Sunday, November 2nd, 2003 • No Comments on NaNoWriMo

I got a late start on the NaNoWriMo project, but I did write almost 1500 words tonight.  It’ll be interesting to see if I actually make the 50,000 word count and if what I’ve written is any good.  I’m hoping this story will hold my interest for a month.  Since it’s a YA story and something completely new to me, I think it will.  We’ll see. 

I’m not sure how much of this so-called book I’ll be posting here, but if anyone is truly interested in reading some bad writing, tonight’s efforts are below.

29 days to go.  Onward.


There was a funky odor coming from the back seat of the car and I was pretty sure it wasn’t my sneakers.  I waited for my mother to notice, but she was concentrating on driving.  Which meant that she had her hands at the proper ten and two positions and was peering through her goofy black framed glasses at the road in front of us.  The Road to Nowhere, as I’d dubbed it. 
“Mother,” I said, in the tone that I knew was guaranteed to get a response.  “Oh Mother Darling.”
She looked over at me, her nose wrinkling and the glasses sliding down a notch.  “Julia, do not use that tone with me.  You know how I hate it.”
I sighed and tried to keep from screaming.  My life had turned into a crazy nightmare and my mother was concerned about my tone?  And they say teenagers have screwed up priorities.
“Something reeks and I think it’s Tatiana.”
Tatiana was a Yorkshire terrier and my mother’s pride and joy.  My mother is a dog groomer who also shows dogs around the east coast.  I hate dogs.  I’m a cat lover.  Why have some mangy mutt slobbering and stinking up the place when you can have a perfectly clean cat who not only grooms herself but also has bathroom habits that don’t require going outside?  My opinion of Mom’s raggedy little dog also had something to do with the fact that Tatiana despised me with everything she had in her little four pound body. 
Mom practically slammed on the breaks at that news.  “Tatiana?  What’s the matter with her?” she all but screeched as she tried to peer into the back of the mom wagon for a glimpse of her precious pooch.  The car— if you can call a twenty-year old station wagon a car— swerved onto the shoulder of the highway, throwing up gravel.
“Yikes, Mom, watch the road will you?  I’d hate to die before I’ve even started college.”
“Sorry,” she muttered, hands back in their proper driving positions.  “What’s wrong with Tatiana?  Should I pull off at the next rest stop?”
“Should it bother me that you’re more concerned about your mutt than my poor stomach that has been growling for two hours?”
“Julia.”  Sometimes my mother can say my name in a certain way that makes me shut up.  This was one of those times.  “What is wrong with Tatiana?”
“I don’t know.  Maybe it was that weird soy dog food you gave her.  Maybe she has gas.”
Mom made a tsking noise.  “Poor baby.  This move is really traumatizing her.”
“Traumatizing her?” 
Mom swerved again.  “Julia Katherine!  Stop screaming before you make me have an accident.”
I noticed it was okay for her to scream as much as she wanted and swerve all over the road trying to see if her dog was all right, but let me so much as raise my voice about a whisper and I was getting the middle-name treatment.  I didn’t bother to point out the unfairness of it all.  What was the point?  I’d been screaming about fair play since my father moved out of our house and into his girlfriend’s apartment three months ago.  Who was I to ask for fairness?  Just the fifteen year old daughter of a messy divorce being forced to move from her very cool house in Miami to some little shack in the woods in Virginia.
“Julia, are you listening to me or are you feeling sorry for yourself again?”
I hate it when my mother reads my mind.  She does that way too much, which makes me worry about what will happen when I finally have a boyfriend.  I mean, a real boyfriend.  A few dates with Josh didn’t make him my boyfriend, no matter what anyone said.  Especially since he was now hanging out on the beach with my best friend while I was on the Road to Nowhere.
“The only thing I’m feeling is hungry.  Can we please stop at a Mickey Dee’s or even KFC?  I need sustenance.”  When she didn’t even bother to respond, I added, “And you can check on Princess Mop Dog back there and see what’s crawled up her butt.”
“Mom, ” I interrupted.  “C’mon, we need a break.  Grandma isn’t going anywhere and we’re almost to the state line anyway, you said so yourself.”
My mother sighed heavily, which meant yes.  It was a small little beacon of joy in my otherwise depressing and dreary world.
Despite my meager attempts to drag out our McDonald’s stop, we were back on the road in thirty minutes, Tatiana sitting in my lap.  Apparently, being cooped up in her state-of-the-art dog carrier had made her so unhappy she’d barfed.  I knew how she felt.  I wanted to hurl myself.
“Check the map, Julia, I know we turn up here somewhere.”
I studied the road map over Tatiana’s fluffy little head.  My father is a geography and history teacher, so I’ve learned a little bit about map reading.  More than my mother has, obviously, since the woman couldn’t find her way out of a Winn Dixie without a guide dog.
“Make a right onto Bluebell Way,” I said.  “Gag me.  Bluebell Way?”
“It’s a pretty name.”
“If you live in Disney World.”  I folded the map.  “Then go around the next curve and turn left onto Marigold Crossing.”
“That’s her house,” my mother said excitedly.
‘House’ seemed a strange word for something that was as big as the county library and as decrepit as mother’s high school cheerleading uniform.  “You’re joking, right?  We’re going to live in that monstrosity?”
My mother was oblivious to my disdain.  She pulled up in front of the house and killed the engine.  All I could hear was Tatiana panting.
“This is it, Julia.  The first day of the rest of our lives.”
“Funny, but I was pretty happy with my old life.”  I pushed Tatiana off my lap and into the floorboard.  “Remember that life, Mom?  We had our own house and neighbors I’ve known since I started preschool.  And I had a best friend and a spot on the drill team and a boyfriend.”
“I didn’t think Josh was your boyfriend.”  Leave it to my mother to ignore everything else and focus on the boy stuff.  “Since when is he your boyfriend?”
“Since never,” I said, climbing out of the car.  “But he could have been my boyfriend.  Could have been if you hadn’t gotten all familial and decided we needed to move to the middle of nowhere and live like hillbillies.”
My mother didn’t get a chance to respond because the front door of the house opened and my grandmother came out.  Only, I couldn’t be entirely sure it was my grandmother since she seemed to have dyed her hair some wacky shade of blue and was wearing an enormous feathered hat on her head.
“Land sakes girl, shut your trap before you scare off the critters,” she said.  She came down the front steps slowly, looking at me the way I’d look at last year’s jeans.  “What in heaven’s name are you wearing?”
I looked down at my outfit and shook my head.  What could possibly be wrong with a tank top and jeans?  “What I always where.”
“Hannah, you let the girl go out in public in that getup?  With her bosoms popping out and her hoochie practically showing in those hip hugger jeans?”
“Mother, you know that’s an exaggeration.”
I couldn’t help but laugh.  My mother was using the exact same tone with my grandmother that I used with her.  Talk about double standards.  Sheesh.
“Never mind, never mind.  Get your butts inside.  I’ve got a pot roast cooking and a fresh pitcher of lemonade.”  Grandma gestured at the house.  “My girls are home, Clyde.”
As I followed my mother and a way-too-happy Tatiana up the porch stairs, I whispered to my mother, “Who’s Clyde?”
My mother just shook her head and kept walking.  “The house.”
It figured that I had given up a life any fifteen year old would kill for just so I could move to the backwoods of Virginia with my mother to live with my crazy grandmother in a house named Clyde.  I decided right then and there I would never forgive my mother for this travesty and should I survive the next two years living with her, I would make sure never to put my own children through the nightmare she’d put me through.
“Thinking bad thoughts about your mama will only get you extra chores,” my grandmother sing-songed over her shoulder.
Leaving my friends behind, moving to the country and living with a barfing dog were all bad enough; did I really have to put up with the mind-reading duo, too?  Apparently, the answer was yes.  Gag me, but I was thinking I might have preferred living with my father and his twenty-six year old girlfriend to this torture.

Posted by Kristina in Writing

Lofty goals

Friday, October 31st, 2003 • No Comments on Lofty goals

I have a couple of goals for November, besides consuming large quantities of turkey and stuffing.

First off, I will be going quietly insane along with a few thousand other writers as we take part in National Novel Writing Month.  The goal for NaNoWriMo (and I just love saying NaNoWriMo) is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.  I have only the sketchiest ideas of what I will be writing, but hopefully plot details will come to me in a dream.  Or some such. 

I’m looking forward to the experience as I have wanted to participate in past NaNoWriMos (this is the fifth year for the program) and have always managed to miss the deadline (convenient, that).  So… this year!  I will be posting bits of my work-in-progress here, for entertainment and a good laugh.  Obviously, with only 30 days to write an entire novel, it will be rough.  Very rough.  I’m planning to write a young adult novel because I’ve never written one before and also because the word count is around 50,000 for the average YA novel.  I’d hate to spend a month writing a book and still have forty thousand words to write before it was finished.  I guess I could make it my goal to write a 90,000 word book in a month, but I think I’ll stick with 50K.  Lofty is one thing, crazy is another.

My other goal for November is to read Virgin Suicides for my newly formed “book club.”  I’m not sure you can call two people reading and discussing the same book a “club,” but that’s what we’re calling it for lack of a better word.  The book was not my choice, but we did use a fair and democratic process for choosing it (which involved an animal skin hat) and, oddly enough, I had chosen Middlesex by the same author as one of my choices.  I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a Pulitzer Prize winner, but I’m glad we’re reading

Virgin Suicides

for one reason—it’s a shorter book.

So, those are my two main goals for November: to write a book and to read a book.  This should be fun.  Or something.

Posted by Kristina in Writing


Friday, October 31st, 2003 • No Comments on Boo!

Happy Halloween!

Let the Christmas season begin…

Posted by Kristina in Musings

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.