NaNoWriMo has not been going as planned. In fact, to be painfully honest, it hasn’t been going at all. In some ways, I feel I have failed because I told so many people about it and how interested I was in doing the project (here’s a link if you’re confused), but now we only have 10 days of November and I’ve barely written a word. I also feel bad because the whole reason for this project is to force yourself to write, even if it’s awful – even if you hate it while you’re writing – even if it will never be read by anyone or seen again. In that way, I truly am in the process of failing.
However! The idea for the novel is there; it’s somewhat vague, but my main problem is that I haven’t been making the time to write. This is partly due to the 20 credits I am taking this quarter to graduate in just over two weeks, but I shouldn’t allow myself to use that excuse. If you want to write, write. If you want to swim, paint, play an instrument, read a book per month – DO IT. You’ll be happier, partly because you’ll enjoy those things in the moment and partly because you will have accomplished a goal. As always, I struggle to take my own advice.
The following is my first real effort and venture into the world of fiction. The idea was one that came to me while doing an exercise on character development for writing poetry; the prompt was “_(proper noun) is a(n) _(adjective)_ _(age)_ year old _(noun)_ who wants _(noun/verb)_. I started working on this over a month ago and when I rashly decided to try NaNoWriMo a week before November started, I thought I would try to continue the story line. My biggest question is “is this the kind of story you or someone you know would appreciate?” There is always a reason for me to write – it makes me happy! – but sometimes part of the purpose is for other people to enjoy it… and so I ask: in its most basic form, does this story interest you?
Will is an intriguing seventeen year old high school senior who just wants to get home. He’s been here before – well not “here” – but he’s definitely done this before. Every day for the last several months has felt like déjà vu and he’s entirely sure why. Will shouldn’t be here, he’s already lived this life: he’s a seventy-eight year old grandfather of nine grandsons and one granddaughter and he’s been experimenting with time travel. Again. But his last experiment was six months ago and he hasn’t been able to figure out how to get home this time.
It’s October 2007 and Will’s best friend, James, is talking about how the future will be once they’re done with college. The two boys have big plans – four years or less of undergrad to get their degrees, then traveling to Europe and Africa. As James goes on about staying in Athens for a few weeks after being in northern Europe, then trekking south to North Africa and heading back west to Morocco and Spain, he pauses and looks at Will.
Will can remember the first time this conversation happened, sixty-one years ago when he was seventeen the first time. They had both been jazzed about the idea of traveling on their own, working where and when they needed, getting by with their knowledge and good looks. But they had been cocky and unprepared about how college would change their lives, especially when they realized their top schools did not match. James would stay in-state at University of New Hampshire to stay close to home and friends; Will would go across the country to the University of Washington to study physics in Seattle. At this moment, James knew none of this though – he was free to dream and believe that his best friend, his companion in mischief and excellence alike, would be by his side forever. Free to picture their grand adventures in countries on the other side of the world.
Will knew better. The trip would never happen, and after four years of school, the two would rarely communicate until James’ wife died fifty years later, when the two men, nearing their seventies, would finally reconnect. There had been no great falling out, just drifting apart as they went their separate ways in studies, interests and friends. Each man found their future wife at their respective schools and soon after their graduations in June 2012, they forgot about their plans of travel. Or at least, they tried. No mention of trekking through the British Isles or sailing the Mediterranean to their wives or anyone else. The idea seemed so childish and distant now: now that they had jobs in their fields of study and would start families in the next five years.
As James glanced at Will during his explanation of the trip to some friends, he saw the stern, focused look on Will’s face – a look James associated with working a particularly difficult chemistry problem. This was not the look of someone planning and scheming as Will usually had when the Europe trip came into conversation. James did not understand.
PS. Happy birthday Dad!