Finishing Up and Starting New

Well, yesterday was the last day of National Novel Writing Month. And guess what – I finished a 50,000 word story in 30 days. It was definitely down to the wire, and true to my Procrastinat(ive?) Nature, I waited till the very last minute to add over 4,000 words on the last day. I had the story already finished, but hadn’t made the word count requirement. So I kept going back and adding to what was already there. I made it.
I also finished the thing while staying in Austin for a few days, so this blog post is coming at you directly from a very hipster-y coffee shop on East Cesar Chavez on the East side of town. I just saw a dude wearing powder blue coveralls with some kind of straw hat greet some other equally credible hipsters for a meeting of some sort. So I know this place is legit. And just FYI, the cappuccino isn’t too bad.

Looking Backwards
NaNoWriMo ended on November 30th (duh). Which happens to be my Mom’s birthday. Yesterday would have been her 76th birthday, and somehow it was fitting to end this particular story on this particular day. The story I wrote was about a character that showed up in my grief-addled brain after my Mom passed away in 2011. This kick-ass-superhero character was rolling around in my psyche for a while and finally found a way out thanks to NaNoWriMo. I don’t know if anyone will ever read this “novel” besides me, but that’s OK. Maybe she exists because she can do all the things that I couldn’t, I don’t know. Regardless, I told the story that needed to be told and I feel pretty good about that.
(However, my ego is insisting that I tidy it up and “fix” it and have someone read it and try to get it out there. We’ll see how that plays out…)

Thanksgiving weekend was also the first time, 4 years ago, that I came down to Austin to see some music and check out the town. I got to meet the illustrious Bruce Hughes, musician extraordinaire. He’s been kind enough to meet up with me every time I come down, and this time was no exception. Today we caught up over lunch at the Whole Foods Mothership, where we were joined for a few minutes by Scrappy Jud Newcomb, another great Austin musician. We had a good chat about Dr. Hunter S. Thompson whereby I was able to confirm that Scrappy is most definitely Good People.

bruce hughes and scrappy jud newcomb
bruce and scrappy at the saxon pub

There are tons of cool things to do and eat and drink and hear in Austin. I do like it here. But you know what? I think I like Southern California better. Maybe I should be specific and say I like Long Beach / Seal Beach / Sunset Beach better. Partly because it feels more like home to me. But also partly because it’s by the ocean, and I always feel better by the ocean. But I also like SoCal better because anything goes in SoCal. Yes it’s true that “anything goes” in Austin, but most of time I get the feeling that most people are trying really, really hard to push those boundaries. In SoCal, “anything goes” in a super laid back casual kind of way. It’s more relaxing to me, I guess. Sorry ATX.
I have this feeling that I may not be back again for a while.

November is typically a month when the focus is on gratitude or gratefulness. Ideally we strive to practice gratitude all year round, and not just when we eat pie (and I do believe we’re getting there), but it’s more on our minds this time of year as we spend time with loved ones for Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving I spent with my good friend Dayl, in Roanoke, Texas. She’s moving to Hawaii in a few weeks, and it just worked out that she was on her own for Turkey Day, so I drove down to spend a few days with her before she takes off to write the next chapter in her awesome life. We ate turkey cutlets with tandoori spices and roasted vegetables. A little untraditional, it’s true – but it counts.
I’ve spent many Thanksgivings with friends instead of family. Because friends count as family, you know? Dayl is family to me. I’m so glad we got to spend some time together catching up, and preparing ourselves for whatever happens to be coming next. Because it feels like the start of a new chapter for me, too…
I was a little too busy to do it last month because of that dang novel, but I’ll take a minute now to express my gratitude for the people I’ve met in my life that make me want to be a better person. Or more specifically, those who teach me important lessons, and inspire me to be the best me possible. So, so, grateful.

Looking Forwards
So. December 1. The first day of the last month of 2015. Time to finish up this year’s sh*t and get ready for next year’s sh*t. I think there will be some good sh*t coming our way in 2016.
What are your 2016 plans? How about 2016 wishes? Let’s not do “resolutions” for the new year, but maybe creating some “intentions” wouldn’t be a bad idea…
So we can talk about all that later in the month, but maybe it wouldn’t be bad to start thinking about it a little.

I’m driving home to Tulsa tomorrow, a changed person. I don’t know how exactly, and right now I don’t really know what it means. But it’s different. While that scares the bejeezus out of me, I also know I wouldn’t want it any other way.


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