I started this blog on November 3rd, 2018 which was Day 3 of National Novel Writing Month. Held every November for the past 20 years, NaNoWriMo started when founder Chris Baty challenged a few of his Bay Area friends to write 50,000 words in a month. It’s become an annual tradition with writers around the world.
According to Wikipedia, 600 NaNoWriMo novels have been published through traditional and smaller publishers, or through self publishing. One of the most notable was Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen.
I had no idea if I could actually write that many words in a month, but I had been wanting to write the memoir I wanted to read when I came out at 56. As a NaNo Rebel (meaning I was not writing fiction), I wrote a hot mess of a rough draft weighing in a 51,473 words. I’ve worked on my rough draft over the course of the year with the help of teachers and workshop participants. It’s still a work in progress.
For this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m writing fiction. I’ve only written one short fictional vignette as an online assignment 20 years ago, and I was surprised by the character that showed up and what they said. I’m hoping for the same experience because during this NaNo prep month, I have neither outline nor character development, and I’ve changed my story four times. I’ll totally be flying by the seat of my pants, or in NaNoSpeak, “pantsing.”
Good luck to all the Wrimos out there, and Write. On!
I had driven my Subaru Outback to DC for marathon weekend, but after covering nearly 32 miles on race day, I was in no shape to drive home. We had planned for that by throwing a mattress in the back of the Outback, just in case. After an Epsom salt bath and a hearty breakfast the next morning, we packed up and headed for home.
While Annie drove, I looked through the photos she had taken during the weekend and read Facebook congratulations from family and friends. I reflected on how her dreams of an arctic adventure had inspired me to reignite my dream of running the Marine Corps Marathon. I thought about all the miles Annie had covered on her bike during my long early morning training runs. While passing through Pennsylvania, I wrote this post on Facebook.
Yeah, I’m that person who proposed to her girl on social media. Then I read her the post. While she was driving.
Before she said yes, she asked whether I was still oxygen deprived or had low blood sugar. I assured her I had my wits about me and was quite serious…and a little over seven months later, we tied the knot.
A lot has happened in the four years since that epic marathon day: we got married, sold a house, bought a house, added another fur kid to the family, I received a promotion in my day job, learned to play the cello, and became a published author.
To the runners of the 44th Marine Corps Marathon being held tomorrow in Washington, DC, good luck and in the words of marathoner Bart Yasso, “Never limit where running can take you.”
Four years ago today, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon to celebrate my 60th birthday. I wasn’t sure I had it in me, but never underestimate the power of putting one foot in front of the other, listening to your instincts and trusting that regardless of the outcome, you’re better for having made the effort.
The night before race day, I laid out my marathon gear and debated whether I’d be able beat the bridge to actually cross the finish line. After all, I had bronchitis the month before which limited my training time, and I was still recovering from a huge blister on my heel. But I had made it to Washington, DC so I made up my mind to do my best.
From meeting walk-run coach Jeff Galloway, listening to the inspiring Team Semper Fi warriors during the pasta pre-race dinner, seeing my Arctic Annie on the course in her official-looking bike gear, to savoring the serendipity of sharing 23 miles of the course with a runner named the same as my marathon guardian angel, the day was one I’ll never forget.
I’d like to think I have another half or full marathon in me, but if not, I’ll always have MCM15.
Eight years ago, after an amicable divorce, I came out quietly to a few close friends and family members. I was starting over and like Groundhog Day, had returned to my secretarial roots. I wasn’t sure what my life would look like, but the words stenciled above my bed in the basement bedroom of my daughter’s house reminded me every day I had made the right choice and finally faced a truth that I’d buried my entire life.
My daughter tucked me under her wing until I felt financially ready to get my own place. In the meantime, a therapist helped me navigate the changes in my life. During therapy one day, we talked a lot about coming out and she said because it’s a big deal, why shouldn’t people should have a party to celebrate, like a bat mitzvah or a quinceañera. So with my daughter and a few friends, I threw myself a coming out party on October 11, 2011. I wasn’t ready to announce it to the world, but it felt good to be seen for who I was.
A lot has changed in eight years. I’m fortunate to have been able to come out at a time when it’s socially acceptable and safe for me, unlike the Stonewall equality warriors of 50 years ago that generated a movement. With marriage equality, I now have the 1,138 rights and protections I enjoyed when I was married to a man. But we can’t take those rights for granted. We must remain vigilant and continue the fight for equality that began at that New York inn.
In the words of Barack Obama, “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”