NaNoWriMo Day 18: 50,292

OMG. It's done. And I feel like I cheated, because I just left Jimmy as a two year old. But I didn't know what else to do, when I discovered that there were three Jimmies (Jimmys? Jimmae?), not one, and I'd had them all mixed up all this time! And The Jimmy, the one I was writing about, was the only one I didn't know anything concrete about! So it ended up really being about Selah, George and Marshall, and family, and all sentimental mush that sounded ghastly.

And then I was still about a hundred words short, so I typed THE END and added a little postscript about how I came by the letters and journals, and what I did with them, and then thanked all the little people who got me to where I am now etc. etc. ad nauseum, as Bloody E had suggested yesterday. But that tipped me over the top and got it done.

When I tried to follow the directions for scrambling it to upload it to the NaNoWriMo verifier, it just turned everything into "aa aaaaaa a'aa" and so on, and that didn't look right. So I uploaded it normally, figuring nobody would want to steal such a piece of junky writing - same principle as not bothering to lock a rusty old jeep when you park it on the street, I guess. And I assume it verified my word count, but it doesn't say anywhere on the site that I am done, a winner, or anything like that. So I don't know if there is something more I need to do by the 30th of November or not. I've written to Aldy to ask her, and I'm sure she will know.

I have been extremely, deeply unhappy ever since my 50th birthday last April. Being in my 40s was fine, but turning 50 was just not okay. I knew before it happened that it wouldn't be okay, but I tried to prepare myself for it. Didn't help. I didn't want, and I don't want, to be that old. I didn't know why, though till last night: I had promised myself when I was in my 30s that by the time I was 40 I would 1) publish a book and 2) buy myself a banjo and learn to play it.

I didn't do either one. Of course, I did a lot of other things, and I don't regret them. But almost all of them were for other people, and I feel like a failure for not doing either of the two things I wanted to do for myself. I missed the boat and there is no way to go back and do them by that self-imposed deadline.

Don't get me wrong: I am depressed about being 50 and not having learned to play the banjo. But I WAS depressed about being 50 and having wasted a lot of time that I couldn't get back. And when Sept. came and my two big kids both left for college, and suddenly our family of five turned into a family of three, I was very, very depressed. I spent a lot of time sleeping, and just sitting quietly being sad.

So when NaNo came along, and I got really excited, it pulled me out of my depression. Instead of having three-day migraines every one or two weeks, I've had ONE one-day migraine in the past month. I've been wide awake and even had insomnia because I couldn't turn my brain off. I needed a challenge - not a frustration, but a challenge.

And now I've written a novel. And I plan to edit it. And then write another one (I already know what it will be about).

I still hate that I'm 50, and I still am sorry I haven't published anything. And I expect I'll still have days when I battle depression about that, or about my big kids being gone. But this is why NaNo was so important to me and why I felt driven to finish that damn book. And to do at least a halfway decent job on it.

Thanks for being along on the ride.



Anonymous said...

I understand about being 50, and for some, such as us, it's a lot harder than 40 or anything later. Having finished the novel is a BIG accomplishment - the banjo can wait until much later. If ever. Maybe one of your kids will do the banjo, which, let me tell you, will be very satisfying for you, because you can feel vicarious accomplishment through your kids - I know!
Thanks for pushing, pulling and dragging me through NaNo. I may not get to the 50K mark, but I've got lots down that I always wanted to tell, as well as some that I've always wondered about. Now I've answered those questions! And I'd never have started it without you, or gotten this far. That's the benefit of having a daughter!

Anonymous said...

A - I appreciate your honesty and openness so much. I know 50 is hard for you. Maybe it will get easier with practice, and when I get there you can tell me how to do it.

You'll always be 10 to me, and always my shero!
love, K

Anonymous said...

PS CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! (Yes, I am hollering!)
love, K