessions to my mom about things I’ve felt for years, due directly to things my father said (or yelled) at me. I don’t let those things go. I might, if they were things that didn’t continue to be repeated, or echoed, or hammered into my brain and my heart for the past 45 years. There are big fears I have which are NOT unfounded. They are real, based on things he has uttered or shown over time. I had the courage… finally… to tell her two major things today. I kind of really didn’t mean to… I’ve held onto them for quite some time.

What I don’t know is how this is going to play out. Things aren’t great with either of them, in terms of their health. There is a ton I wish I could be open about and I just can’t do it, at least not for now. I have so many issues and concerns.

On the outside, I try to be strong and bold, but there is part of me always timid and apprehensive, about some things. Again, not without solid reasons. My heart hurts, my soul is crushed, my brain is in overdrive. I can’t write, can’t relax or unwind, and can’t think of truly restful sleep. I wish my body wasn’t sick and broken so I could go for a walk, a run, a bike ride… I need some big changes that I am not able to even think of making. I had to get some of this out of my head so I can lie down and try to rest, as I have medical junk tomorrow (my own, and going to an appointment with my mother). I don’t know if I should be afraid or more comforted by some things she said to me this evening. It’s a true amalgamation of both, for the moment.

I know much of this is cryptic. Maybe one day I can explain it better, but… I am hoping it helps so tomorrow I can focus my brain enough to work on some writing as well as some preptober tasks.

Yarn Day & NASCAR

Some would say NASCAR and yarn are a weird combination. That might be true. However, for me it’s a fairly usual blend of two of my favorite things. I dig racing a LOT. And, I’m a knitter. October 13th is Yarn Day, and I’d had every intention of setting aside a good hour or so to work on a project I have underway. I had thought I might also happen to knit while watching a NASCAR truck race… no, that did not come to pass. I watched the race, but continued to get interrupted by various real life matters. And, after the race, I thought THIS IS IT, MY TIME TO SIT AND KNIT! Guess what – nope, no knitting. Zero.

It was not the calm, relaxing, soul-filling day or hour I needed badly, not just because it was yarn day…. for so many reasons. I actually did not do a thing I wanted to do in a way I wanted to, all day… yes, the race was on. And, the driver/crew chief team I’ve been rooting for will survive to the next round of the playoffs (the #16, if you’re wondering). I chatted with my bestie off and on most of the afternoon and some of tonight, as we could. We talk most every day, even if it’s “I’m sick, talk to you tomorrow.” It’s the best friendship I’ve ever had in my life, and I’ve been blessed to have some awesome ones. Anyway… I need some self care and some quiet, relaxing time. I don’t know when or how I’ll have that, because life has been too hectic, too unpredictable, too out of anyone’s control… everyone needs SOME down time. I will get back to posting on here more regularly, too. I’m working on it.

 

Nanowrimo 2018

I wasn’t sure about committing to this November’s National Novel Writing Month (nano). I have so much going on. I’ll get into that another day.

Last year I signed up and didn’t actively try to “win;” I had too much going on and didn’t feel like spending energy on one more thing. No matter how much I liked the idea of the story I’d wanted to write. December hit and I felt like a failure.

This year, I’m caving to peer pressure, at least somewhat. The writing group I’ve been most active in this year has members fired up about nano. And, I do feel connected to both the nano process and my writing group.

I logged in, created my novel project, and even designed a book cover. To my surprise, my bestie (who hadn’t done nano before, that I know of, but who is a member of my writing group)- joined and set up her novel project, too! We even worked together on a cover design for it.

Whether or not I win (of course, this year I’ll try!), it’s going to be more fun to do than it will be “work.” At least, that’s the plan.

I’m Sick

I have bronchitis. It’s never any fun, but it’s especially not pleasant this time of year. I have so many things I need to get done and want to do that being sick on top of my chronic conditions really drags me down. I am not on antibiotics, which I’m glad about for many reasons. We’re hoping a few types of inhalers, combined with the little round “perles” and over the counter cough syrup will help me enough until I can get the rest of the buggies out of my system. If I’m not much better in about two weeks, I’ll get checked again. And, my stomach had to start acting up on top of it all. I have so many problems, on any given day. I’d love a day or a week when it’s “only” my usual with nothing extra tacked on.

Writing has been hit-or-miss. I was on a roll with a new story for a few days. I had no energy to add to it for the past few. I’ve been working on it today, as I felt up to it. I would like to get anything near completed this year… so far, that’s not happening. I have had zero energy to knit at all. Tomorrow is knitting group at the library, which I missed last month due to illness and too much pain in my knee (because of where I need to get to inside the building, after how far I need to get from the car to the front door is pure hell on my bad knee)… I want to go so badly. There is a conflict of transportation, on top of the illness and injury matters. I’m bummed and I need to talk to the girl who runs it about another way to try to get this to happen, or about changing the location inside the building, maybe.

 

 

Exhaustion

That one word sums up my day, my week, my life…

The guy is history. He moved on. I lowered the boom and brought up concerns I had. He insisted, again, we could discuss and be rational (I think trying to convince himself, as I remained calm throughout)… then, he alerts me through social media notifications he has committed to some other female. Blink, blink. Yep. I’m still shaking my head. However, I don’t need to waste another moment wondering what his deal is. He moved on, he showed his true colors for sure, and I’m all right. Does it hurt? YES. It sucks when someone proclaims to be interested and says they want to be with you and spend time together and plan some kind of future with you, only to find out it was all a game and non-stop lies. I will guard my heart in its locked little box, let the gashes heal a bit, then I will keep going on with my life. I didn’t need him before, I certainly don’t need him anymore… no big loss at this point.

I did manage some writing the past few days. I doubled what had been a super-short story from five pages into about 10.5 pages. I changed it around slightly. I will find out tomorrow what others think of it in my workshop group. Feedback is helpful. I always learn something about myself, my writing, and how others view fiction. I’m too exhausted to write more on this post right now. I am trying to make more entries, but I also have a massive to-do list tomorrow. Meaning, I need to find a way to relax for a bit and unwind. I haven’t been knitting much. I will read, maybe listen to some music, then I’ll crash.

Till next time.

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