Thursday, December 24, 2009

#best 09 "Project"

It's been a very busy year, here at the burton home, filled with projects of all types. I could name a dozen really cool ones, including this blog, which I rescued from years' worth of neglect, and finally became brave enough to use to reveal my life and myself as they really are; unschooling; mindful parenting; projects around the house; strewing joy in the paths of my loved ones....

These are all things that have added dimension, challenge, and satisfaction to me, this year.

My favorite, though, was deciding, very last-minute, to participate in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writers' Month. The challenge was to write a 50,000 woed first draft of a novel during the month of November. I committed myself to the project in late October, having a basic plot and a few pages of notes jotted in the journal I keep in my purse.

And, remembering that the entire thing was my choice, with no penalty at all for failing beyond what I would impose on myself, helped me to look on the process of creation as an opportunity - to believe in myself, express myself, tell the stories that have lived and breathed within my head fro more than half my life.

I wrote every day, without stress or any sense of forcing myself. I wanted to write - the story was pouring forth like a fresh, clear spring, almost without effort. There were days when life was busy or the children needed me more than they generally do, when I did not find as much time, because I had decided at the outset that I was not going to pursue the goal at the expense of family harmony.

There was no time to second-guess what was filling the pages. I made only very minor revisions and corrections. There really was no room, really, even to think. Just as well - my characters know their story better than I do, anyway!

I reached my 50000 word on November 24. I've written another 7000 words or so since then...I felt a need, aftrer such an intense focus on my fiction writing, to get back into the stream-of-consciousness essays that make up this blog, and to catch up with somewhat neglected unschooling chats and lists, which are still a vital lifeline for me as I learn more about how to be a gentle partner in my children's lives.

Also, Jim and the kids had shared me with my story for a month, and they, too, needed more of me. December is, after all, a big month in their young lives. So I put the focus on family, with trips to Saratoga Springs for the Victorian Street Walk, and to a local business, Quick response, which puts on a free light show and Christmas party each year. Most wonderful for Jeremiah and Annalise, parking was in a church lot about a quarter mile away, and the shuttles were school buses. It reminded me of my mother's initial protest to our decision to homeschool. "But what if Jeremiah wants to ride a school bus?" But school wasn't needed to settle the mystery of school buses.

Still, the book will be waiting. Winter is upon us, here, and I was hovering at the edge of a breathlessly tense climactic buildup. We've planned a simple Christmas, and there will be time, when presents have been opened and are being explored, when I may fill the delightful lull with my own imaginings turned loose, once more.....

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