Monday, December 5, 2011

A Little Closer to that Elusive Cat

December 5: Reverb Broads Prompt
What is the one thing you finally did this year that you always wanted or said you were going to do, but in your heart of hearts never thought you would actually do?
Amy (Me) 

I thought that since this was my prompt and that I knew what I was going to write about this was going to be an easy post to write. I think I may have been wrong, but only because I realized it was going to take a different path than I had originally intended.

First off, I was going to write about participating in this year's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).   As I say in the About section of this blog, I have always intended to write a book named A Cat Named Frank.  Now, I've had that title floating around since I was in high school.  I had chosen the name basically because I liked out it sounded. Also, at the time, I think we actually had a cat* named, well, Frank.

I started this blog just about a year ago.  Well, I started my Blogspot site about a year ago, motivated by Ms. Ronning's Reverb 10 posts.  I never really got around to writing those posts, but I did get around to writing this blog.  Anyway, from Ms. Ronning's blog, I ended up at Ms. Sands' blog and eventually ran into NaNoWriMo.  Writing a book in a month.  I could do that. But, I never said anything about it to anyone.

In October, I got an email from my mom.
"You probably have seen this website but I'm passing it on from Ingrid." -
Yes, I had seen it, I was surprised my mom would have thought to send it to me. Sadly, upon query, my mom isn't able to remember why she sent it on.**

Now, I don't know about the relationships the rest of you have with your moms, but even when something is somewhat obliquely referenced by my mom, that's almost as good as command.  She's a wee bit bossy, you see, and it is usually easier to just do what she asks, even when she hasn't actually asked. In other words, by sending me the website it seemed that my mom was saying, "Get on with it. Write your book. In November. Of this year." Though really, that doesn't really sound like her.

And then Troy told me that I had to say I was NaNoWriMo-ing in order to prod Beth*** into participating.  He mentioned some other of my former co-workers who were also going to participate.  What he didn't know.  Or at least I think he didn't know, was that I was already thinking about participating myself.

And the days ticked ever closer to November 1.

I've tried to write A Cat several times before.  I've tried to write outlines.  I've tried to map out a story.  I've maybe managed to get to two pages.  Monette has said we should write a cheesy romance novel together. But really, I never truly thought I had a novel in me.  I thought it was vanity idea. I pretty much figured I was going to end up writing things like "Bringing RPL2 back into service in accordance with SOP xx-xxxxxx will require that the DCP and RMP are approved and all assays pass the 10-microliter testing" for the rest of my life. BORING (but it pays the bills).

Then November arrived and I started writing an actual story.  At the end of the month I had over 50,000 words of gibberish that with careful editing will become something****. I am surprised and thrilled with myself that I actually wrote it, especially since based on my previous attempts I never really thought it was going to happen. 

It isn't great.  It made me realize I still have a lot of pent up anger about losing my job this past March and the circumstances around it.  I now know that I can sit and write for hours and pull a story out of the air. I know what authors are talking about when they talk about their characters taking on a life of their own. I know I have a lot of editing to do. But in the words of the Mommy Person, you "can't edit if you don't have anything written." It made me realize there are a lot of people around me who have believe in me more than I believe in me.

Here's a big giant thank you to Mom, Troy, Kassie, Emily, Beth, Melanie, Astella, Gretchen, and the Husband for your support this last month. Maybe someday I'll even let you read part of it.

If you're curious, the post entitled "Snippet" contains just that.

*I'm a farm kid.  Farm cats aren't known for their longevity.  There are certainly some who have passed the test of time, but really, they are just long-tailed phantoms in my mind

**Sadly, it isn't surprising my mom doesn't remember.

***And here's kudos to Beth who works mad crazy hours and still got well into her novel as well!

****Right now as I am writing this part of this post, my husband has finally realized that I will be blogging all month.  He wants to know if you all know that you are preventing me from working on my novel.  For the record, he got thbthththth-ed


  1. I would totally buy a book called A Cat Named Frank! I love the title. Kudos to you for such a big accomplishment.

  2. I had a cat named Trout. Feel free to use him as a sequel. :)

  3. So very proud of you! I couldn't imagine writing a novel....what an amazing accomplishment! :) YAY YOU!!! :)

  4. It takes me forever to write a blog post, let alone an entire I am definitely in awe of you! If Frank needs a fat and lazy friend named Fred, I have one of those :)

  5. You are very welcome, and many kudos on the hard work you've put in -- I can't wait to read the finished work!

    And when it comes time to start thinking about your second novel, here's a great little essay on the subject:

    I once had a cat named Morphine, by the way.

  6. Congrats much on your accomplishment! Some day I'll do this, too. Hopefully :-). In my spare time.
    And though today's prompt is driving me crazy b/c it's a hard one, I really appreciate where it's coming from, and I'm so glad to meet you through our blogging project!!

  7. I can't wait to buy the hardback copy of your book and get it personally signed by the author! I'm so proud of you for doing this and you should be incredibly giddy that you did it! And you are more than welcome. Now can you pressure me to get editing?

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