Monday, November 28, 2011

49,160 words and a peaceful easy feeling

I have this ridiculously happy feeling bursting in my chest.

It's the weirdest happy I've ever felt.

And I think it's called pride.

Tonight I polished off another 2,000 words or so in my quest for NaNo and now have only 840 words to go.

It is a pittance of words.

A flash story.

An hour's canoodling on the computer.

This marathon is so close to being over that I can literally taste it. (It tastes remarkably like chicken.)

I could finish it tonight. I could.

But I want to be fresh when I walk down the last 840 words. I want to go slow, take in the scenery, wave to my friends with their pom poms cheering me on. I want to savour the moment as I cross the finish line and then I want to do something really amazing to celebrate.

I don't know what that is because right now nothing feels big enough to celebrate this victory in the style that it deserves.

Never in my whole life have I shown this much discipline.

Never have I written so much.

Tomorrow I will celebrate a victory that is more than just winning a silly writing contest. Tomorrow I will celebrate a victory over a war that has been waged within myself.

But tonight ... I will sleep.

Friday, November 25, 2011

40,572 words and my Viagra dude

Everyone gets spam, right? Comments on your blog that are trying to link you to penis enlargements or Viagra. Usually the comments are written in busted English have absolutely nothing to do with your blog post. I don't know about you but I pretty much delete spam on contact.

Something weird is going on, though.

In the last few days I have gotten a TON of comments from an address that is pushing generic drug buying online... you know, drugs like Viagra – not the kind you buy from Cheech & Chong, I don't think.

The address was spammy but the comments were actually related to the posts.

Huh, I thought, but deleted them anyway.

On Wednesday my e-mail inbox was filled all day long with comments from the Viagra dude. Really, really good comments. This guy (or girl) was not only reading the posts but was offering intelligent, thoughtful insights as well.

He wrote this regarding a post I made about a camping trip to Killarney Provincial Park:
xlpharmacy reviews has left a new comment on your post "Killarney by Canoe": wow amazing trip you had made, i remember that i made one a few years ago to the yellowstone park, was awesome we get permission to do camping, was pretty awesome to be 3 days without a computer. 
He wrote this about a story about the authors of a new local book called The Hidden World of Huckleberry Rock. I was embarrassed, at the time, because the only commenter was one of the authors! But my Viagra buddy not only read the post but commented on it, too!
xlpharmacy has left a new comment on your post "The Hidden World of Huckleberry Rock": Thanks for your insight for this method great story; this is the kind of feature that continues me though out the day.I’ve long been seeking around for your webpage following I learned about them from a companion and was pleased when I was able to come across it just after browsing for a while. Being a devoted blogger, I’m happy to determine other people taking effort and surrounding to the neighborhood. I just wanted to review to exhibit my thanks for one’s submit as it is quite encouraging, and many writers don’t get the credit they ought to have. I’m positive I’ll be back again and can deliver a number of my mates. 
And I had to laugh at this comment he wrote on a post about why people visit my blog. The number one reason? Because they're googling potato chip bags – I had posted an image of Lay's Potato Chips.
xlpharmacy reviews has left a new comment on your post "Popular Posts": Googling photos of potato chip bags?, are you serious? is people really looking for this on the web?? 
I giggled because I think it's funny that a possible spammer is commenting on what people are "really looking for" on the web.

I told my friends at work about him and what we figured is, this Viagra dude was doing what we all do when we're bored at work – surfing the Internet (well, I never do that, ahem, of course, because I am Practically Perfect and besides, I'm never bored at work because I love my work so very, very, very much).

Is this guy's actual job spamming the internet? And if it is, does the job of spamming get boring so he surfs and blogs just for fun?

My friend at work speculates the spamming business might be operated just like a call centre. But we don't know. All we know is the Viagra dude seems really dedicated to reading my old blog posts. It seems like he is methodically going through everything I've ever written. I mean, who does that? It's a blogger's dream, I guess, to have someone read all your back stuff and enjoy it. So it's all good, right?

I hope so!

What I'm hoping is my Viagra dude reads this and leaves me more information about him or herself. I'd love to know where he's from and what his job is like. I always thought the business of spamming was done by computers, not people, and the idea of connecting with someone like this intrigues me.

So who are you, Viagra dude?

Tell me everything ....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

37,931 words and my writing buddies

Right on the heels of telling you how hot I am, here's a photo that proves, not only otherwise, but also how little pride I actually have.

That is me deep in Nanowrimo mode, writing the Great Canadian Novel, or at least, MY Great Canadian Novel. Eight more days of writing ahead. 12,069 words. That's 1,509 words every day. Can I do it? How can I not do it after investing so much time and energy?

Am feeling confident right at this moment because I just had a good writing night. Last night, though, I was convinced I didn't have one more word in me. What I wrote was terrible. It wasn't going anywhere. It wasn't developing the plot. And it certainly wasn't well-written. Tonight I decided, to heck with it, and started writing the chapter again from scratch. This time I knew where it was headed; I had the right atmosphere and the words fairly spilled onto the page.

I asked Dave to take this picture, not to show you how chub-ugly my feet are, but to show you my undecadent writing space and my two furball writing buddies.

I've tried writing everywhere else around the house but I've done my best writing on the bed, scrunched into a back-busting ball. I goof around on my blog or facebook on the kitchen table but when I go into the bedroom and shut the door, I'm all business. Sometimes I even use ear plugs. I find it blocks everything out but the sound of my own brain thunk-thunking in overdrive.

The funny thing about this is my two cats, Dodge (the orange one) and Ben. Cats are creatures of habit and they have made a habit out of sitting at my feet while I've been NaNo-ing. As soon as the door closes they push it open and come walking in. They don't bug me. Much. Sometimes they rub their whiskers on my laptop or demand to be petted. For the most part, though, they just lie down like the slugs they are and fall asleep. Sometimes they even snore.

Is this how The Great Canadian Novels are written?

In a messy bedroom with snoring cats?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A new dress

I vowed I wasn't going to buy anything else from the fat ladies store.

I was going to wait (weight?) until I was skinny enough to just buy any old thing from any old rack. But hell, I just lost 50 pounds and I've got two, count 'em, office Christmas parties coming up and damned if I want to show up with some old dress hanging off me like yesterday's potato sack.

So yesterday me, Dave and Sam went down to Barrie to my favourite fat ladies store, Addition-Elle. They actually have clothes that look like they belong to somebody under the age of 85, you know what I mean? I had been stalking their website, eyeballing up their tasty collection of sequinned holiday dresses and drooling.

The thing is, I really didn't know what size I was going to need. The last time I went shopping for clothes I was buying size 24. Yeah, I know. A big old tub 'o lard, that was me.

I started picking out dresses to try on, getting two sizes of each: 20 and 18. I knew I had slimmed down but I wasn't sure how slim was slim. Because, honestly, I want to lose a lot more weight before I'm done.

I tried on the size 18 first because I was excited and optimistic, and you know what? IT WAS TOO BIG.

Sam and Dave and a saleslady were hovering outside my dressing room. The guys were like Richard Gere to my Pretty Woman and I was giving them a free fashion show. Both of them had looks on their faces like, I'd rather be dead, but I think they were having a good time.

I came dashing out from behind the curtain in the baggy dress and shrieked, "IT'S TOO BIG!" Everyone giggled, but nobody more so than me. Usually what happened when I went clothes shopping was I kept sending Dave out for bigger and bigger sizes until he found the biggest size in the store, the Omar Tent size they kept out back for visiting circus troupes.

Not this time! The saleslady went scurrying back into the bowels of the store for size 16 in everything while I danced around in the baggy-ass dress and high-fived everyone and boasted and carried on like the obnoxious fool that I am.

She returned with three dresses in size 16 and all of them looked really, really good.

I mean, I looked HOT.

I could see the look in Dave's eye, that he was appreciating all the sequinned junk in my trunk and I thought about sending Sam off to a babysitter's for a few hours, if you get my drift...

All the dresses looked so great. I couldn't decide.

Then the saleslady said there was one more I could try (it's the one pictured in the Addition Elle ad, above), so she went and got a black sequinned strapless number. I tried it on and it was fabulous – but IT WAS TOO BIG.

The saleslady said, "there's so much extra room in the back that, if I wanted to, I could look down the back of this dress and see your underwear."

Good thing I had on decent ones.

So she went and fetched a size 14.

"No way," I sez to Dave and Sam, "that size 14 is gonna fit me. It's going to be WAY too big."
"You never know," sez Dave.

I tried it on and IT FIT PERFECTLY.



"I'll take it!" I hooted.

Then I went and got some fancy jewellery and some fancy high heels. I haven't worn high heels for YEARS.

Am feeling like the hottest thing on two legs, baby.

There is lotsa sizzle in my whizzle.

There's a train a-coming and I'm hotter than a two-pistol papa.

I'm a-putting the Cat back in Cathy 'cause I'm rocking the Sex Kitten.


Friday, November 18, 2011

29,885 words and I'm so grumpy!

Dear Diary:

What on earth is wrong with me? I am SO grumpy!

I woke up feeling perfectly fine yesterday but the minute I got to work people started ticking me off. Nobody was doing everything different than they usually did – it was just me, being grumpy. Like capital G Grumpy. Like a bear with a sore arse wasn't as grumpy as me yesterday.

There's this guy at my work – let's call him Gilligan. Well, old Gilligan works in a different office than me and we hardly ever have any dealings with each other. But he has an inexorable radar for when I'm grumpy – it's the only time he ever appears in my chat window. Sure enough, I was in mid-meltdown, the highest (or shall I say lowest) point of my grumpiness, when Gilligan shows up wanting to chat. The last time we chatted I just about ripped him a new one. Today I managed some decorum. Just "yes-sirred" and "no-sirred" my way through the conversation, practically standing on my tongue. Finally he exited the chat and none too soon. He probably thinks I'm the bitch of all time; the "problem employee" who has trouble getting along with people. The truth is I get along with practically everybody but for some reason Gilligan makes my head spin around and spew pea soup.

Last night, for one of the first times since I started National Novel Writing Month, I didn't make my daily word quota. I wrote 700 or so lackadaisical, blah-blah-blah words. It would have been less painful to slash my wrists and bleed onto the page.

This morning I was grumpy with Dave, who only wanted a kiss before he went to work.

Oh man, I have a headache right now.

Like I said, I don't know what's wrong. Probably hormones, or just pure exhaustion. These two and a half weeks of NaNo, while thrillingly productive, are killing me. Even dieting is wearing me down. My whole focus this month has been diet and exercise, writing and working. Those three things fill almost every minute, from the time I roll out of bed to the time I fall in it again, exhausted.

I'm feeling discouraged, at this point.

Last week I registered a 50 pound loss at Weight Watchers, which is THRILLING, but it followed two days of fasting and laxatives in preparation for a colonoscopy. I went for the weigh-in on the tail-end of the enforced fast. I mean, wouldn't you? Why waste two days of not eating? The trouble is, my weight has crept up a couple of pounds since then, simply because my body has rehydrated. I'm being very good this week, trying to stave off the inevitable, but every day I get on the scale and see that my elusive 50 pound victory has not returned. It will. I know.

But I can't help but feel discouraged.

And I'm discouraged because I wrote a pile of shite last night. A very, very small pile of shite.

Thank goodness for this blog, my diary, my journal, my venting board.

Oh, and it snowed yesterday. It's crazy beautiful outside.

Too bad I'm too grumpy to appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The rolling blueberries and Canadian Blog Awards

You know, when you've just rolled out of that sweet, comfy spot in the middle of the double-wide, and you're plopped on the Big White Throne having that morning tinkle, the first and best tinkle of the day, and you suddenly hear an explosion of FECK, FECK, FECK out in the kitchen, that it would be wise to slither back down the hall and stealth your sorry (but narrowing) buttocks back to the sheets. 

You know that – intellectually – right? But asking, "What's wrong, sugar-pie, honey-bunches?" is as irresistible as rubbernecking at a car wreck.

And thus I wandered into the kitchen in my ever increasingly baggy and attractive gotchies to see my husband crawling around the kitchen floor, cursing like a sailor with a pocketful of new cusses. He was picking up blueberries. Tons of blueberries. Two clamshell containers of blueberries, to be exact.

"The feck-feckitty-fecking things EXPLODED," he growled.

Exploding blueberries. 

Huh, I thought. 

I surreptitiously slunk back to the bathroom and ran some water while I hid behind the shower curtain. When the fecking and the growling was done and I heard my honey-bunny's voice say, in its regular happy tone, "Hey, where are you," I came out all casual-like, pretending I was oh-so-busy cleaning something or washing something or, you know, doing unmentionable bathroom stuff.

That's my tip of the day, people. When there's rolling blueberries and fecking in the kitchen, run like the wind. (I didn't get to be my advanced age without wind-running.)

OH. And by the WAY. The lovely Mizz Thang Laurita Miller, who is all that and a bag of partridgeberries, the Queen of all things Writerly in Newfoundland, dropped me a line yesterday to say she discovered we were BOTH nominated in different categories of the Canadian Blog Awards. Luckily we are in different categories because Laurita would kick my butt all the way to Labrador in any kind of contest. Last year she won first prize in the CBA's culture and literature category (big woots to you, Mizz Thang!) so, as you can clearly see, Laurita is a creative force to be reckoned with.

The CBAs are a voting contest. People everywhere are invited to visit the CBA website and vote in each of the many categories. If you would like to vote for Laurita, you can find her Calling Shotgun blog in the Culture and Literature category, as well as Best Blog Post. (She is very deserving in both and I have already voted for her – I hope you do, as well.) 

If you would like to throw a vote my way, go to the Best Personal Blog category. There's a ton of competition in this category and it has been won by the same fellow for the last several years. So if you can find it in your heart to give this champion a run for his money, well, by all means feel free to vote for me!!!!! 

You only get one vote in this leg of the competition, which closes on Christmas Eve. After that, though, the five finalists in each category will go through another round of voting. So if you really want to vote for Laurita and I (me and Laurita? I never get that straight), you can vote again after Christmas.

Thanks to Laurita and Paula and all my friends for the Facebook support. And to Liz, Kelly, John, Debi, Mandy and Debbie, who wrote amazing, touching, wonderful comments on the CBA website (brought me to tears, they did), thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Hugs to you all!

Monday, November 14, 2011

25,613 words and Fifty Pounds

I'm overwhelmed, honestly, just overwhelmed. Other than having a colonoscopy, this day was as perfect as any day ever has a right to be.
I wrote more than 4,000 words this morning, bringing my NaNo word count to 25,613 words.
Tonight I went to Weight Watchers and found out I'd lost seven pounds this week, bringing my total to an absolutely incredible FIFTY POUNDS.
I have no words but my heart is as light as a feather on a spring breeze.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

21,263 words and I'm freakin' hungry!

I'm having a colonoscopy tomorrow afternoon (YES, ANOTHER ONE) so I haven't been able to eat anything all day. Worse, the stupid procedure isn't booked until 3:30 p.m. so that's almost another whole day where I can't eat anything.

HELLLLOOOOOOOOOO????? Doesn't my doctor realize how much I have to EAT? That if I didn't love food so much I wouldn't be going to Weight Watchers?

I think I'm going to die if I don't eat soon.

And – gak – as soon as I finish writing this I have to take the purgative that will ship everything I've eaten for the last week fleeing from my loins like it's hopped up on nitrous.

Feck, feck, feck I hate colonoscopies.

I just had one in the spring and all was FINE. I was FINE. But then I went and got sick a few weeks ago and now the doc wants to have another look. What does he think my colon is, anyway? A movie? With polyps as the starring role? With him as the director? And his probe-thing as, I don't know, Godzilla?

It doesn't help that I just wrote a chapter about corn roasts. Mother of all that is holy, I was drooling as I wrote this:

"Grandpa Bean set up several enormous pots over raging bonfires. They boiled hundreds of cobs of corn, picked fresh that day from his fields and husked by the entire family. They cooked hot dogs, too, big steaming vats of wieners bursting their skins. Grandpa Bean used a hay wagon as a giant table and it was loaded with plates of butter, buns for the weenies, all manner of condiments and bowl after bowl of homemade potato and macaroni salads, coleslaw and baked beans. Weezie loved all of it. She could eat six or seven cobs of corn at a sitting, on top of a couple of hot dogs and a can of orange pop. The butter and salt would drip down her elbows and smear all over her cheeks and she’d care not one whit. And despite being full to bursting she’d find room in the bottom of her hollow leg for a slice or two of homemade pie. Grandma Bean and her daughters and sisters all made pies for the corn roast. The hay wagon groaned with pie. Apple, lemon meringue, raisin, cherry. Just thinking about those pies was enough to provoke drooling in Weezie some 30 years later. "

 Yep, let's write about hot dogs and corn on the cob when you're eating nothing but popsicles and ginger ale.

Those of you who know me will realize that I was using my grandparents' famous corn roasts as inspiration. Hazel and Charles Hooper farmed in Buttonville, Ontario, where Grandpa was the Reeve of Markham and had a lot of friends in political circles. Every year they hosted a corn roast to thank their friends and colleagues and these parties were one of the highlights of my kid year, right up there with Christmas and birthdays. It was the best corn, the best hot dogs, the best everything. It was such a pleasure to remember it today, even though I'd give my left nut right now for even a slice of dry bread.

(No, I don't actually have nuts. That is just an EXPRESSION. Gawd, sometimes people take things so literally!)

The writing, as you can see, is ROUGH. I'm just laying it down, trying to meet my daily word count and not bothering about grammar or spelling or how many freaking times I used the word "big." Just getting the words down, at this point, is good enough for me. The last few days I've been in a bit of a funk. One day I didn't write anything at all and yesterday I only pumped out a few hundred words. Thank goodness I was able to crank out 2,000 or so today. I feel like I'm back in the game.

Still, the halfway mark is coming up tomorrow and, by rights, I should have 25,000 words under my belt. That's 3,737 words by tomorrow night if I want to stay on par.

Is that possible? When my arse end has a date with Dr. Prong? We'll see. Or he'll see... he's the one with the scope.

Gotta go... have to go drink some really disgusting crap now.

(I hate my life sometimes.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day

I can't hear The Last Post without crying.

As a reporter I went to countless Remembrance Day services, taking photos of the veterans and local dignitaries placing wreaths on the cenotaphs while young cadets stood guard. I vowed, every time, that I wouldn't cry, not at this one, but the solemnity of the occasion always got me, always made me think.

The glistening tears of grown men, old men, tears almost freezing on their tired faces, because it is always cold on Remembrance Day, pressed a cold finger on my own heart, made their memories current and real. By the time the sobering strains of The Last Post were played the tears were falling freely down my own face, hidden behind my camera, not naked and brave like they were on the faces of the Legionnaires.

This morning there is snow on the ground, the first snow of the season.

Of course there is.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy at Starbucks

I am so happy right now, so very very happy.

I am at Starbucks in Streetsville, which is a village within a city and it is very chi-chi. Don't tell anyone but I have a humongous cappuccino at my elbow, fully loaded with raw sugar and cinnamon and it's in a happy Let's Merry Christmas paper cup which, as I found on Twitter, John Wiswell hates  ( John Wiswell "Let's Merry"? As though I needed a reason to loathe you, Starbucks.) but frankly it makes me ridiculously happy. I like following John on Twitter, by the way. He's funny.

After two days in a truck stop where I felt like I was gonna get killed any minute, I am relaxed and mellow and listening to Joni Mitchell sing abstract jazz. There are five or six other people working around me, noses buried in their laptops. One girl has pages of music in front of her. She is slender and ethnic, a student of music, with her regal long nose and her long legs and her black coffee. There's a chubby young man in a pink shirt across from me. He is earnestly wearing a Remembrance Day poppy and his MacBook Pro is exactly like mine. There is an older woman from the suburbs, sitting at a stool at the coffee bar. Her hair is like Weezie's, the main character of my novel. She is sitting on her white down-filled ski jacket. I heart her ski jacket but if I had it it would be filthy within the first hour of use. Maybe the first half hour.

There is no Starbucks where I live. No happy Christmas cups. No earnest young men in poppies or regal-nosed music students. I want to buy a mug to take home with me, to remember how creative I felt sitting with the other laptoppers, listening to Joni, eating the cinnamon-sugar foam off my cappuccino with the slim wooden stir stick, the shiv of the Starbucks set.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I am like Hugh Grant

Today I am Hugh Grant in that movie Two Weeks Notice. This hotel is my home and I am running around here like I own the joint, which I do, for the next day and a half.

Except I can't, by rights, call it a hotel because it is a motel. Actually it is a glorified truck stop.

I was all excited about going to Mississauga for two glamourous days in a spa-like writing sanctuary while Dave is taking a transmission course at Chrysler and, lo, here I am in the Husky truck-o-rama, full of grizzled, leathered, tattooed truck drivers and enough carbohydrates to to float a rolling turd.

Yup, I look out my window on the fifth floor and there, spread before me like a Freightliner assembly plant, are acres of tractor trailers. The thought has occurred to me that I could go for a "walk" out in the parking lot and maybe make some extra coin. It could pay for one of those nifty polyester-fluff neck rolls they have on sale in the gift shop.

I am, however, making the Best Of It.

This morning I chose a fresh apple over make-your-own-waffles, stale croissants, white toast and canned fruit salad. Then I went to the exercise room and tried out all their equipment. Man, their bike is WAY harder than my bike. I just about popped a gasket on that one. I can just see the headline: Country Bumpkin Found Dead In Puddle Of Sweat In Tacky Truck Stop. Mother Mortified. 

When I was good and stinky I staggered into the pool area, had a lovely swim with the pool all to myself, then an even lovelier hot tub with all the jets pointed at my sore bits – namely the throbbing gluteous maximus on my hiney.

Then I dashed into the truck stop store and picked up a large coffee (free for hotel guests!) and have come back to my freshly cleaned room where I am now drinking coffee and eating dry bran cereal which I brought from home. I also brought yogurt but forgot a spoon. Am thinking of chugging it right out of the squeezable container, although I'm sure Hugh Grant would send up for utensils.

I must write now. Although googling photographs of Mr. Grant is far more entertaining.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

14,235 words, 43 pounds and the hunt

I was all worried about gaining at the Weight Watchers weigh-in last night but I was down a pound and a half, bringing my total to 43 pounds.

I have a sort of losing buddy at WW – she has lost the same amount as me and has about the same to lose so we've made a bit of a pact. Both of us aren't even thinking of our big goal – it's just too depressing to think about. But we've got our eyes on the 50 pound prize. I was thinking last night, wow, only seven more pounds and I hit the big 5-0. Remarkable, really.

It's like participating in NaNo – I can't possibly think of writing 50,000 words in one month, but when I focus on the present I know it's possible to write 1,667 words in one day.

One pound, one word, one step at a time.

Here's another quote from my new favourite book The War of Art, in which author Steven Pressfield compares his writing day to going hunting:

"The sun isn't up yet; it's cold, the fields are sopping. Brambles scratch my ankles, branches snap back in my face. The hill is a sonofabitch but what can you do? Set one foot in front of another and keep climbing. 
"An hour passes. I'm warmer now, the pace has got my blood going. The years have taught me one skill: how to be miserable. I know how to shut up and keep humping. This is a great asset because it's human, the proper role for a mortal. It does not offend the gods, but elicits their intercession. My bitching self is receding now. The instincts are taking over. Another hour passes. I turn the corner of a thicket and there he is, the nice fat hare I knew would show up if I just kept plugging."

Monday, November 7, 2011

12,112 words and 40 million calories

What is up with feeling ravenous while I'm writing?

As you know I've been going to Weight Watchers for a while and I've been doing pretty good, if I do say so myself – and, of course, I do. Last week I broke the 40 pound mark – down 41.5 pounds in total since the end of July. Which is awesome, I know. But I was starting to feel I had this diet thing licked. I knew what I was doing.

Unfortunately since I started National Novel Writing Month last week I've been so hungry I could eat the arse end out of a skunk. Maybe two skunks. Those two up there are looking pretty arse-a-licious.

I sit down to write every night and, about halfway through, I am craving carboyhydrates so bad I run out of the kitchen and find the most fattening thing we have on hand. Fortunately, that's only melba toast, but still. An entire package of melba toast is not On Plan.

I thought that maybe heavy duty thinking burns more calories but, alas, apparently that's not so. I did a quick Google search this morning and found an interesting article on the Scientific American website –Science of Snacks: Why Thinking Makes You Hungry.

It's a terrific article – funny, too. But here's the money quotes, for me:

A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine contends that intellectual work—that’s right, I’m calling writing this stuff, ya know, intellectual—induces a big increase in caloric intake. The research had 14 Canadian students do three things at different times: sit and relax; complete a series of memory and attention tests; and read and summarize a text. After 45 minutes at each task, the kids were treated to an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. Because Canada has a truly advanced code of human-subject research ethics.

Each session of intellectual work required the burning of only three more calories than relaxing did. But when the students hit the buffet table after the text summation, they took in an additional 203 calories. And after the memory and attention tests, the subjects consumed another 253 calories. Blood samples taken before, during and after the activities found that all that thinking causes big fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels. And because glucose fuels the neurons, a transitory low level in the brain may signal the stomach to get the hands to fill up the mouth, even though the energy actually spent has gone up just a hair. The researchers note that such “caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact that we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic.”

Crap, eh? 

And here I thought I'd be all skinny when I went to my Weight Watchers meeting tonight, because my brain had burned all these calories. In all honesty, I'm not expecting any miracles on the scale tonight. This might even be the first week I've gained. I hope not, but those melba toast do punch a wallop when you're practically inhaling them.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

9,851 words and weirdness

I just realized I had forgotten to update my word count on the Nanowrimo website.

Can't have that.

So I proceeded to add up what I'd written this afternoon. Part of it was finishing up one chapter and the rest was well into another chapter. I added up all the words and they totalled 1,960.


How freakin' weird is THAT?

The War of Art

Are you filled with self-loathing?

Do you feel uncomfortable calling yourself a writer? Or a painter? Or whatever creative activity it is you want to try but you're numb with indecisiveness and paralyzed with fear?

That's my hand up in the air, waving furiously. Yours too?

Then you need to read the book I'm reading. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (author of The Legend of Bagger Vance) is the best, skinniest, smartest smack in the face I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It's like a cuff upside the head. It's like Cher in Moonstruck slapping Nicholas Cage in the face and yelling


I was angsting, as usual, at my writers' group meeting when my friend Dawn suddenly stood up and said, "I have a book you need to read," and she went and fetched The War of Art.

Wow, Dawn, I owe you big, my friend. This was exactly the common sense kick in the arse I so desperately needed.

The point of the book is that we human beings constantly battle Resistance, a soul-sucking internal device that stops us from doing the creative things we were born to do. This tiny tome is not a typical self-help book, which I would loathe. This is just straight talk from someone who knows what he's talking about.

Here's one of my favourite sections, entitled Resistance and Self-Doubt:

"Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), 'Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?' chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death."

Friday, November 4, 2011

6,525 words

Good morning!

Thank gawd it's Friday. I feel that TGIF in the very marrow of my bones. One more day of working all day and writing half the night then I get to sleep in. Wow, am I looking forward to that.

I knew fitting Nanowrimo into my schedule was going to be hard on this old bird and I was right. The writing itself isn't hard – it's the pervading fatigue that's hard. Oh well. Enough whining. I get to sleep in tomorrow. I'm looking forward to writing in the daytime, not sitting hunched over my laptop until after 10 o'clock at night, then lying sleepless staring at the ceiling, too wound up and senseless to fall unconscious.

When I did sleep last night, man, did I sleep. I had the weirdest dream, too. I dreamt my friend, Vic, was trying to talk some sense into me about something. (Probably Nanowrimo!) Obviously I wasn't listening so, to get my attention, she threw water in my face. When that didn't work, she poured a pot full of cold Campbell's Chunky Chicken Soup on my head.

Oh. Talk about gross. It was slimy and, yes, chunky and you could have eaten the potato pieces off my head with a fork. I was SO MAD in my dream. There was soup all over the house! Soup pieces in the bathtub as I tried to clean up. Soup in my parents' bed (don't ask me why it was my parents' bed - hopefully this wasn't a Freudian dream). I had to strip their bed and wash it, wash the floors, wash my clothes. I woke up pissed off and exhausted from all the work.

Wait'll I see that Vic. She's in BIG trouble.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

4,157 words

No wooting tonight. Too tired to woot.

Still, I got another chapter done. I didn't feel like it, I swear each word was torture tonight, but the Nanowrimo pledge was pushing me forward and I managed to get the daily minimum done.

So far I'm pleased with what I'm writing.

To me it's not about the word count – it's all about continuing to write the very best that I can. The chapter I wrote tonight was a tough one to write and I think tomorrow's chapter will be even tougher. These are hard times for my heroine, the poor beleaguered Weezie Polk. It is, after all, always darkest before the dawn and Weezie's dawn is still a long way off. It's getting closer though. I have hope that soon the tide will turn and I'm getting more excited for her every day.

Get well wishes to the girls in my writing group. Poor Sasha and Dawn are down for the count and dear Paula is nursing her sick husband back from a frightening health ordeal. Linda is the only one of us currently joining me in this Nanowrimo insanity and I thank my stars that she is. Linda is ball of positive energy and the more I know her, the more I appreciate her. Take care Paula, Dawn and Sasha and good writing vibes to the unstoppable Mizz Linda.

I'd also like to say thank you to my other bloggy friends who pop by occasionally with cheery words of encouragement. It's fantastic to have you in my corner.

Kisses to you all.

P.S. My bloggy friend Denise (better known to you all as L'Aussie Writer) kindly asked me to guest over at her Romantic Friday Writers website. The topic was Friday Flash and, even though I haven't written a Flash for some time, there's nothing that warms my heart more. You can check it out HERE. Thanks Denise! Such an honour!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2,745 words!



Can't talk now. Am wooting around the kitchen... look at me woot, shaking my thang. See that thang? I got some junk in my trunk, baby, and it's shaking, look at that thang shake!

FIRST day of National Novel Writing Month is DONE and I have slammed 2,745 words down on that keyboard, surpassing my goal of 2,000 words. THIS, in spite of a busy day at the office!

I got involved with NaNo at the last minute, only because a couple of other girls in my writers' group (we are all girls, even though we're as old as Alan Davidson's fez, and we always will be) were signed up and I thought, yes, this is what I need to get my novel finished. A primo kick in the ass deadline with tons of moral support.

So far, so good.

Like a recovering alcoholic, I am taking this 50,000 word challenge one day at a time.

And today was sooooooooooooooo suwheet ...