NaNoWriMo Here I Come

“In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” ~ Anon

That sums up my life up in a sentence.

In light of this, and also a little slogan I spotted elsewhere – if you do nothing, you get nothing – I have signed up for this year’s NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.

50,000 words in 30 days. What have I done?

I’ve been circling NaNoWriMo for years, always with the same novel in mind – one that started out as a children’s book and has developed into a YA novel as my offspring have aged. I’m talking like it’s a physical thing, this book, but of course, it’s all still in my head.

I’ve always stalled when it’s come to NaNoWriMo, telling myself November is a really busy month. It will be this year, too. However, life just keeps getting more complicated, time allotted to writing gets swallowed up by other things and this book isn’t getting written. So, I’ve decided to go for it.

Maybe it will turn out to be the basis of something proper and real, maybe the process will just get the story out of my head and allow room for something else to move in there.

I will have to quash my inner rigorous self-editor and stare down the anti-writing gremlins. I’ll have to stick my fingers in my ears and eyes and sing la-la-la very loudly at all those writers who are signed up to write two or more times this word count… It’s that book shop scenario all over again.

Rag Tugby and Baby Cheese

Why can’t I type the word the without typing teh and having to go back and swap teh letters?  Word auto corrects it and so I have never learnt to type the word properly, it would seem.

It’s not just typing, though.  Speech causes problems, too.

Someone told me, the other day, that she keeps calling the excellent series ‘Breaking Bad’, Baking Bread.

I have an issue with Tag Rugby which becomes Tug Ragby, Rag Tugby, Rug Tagby,by which point the conversational thread is gone and my daughter is despairing of me.  She’s one to talk.

When small, she was given a fancy dress outfit for Christmas.  It was a Barbie ‘Princess and The Pauper’ themed dress (also played a tune – classy stuff).  Anyway, the little one couldn’t say Pauper, so the outfit was known as the Princess Porker dress, ultimately shortened to Princess Pork. Cut to Barbie shuddering in horror.

The same child had a problem with Jesus, too.  He was known for quite some time in our house as the Baby Cheesus, which became, you’ve guessed it, Baby Cheese.

The Great Antiprocrastinator

No, I haven’t gone all anti procrastination.  I vowed this blog would never be about ways to stop procrastinating, mainly because the first point I would make would be to stop reading blogs and get on with something more important.

I’m still on the subject of Rome.  As if the architecture wasn’t enough to make a great procrastinator feel bad, we visited an exhibition of Leonardo Da Vinci’s designs.

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That man had a finger in many a (pizza) pie – anatomist, artist, scientist, city planner, engineer, weapon designer, architect, musician, sculpter.  Not to mention, vegetarian.

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How amazing to have such a mind, to be capable of doing so much and seeing so many possibilities.  So many things he had foresight of, that have taken the rest of the world hundreds more years to develop – flying machines and medicine, among others.

design for a tank

design for a tank

I wonder if he ever slept?  He certainly didn’t waste hours wittering about invented problems and insecurities and thinking endlessly about all the stuff he wanted to do but not actually doing it.  I bet he never had a ‘To do’ list.

He is the father of all anti-procrastination and inspires in me both the desire to get on with it and a sad apathy.

It’s much the same when I go into a book shop.  I think: ” Wow! Look at all these books. So many people have managed to write a book (or several) and get them published.  If they can do it, there’s no reason why I can’t.”

The other part of me is thinking: “Oh, no!  Look at all these books.  They’ve used up all the ideas that ever existed.  How am I ever going to come up with something original?  There’s no hope.”

Sadly, the latter usually wins the argument.

 

When in Rome

002I was in Rome during July; an overwhelming sense-fest of orange and blue sweatiness. 34 degrees, and sightseeing, trailing a family best described as freckled with a hint of ginger. Not overly relaxing.

The Colosseum sat at the end of our road like a gigantic lopsided toad. As we passed it, the great procrastinator within me marvelled at the get-up-and-go of those who had the original vision and energy to build it – Vespasian and his sons. Its first incarnation was completed in ten years, utilising the new Roman invention – concrete. As we loitered in its shadow, I wondered aloud, naively, how this tribute to civilisation had been physically built in the heat that was turning us pallid persone inglesi into floppy wet flannels.

The answer was “slaves”. 100,000 prisoners of the Jewish War were brought to Rome and provided the manual labour to build the venue, where more slaves, Christians and criminals died horribly before a jeering, cheering crowd.  Not so civilised.

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Now, looking down on the Colosseum was like staring into a giant mouth, full of broken teeth, stretched out in an eternal bloody scream.

But, as if to make amends for its brutal past, the Colosseum has become a symbol of the global campaign to end capital punishment. Italy abolished the death penalty in 1948 and calls on others to do the same. The Colosseum’s night time illuminations change from everyday white to gold whenever the death penalty is abolished anywhere in the world, or when a person condemned to the death penalty is released or has their sentence commuted.

Civilisation lives to fight another day.