Saturday, October 29, 2011

National Novel Writing Month

Monday night at Midnight, as Halloween night turns to the day of the dead, National Novel Writing Month begins.  Know colloquially as NaNoWriMo, the goal during the month is to write a draft of a novel - about 50,000 words - in one month.  To break it down, that's 1,667 words a day, or about five double spaced pages of writing a day.

I first heard of NaNoWriMo from a writer friend , Beth, in 2008, and eagerly signed up, not knowing what I was getting myself into.  After a rough start, include two days of no words in the first week (damn you, work travel) and an average of 3000 words the last four days, I crossed the finish line with my novel Four Corners. Is Four Corners good?  God, no.  Will I let you read it?  Hell, no.  I've barely made it all the way through myself.  Will I let you read a couple chapters that since NaNoWriMo have turned into short stories?  Yes.  Will this lead me to write the Great American Novel.  I hope so.

I've done NaNoWriMo every year since, and 2011 is no exception.  So far I have hit the 50,000 word goal each year, and have written more than the previous year each time as well, (50,188 last year).  The point isn't to have a perfectly written novel to shop around on December 1st, but to  stop making excuses, stop putting off writing and put your butt in the chair and write.  Each year my NaNoWriMo writing gets better, but there still are some pages with "I can't thing of anything to write" typed over and over.  More importantly, since I started doing this I've done a lot more writing during the other eleven months of the year.  Hell, one of my stories even got accepted for publication this year.  Hopefully someday it will come out.

So, to my point, forgive me if I ignore you this month.  For most of you, this won't be different from any other month.  Facebook?  I will be hiding from you, you giant time thief.  Fantasy football?  Sorry, not gonna spend a lot of time wondering whether I should start Dallas's defense over the Giants.  Work people?  I might be hard to find at lunch.  Wife and kids?  Of course I'll still pay attention to you, but if it looks like my mind is wandering, it's because I am trying to figure out what fires I'm going to throw at my main character to make him interesting.  If I come up with anything worth sharing as I furiously write in November, I'll share it here.  If you have any plot ideas, feel free to share them, even if they are terrible.  Desperate times usually set in around November 11th.

For more info on NaNoWriMo, please see their website at  If you are interested, sign up or donate to their young writers program.

Thank you all and see you in December.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Footloose (The Original)

I have a confession.  You probably won't believe me knowing that I am a child of the 80s.  I grew up on MTV.  I remember Friday Night video fights, MTV World Premier videos, back when they actually played videos.  I remember getting our first VCR, which cost like $450.  I remember bad neon sweaters, hair bands, wearing tube socks with the colored bands pulled up to my knees.  I remember a time before the Simpsons were on TV.

But I've never seen 'Footloose.'

"What?" you are asking.  "Mike, how is that possible?  Everyone saw 'Footloose.'  Everyone loved it.  Kids dancing, fighting against repressive adults, Kevin Bacon in that white t-shirt.

I've seen parts of it.  The beginning, I think, when Kevin Bacon's character leaves Chicago.  And I remember seeing John Lithgow in the movie.  And boy do I know the music.  You couldn't swing a dead cat around in 1984 without hearing that friggin; Kenny Loggins song, which, you have to admit, had some terrible lyrics.

Oowhee, Marie shake it, shake it for me
Whoa, Milo c'mon, c'mon let's go

I bring it up because I saw the trailer for the new Footloose.  In continuing Hollywood's inability to come up with something new, they decided to remake 'Footloose' for a new generation.  I'm not sure if the story changed at all or if they re-shot the original scene for scene.  How would I know.  I've never seen it.

And it's not that I never wanted to see it, but I just never did.  By the time everyone had seen it, it was too late.  I'd seen the Kenny Loggins video enough.  I figure the entire move was like that.  Footloose lived forever on cable but if it was on TV, my friends would skip past it because they had seen it so many times.  I couldn't ask them to stop and let me see it.  They thought I had by then because I never told them.

So if there is anyone else out there who hasn't seen 'Footloose' please let me know.  We can start a support group.

There is another movie I've watched a couple times but never seen the ending.  Does anyone know how 'Joe Versus the Volcano' ends?  The last scene I remember is Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were about to jump into the volcano but then our cable went out.  I think it was back in 1992.  How does it end?