Party, Party, Party

Party 1

Donnie and I spent a wonderful afternoon with our family at Grand #4’s birthday party.  When she gets to school on Monday, her teachers and friends who didn’t attend the party will ask what she got.  Emily will shrug and say simply, “rocks.” She got bags of rocks, boxes of rocks, a tackle box filled with rocks, jewelry with rocks, books about rocks, and a rock tumbler complete with rocks.  Even the cake looked like the Earth’s mantle complete with—you guessed it—candy rocks.  (She is the second of my grandchildren to become fascinated with rocks.) Yep, we had a rockin’ good time because Emily rocks!

Party 2

A few hours later Donnie and I went to the Tulsa WriMo TGIO party. TGIO means Thank God It’s Over. I’m having trouble with that—the thankful part–and am having serious trouble with withdrawal.  I was having such joy. No, more than joy, down right jubilation.  Then December came and everyone went home.  The forums went dead.  NaNoMail went silent.  There will be no write-in on Monday. My novel is finished. But I still want to play. I have to accept that it is over. But I refuse to be thankful that it is. God understands this and does not hold it against me.

I am, however, exceedingly grateful for having had the opportunity to NaNo.  It was the most fun I’d had in a very long time.  I made so many new, wonderful, interesting, and intelligent friends.  I learned a great deal about writing, and I’ve gained the discipline to write every day.  How could I not be grateful for such blessing?

Party 3

This coming week we’ll be preparing for our Chanukah party next Saturday. “Oh, she’s Jewish!” you may be saying.  But you’d be wrong.  Chanukah is thought of as a Jewish holiday, but really, it is universal.  Among the many lessons it teaches is that whenever we have done all we can, God will finish the job.  But He won’t start until we’re done.  Anyone who’d like to know more about why non-Jews celebrate Chanukah can go to to download A Non-Jew’s Guide to Celebrating Chanukah. (scroll way down the page)  Thousands of people in sixty-nine countries have downloaded it already, so the idea must be catching on.  Does this offend Jews?  Nope.  They download it to send to their non-Jewish friends.

That’s all I’m going to say on this subject. I didn’t start this blog to discuss my beliefs, or lack there of.  However, if you are in my area and want to come to the party, you are most welcome.  We’ll have the Hug in a Mug waiting.


Synapse Awakes—Part 1

The second week of July last, a slumbering synapse snapped and crackled to life unprovoked—nineteen years and one month after it gave up and opted for self-induced suspended animation. It stretched, waved off the fibro fog, and sent announcements of its awakening to neural nets on both sides of the corpus callosum. I was stunned. And grateful.

The previous eighteen months had been wonderfully challenging as I completed class after class of my masters. My technical and academic writing skills returned to toe the mark and keep me at the leading edge of the curve. Funny, that. My Freshman Comp teachers warned me not to take Technical Writing.

“You’ll hate it,” they said.

“It’ll ruin your writing,” they said.

“It will steal your creativity, make your writing bland and voiceless,” they said. But the new school insisted it had to be done.

Technical Writing did not listen to my old teachers. It was another one of those beginnings that built on the old, broke me of bad habits, infused new life, and left me stronger in its wake. But I digress and must return to my telling.

I’d had to fight off the fog during several classes or sit out a class entirely, waiting for the fog to pass. Now the awakened synapse gathered strength and allies to drive the fog away. For the first time in many years, clarity quit fluctuating and locked securely into place. I didn’t know it locked, so I quickly finished up a course I’d had to extend because of the fog.

Then the synapse unlocked a gate. Out tumbled long forgotten memories of people, times, and places that had given me great joy and growth. They brought with them gifts of forgotten dreams and lost words.

Words. Everything always comes back to words. They have life and power that transcend us, that carry us to places we would never get to on our own. The ones we embrace become our tickets to all sorts of possibilities for good or ill.

It is often the unexpected, spontaneous, offhand word that hangs like a signpost redirecting, shaping, transforming what was going to be into what is. And so it was when, without considering the consequences and quite on the spur of the moment one hot August afternoon, I was asked to “write.” And the newly awakened synapse woke others who snapped and crackled to attention. Words rushed onto my screen like children cooped up too long spilling onto the playground. I gave the asker the words I hoped would make a difference, badly written as they were. (The younger synapses had become confused, you see. They did not know the old games and were resisting the learning, wondering where the fog had gotten off to, and why Rip Van Winkle had gone to sleep in the first place and why Rip Van Winkle woke. “Things don’t happen by themselves,” they insisted with growing suspicion.)

The asker read the words I handed over—and smiled.

“I miss your letters,” the asker said after a time, and later “I enjoy reading your letters.” The asker couldn’t have known (I didn’t know myself and was quite content not knowing) that the synapse eavesdropped, filing those words away until it could weave them together with the newly remembered words into an unexpressed mischief—and waited for October. October fourteenth to be exact.

It began innocently enough, reading online subscription forums, looking for specific information. Then the link appeared in the right column, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I clicked, read, giggled, read it aloud.

Donnie said, “When do you start?”

“What makes you think I will? I’m not even sure I can. It’s bigger than anything I’ve done before. And there isn’t much time.”

“You will,” he said through a knowing and satisfied grin then went back to reading his book. The synapse wove those words into its mischief too.

“I always wanted to,” I whispered. But never, until that very moment, did I believe that I actually would. I read the screen again. There it was, an opportunity, a dare, a public announcement that I would screw it up the first time and be welcomed to it. No one, not even the professionals get it right the first time. And if I thought I could do better, I was not allowed to play. Those words were liberating, empowering. The synapse sent a tickle through the neural nets. They only had seventeen days to prepare their mischievous plot. I signed on. Another beginning had begun.

In the Beginning

Nancy January

This is my first post of my first blog.

These last few months have been filled with firsts. Some were not so pleasant and landed me in the hospital. One was frightening and landed Donnie in the hospital. The most recent was amazing. I participated in National Novel Writing Month and wrote my first draft of my first novel—start to finish—in twenty-nine days.

Okay, the first draft is far from perfect, but it is finished. All my life I have wanted to write a novel. I have. Maybe I will rewrite and edit it to see if it is marketable. Maybe not. I wrote it only for the joy of writing.

I won in 29 days!

Not everything was a first. I have missed the companionship of intelligent women. Some have moved away, some have died, some have just been busy with their own struggles. During these past months, lost friends have been remembered, old friendships have been renewed and celebrated, new friends (both online and local) have been embraced. This feels much like coming home.

If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be “spoiled.” That is not a bad thing. It is an admission that my life is good. I know that it could be otherwise. And I appreciate that it is filled with love, joy, and blessings. My husband of twenty-nine years did not die from his heart attack. Our children are all happily married and have well-behaved, intelligent children. I have few complaints and fewer regrets (everyone should have a few of those).

I am, with the encouragement and support of my family, accomplishing my life goals. I have just written a novel and within a few months will complete my M.Ed. If all goes well, I will go on to get a doctorate. Why? Because it has been something I have wanted for many decades, and because I can. I will be the first of my bloodline to do so and will blaze a trail for my grandchildren. If they see that I can do it, they will not be afraid to try. That alone is reason enough.

I am eager to see what the future holds.