I participated in my first NaNoWriMo Writing Practice with about 100 other writers, or at least it would have been if there weren’t so many technical difficulties (the program’s fault for only allowing a certain amount of people on video/chatroom at a time). The writing practice style is in the form of Natalie Goldberg, an author, painter and teacher who changed the ideas of writing with a Zen-style practice. I pulled this bit from the Writing Practice Facebook page:
Natalie Godlbergs Rules of Writing Practice: (basically paraphrased).
RULES OF WRITING PRACTICE:
1) Keep the Hand moving: Natalie promoted writing by hand, as it was different from typing on a computer, or typewriter. It is, you connect with a different part of your brain. It is a tactile difference, with the feel of the pen.
2) Do not stop to edit. Do not cross out, leave words misspelled,
3) Go with first thoughts-even if you can’t think of anything, say, “I can’t think of anything.” If you say it enough, you will come up with something!
4) Go for the jugular- do not censor your writing (after all, this is practice, and you don’t have to show it if you don’t want to!
5) You are free to write the worst crap in the world (universe/galaxy).
It intrigued me but I would have forgotten all about it if it wasn’t for the Facebook message update with the first writing prompt. I quickly signed myself into their Google+ video chat and Chatzy chatroom to begin writing. I was surprised how much and what came out of me.
Here’s what happened:
Writing Prompt #1: (I missed what this was titled and did a freestyle of the first thing that came to me.) “From Caffeine to the Creative Mind: Pimp Your Red Wagon”
The thickness of the cold freezes the veins in my face, making it feel as though I have a cold headache from drinking a milkshake from Tom’s Drive-In too quickly. The hunger in my stomach aches with a fierceness you’d think I was a starving African child of the desert when in reality it’s the steroids the doctors prescribed me this winter to ease my migraines from the bitter cold. I take my pills without a fight because they are the only thing keeping me from punching my body elsewhere to draw the pain from my head. Nearly twenty minutes go by and I feel the stiffness in my neck and back as the steroids work their way into my system. The worst part, though, are the twitching muscles in my legs and arms as though my blood vessels want to escape from my body.
I finally make it back into the house and my head is already pounding as my blood thaws and begins flowing at a normal rate again. I sit down on the couch, then lie down, the sit up, then pace the house and repeat until the pressure in my head decreases. I wait for my boyfriend to get home from work. He is the only one with the real cure for my headches: A Vodka Gimlet with green olives – although I’m sure the green olives only make me dehydrated and stuffy. As soon as he puts the drink in front of me on a Superman coaster I snatch it up and take large sips. The burning in the back of my throat opens my nasal passages and I sigh in relief.
Writing Prompt #2: Where do you find inspiration?
I find my inspiration through love. Whether my heart is broken or I’ve broken someone’s heart or a friend is hurting, a new love, an old love. Doesn’t matter. I get my inspiration to write from romance. I grew up reading my mother’s romance novels and it sent me on a whirlwind of emotions, trying to grasp what love and sex and the war of it all meant. I looked up the word love in the dictionary but it was too scientific and I knew even as a child that it didn’t explain the emotions that clung to it.
Then I fell in love. I remember the precise moment, too. I was working at my daycare center job, owned by my boyfriend’s mother, Anne. She’d hired me on the spot because we’d already known each other for years. I’d spent most of my time working with the three year olds and up, and the idea of working in the baby room was terrifying and I begged her every month not to send me there. But she forced me during the summer, saying I had to get used to it and figure out how to not be petrified when a teacher would ask me to hold an infant in my quaky arms.
In the end, it was my favorite room of them all, even though I no longer got to spend time outside with the older kids. One day, my boyfriend Edmund came to help fix a broken vacuum cleaner and peeked in at me with the babies. I was in a rocking chair feeding one of my favorite babies Wyatt when I saw him standing there smiling at me from the doorway. My heart skipped a beat as I studied his greasy fingers and soft Speed Racer T-shirt full of dust. He waved his large, masculine hand at me and I felt something I’d never felt before. My entire body felt weak. I smiled and waved with my elbow, looking down at Wyatt’s precious innocent face and then back into Edmund’s eyes. He had the longest eyelashes against the bluest eyes. And that’s when I fell completely in love with him. There was no denying it to anyone. If I lost him, I thought I would surely die. But I did lose him, and then I knew what heartbreak felt like. It took me nearly 6 years to get over him, just in time for his wedding day. A part of me still gags at the thought of his first child on the way. But so far he has not had any offspring and part of me hopes it never happens, or at least I don’t have to know about it. Ever. I blame the way I fell in love with him for that. Because, of course, as someone I will always care very much about, of course, I want him to be able to have children if that is what would make him most happy. I just prefer not to know about it.
My writing since that heartbreak increased daily. I have since fallen away, but for those excruciating 6 years I wrote fiction and non-fiction stories. Hybrids and poems. I wrote our story so many different ways I don’t even know which ones are true any more. That may be the most tragic part of it all.
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Now these are unedited pieces and I’m not even sure that they will make any sense and that’s OK! I will try my best not to delete this post after I publish it. Even though I’m realizing, right now, that I haven’t shared any of my writing pieces on this blog yet. :::nibbles on fingernails:::
I enjoyed being able to see other writers’ faces and hear their work read aloud. I felt brave enough to share the first paragraph of my first prompt. It was a productive first try and I plan to continue spending at least part of my Saturday nights on these writing prompts!
A huge thank you to Lisa and Callie who helped make tonight possible for their fellow writing friends!