An open letter to friends, family, and loved ones at the start of NaNoWriMo

[Not sure what I’m talking about with this whole NaNoWriMo thing?  That’s National Novel Writing Month, a fun nerve-wracking game delusional writers (including me, apparently) like to play in November.  You can get more information here, and hey, why not check out my first post on the subject?]

Dear Your Name Goes Here,

By the time you read this, it will have started.  I’m probably already lost to you.  But then, honestly, this has been coming for some time.

You have to believe me, though. It’s not you…it’s…it’s…

It’s NaNoWriMo.

I assume the signs are all but apparent now, and that they undoubtedly revolt you.

Believe me, were I capable of seeing them myself, I’d likely be filled with revulsion as well.

I can only imagine what you see and how it must horrify: eyes that constantly stare at some unseen, confounding demon, a perpetually unwashed face, ashen cheeks covered in patchy, unshaven whiskers, a head of hair with both matted clumps and stock-straight stalagmites standing up like Alfalfa’s cowlick, an odor that reeks of festering onions, Cool Ranch Doritos, burnt coffee, flop sweat, and desperation, and a haunted expression that simultaneously speaks of righteous white-hot fury yet somehow also, a child’s lost innocence.

I know I mutter to myself as if wandering a fever dream, and I spend every moment hunched over a grit-filled keyboard in the dark, ignorant of the Cheez-It crumbs wedged between so many of the keys.  In fact, the ‘Q’ ceased working altogether last night, and I hardly even noticed.  Somehow my crazed mind has been compensating automatically, ensuring nothing in my fledgling manuscript will ever be described by the words “quiet”, “quaint” or “querulous”.

I guess I’ll have to get that fixed before revisions start next month.  But I can’t think about that now.

For now there’s only the NaNo.

I am sorry that when you speak to me, I only shake my head in agreement and mumble, “Hmm-mmmm,” regardless of whether you’ve asked me if we should have pizza for dinner or if I’d like to have my testicles removed via Alpha-Centauri Gamma Laser as a sacrifice to the Galactic Sun People.  For the record, I probably don’t really want that laser thing, but we both know I’m only hearing the cacophony of voices I’ve unleashed in my head.  So, you know, whatever it is you wanted to ask me about, you should probably just take care of it yourself.  Unless it can wait until next month.

Odds are good that even if I was listening I wouldn’t give you a coherent answer.  A question like, “do you want your bagel buttered?” is likely to earn a response along the lines of “No! Don’t release the airlock hatch!  They’ll all DIE!”

I’m sorry I can’t remember the simplest things you’ve said to me, even five minutes later.  And no, I’ll never remember  to stop and get that bread for dinner.

I am sorry I’m making less sense than an “artistic” indie film made by three pot heads with someone’s iPhone camera.

I am sorry that my children probably don’t recognize me any more and wonder why their mom let that hobo move into the basement and use dad’s computer all the time.

Most of all, though, I’m sorry that it’s only the first day of NaNoWriMo.  Seriously, by the end of next week, I’m going to look Jabba the Hut and have all the interpersonal skills of a broken slow cooker.

But I’ve accepted the challenge, and it calls to me.  The words will be my only, and often harsh, mistress and for the next 30 days.  I have little choice now but to be their monkey boy.

Please forgive me, and remember to love me again in December.

Hopefully after I’ve bathed.

Oh, and if you could make some coffee, that’d be awesome.

May the words be with you!

Pud’n

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