Sunday, November 28, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Finish Line

I successfully concluded my first National Novel Writing Month with 50,000-plus words of Greek goddesses frolicking in Northampton (and copulating with mortals), lovers dealing with memory loss, and other adventures. Thanks to friends and family members, I also raised $182 for the Office of Letters and Light. A huge thank-you to everyone who cheered me on! My first novel is now well underway.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Boston Business Litigation Haiku

That's right, you just read the words "litigation" and "haiku" in the same headline. A friend of my mine who is a lawyer forwarded me a weekly email that summarizes newly filed business law complaints in the Boston area. This week the summaries were written as haiku. Those clever lawyers!

Judge Woodlock orders
Patent case filed as new action.
Facebook, Inc. complies.

Shareholders complain
One billion from Oracle
Not nearly enough.

Sexual comments from boss.
One-Fifty-One B.

Bank's money flies off
Because of check kiting scheme.
Suit on policy.

Busted bottle caps
Customer cancels contract
Is Hood's claim covered?

Fast food franchisee
Defaults and leaves guarantors
Liable for rent.

Corporate raiders
Who cause contract terminus
Must the piper pay.

Junk facsimiles
So Twentieth Century
And illegal too.

Welch loses big trial
Ads for juice found misleading.
Coverage denied.

Planet Fitness gyms
Owe millions to their lender.
Repossession sought.

In the actual email (meant for actual lawyers) there was additional information (useful to lawyers) such as the attorney's name and a link to the complaint. But we're just concerned with the words here at Dragon's Meow. Thanks to the folks at Yurko, Salvesen & Remz, PC for writing these.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Calculus Notebooks and Baby Clothes

My grandmother's house has an attic full of memories: boxes of innumerable letters, notebooks, photographs, and baby clothes from three generations. Watching my mother go through these items over the past few months has been an education in memory and attachment. With each box, she relives a moment or a year or a decade. Everything that gets thrown away must first be exclaimed over and/or mourned. Some things, like the letters Gram wrote to my parents before I was born, Mom has passed on to me, so now I've started my own memory collection in my attic.

Going through old things has weird effects on the space/time continuum. It's hard for me to imagine my mother as a teenager struggling through chemistry and calculus, yet there are the notebooks to prove it. Actually, it's not that I can't imagine her as a teenager--I can't really believe she was once a teenager.

It's different for her--she can't imagine not being that teenager anymore, alive in the pages of those old notebooks. As she tears the pages from their spiral bindings and adds them to the recycling bin, she says, "I feel like I'm tearing apart my life." And yet it needs to be done.

My baby clothes--most of which are musty and stained and not worth giving to a thrift store--are still vivid and colorful in her mind as she holds them up, saying, "I loved you in this dress ... you looked so beautiful in this color." Me? She can't be talking about me, 5'10" tall and 31 years old. I was never small enough to fit into that. And how could I have lain on that embroidered blanket or worn that handmade flannel nightgown if I don't remember it? How was that me?

In the boxes of the baby clothes--most of which were either bought at Sears or sewn by my grandmother (who was quite talented, although her designs were essentially practical, and usually made of flannel since as a baby I lived in Maine)--were a few items from an earlier era: finely worked crocheted bibs with colorful decorations, and dresses with lace collars and hems. These, according to my mother, must have been made by my great-grandmother. A professional dressmaker, she took the concept of handmade to an entirely different level.

My idea of a thoughtful baby gift is taking the time to go to Target and pick out something in a color the kid (or parent) likes. Handmade dresses or clothes like the ones my great-grandmother made would probably cost a hundred dollars--more than I'd spend on a dress for myself! So much has shifted in how we spend our time, money, and labors--individually and globally as well. My idea of green or budget conscious involves shopping at a thrift store, recycling someone else's best guess at a good buy from Target.

There were many more baby-girl pink items in the baby clothes boxes than I've worn in the 30 years since then. By the time I was old enough to verbalize my desires, I tended more toward red and blue. We also found among the baby clothes my first-ever pair of shoes (these resulted in many exclamations). For some reason I was relieved that they were cute and maroon. I'd wear them now, if only they were the right size.

Monday, November 1, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

This November, the nonprofit Office of Letters and Light will host National Novel Writing Month. It's a global writing challenge for which I'll spend November (and portions of my sanity!) writing a 50,000-word book in just 30 days.

In addition to my writerly duties, I'm raising money to help the Office of Letters and Light continue to put on free creative writing programs for kids and adults in classrooms, communities, and libraries around the world.

Every dollar I raise will keep my spirits high as I write my way towards the realization of my creative dreams. More importantly, contributions will help National Novel Writing Month and its Young Writers Program build a more engaged and inspiring world.

Thank you so much for your support of my writing! Support in spirit from my fellow low-income writers is much appreciated as well.


Some things I'll be keeping in mind this month:

"Every word on your blog is a word not in your book." - Sherman Alexie

"You do, or you do not. There is no 'try'." - Yoda

"Our ability to achieve is proportionate to our inner will, and we never know what is possible until we experience the impossible!" - Heidi Thomson