Musings & Thoughts for Friday, October 30, 2020, or: Prepping for NaNoWriMo on D-minus 2

I’m not a whiz at taking selfies…but this one didn’t come out too bad.

Hello again, Dear Reader. It’s now mid-afternoon here in New Hometown, Florida, and it is a gorgeous autumn day – at least, as “autumn-like” as it gets in the Sunshine State. Currently, the temperature outside is 80˚F (27˚C); with humidity at 48% and the wind blowing from the north-northwest at 8 MPH (13 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 81˚F (27˚C). So. Much. Nicer. Than. Yesterday.

Since almost everyone is out of the house, and I finally got over my fear of somehow damaging the front door lock – irrational, I know, considering that at my old house in Miami I never broke a door lock – recently, I decided to take three of my reference books to the park and read them under the shade of the trees there.

I didn’t want to lug the three books – World War II Illustrated Atlas: Campaigns, Battles & Weapons 1939-1945, Writing Into the Dark: How to Write a Novel Without an Outline, and Show, Don’t Tell: How to Write Vivid Descriptions, Handle Backstory, Describe Your Characters’ Emotions – under my arm; I haven’t done that since I was in college, and I didn’t want to drop (and lose or damage) any of my newly-purchased reference works, so I used a backpack The Caregiver gave me way back when she was The Girlfriend and took them to the park that way.

Dear Friend, it was so nice to be outside in that park. The temperature must have been 76˚F (24˚C) in the shade, and for most of the hour that I spent on “my” bench studying – for that’s how I see it – how to write a novel (!) without an outline and how to handle descriptive writing, it was mostly quiet and peaceful.[1]

One of the landscaping crew doing his job at the park.

I might have stayed on that bench a bit longer had it not been for the arrival of the landscapers whilst I was perusing Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing Into the Dark: How to Write a Novel Without an Outline. I wasn’t expecting the mower/edge-trimmer/leaf-blower crew to come back; they were at the same park yesterday morning! And yet, there they were, wearing hard hats, orange vests, and either riding the mower, blowing grass clippings or leaves, and edge-trimming! So much for my studying in peace and quiet!

Nevertheless, I managed to get some reading done, mostly from Writing Into the Dark, but I also read a bit from Sandra Gerth’s Show, Don’t Tell. Since I have been writing since I was a kid, I knew some of the concepts Gerth mentions in the book, and I have incorporated them in my own writing. But I don’t know everything, especially when it comes to writing fiction, so learning a few new tricks is always a good thing to do, no matter how old you are or how many words you’ve written in your lifetime.

I still should try and read a bit more. NaNoWriMo starts on Sunday, and I am still a bit nervous about it. I probably fret too much about things, even when I know I shouldn’t, so I need to take a figurative “chill pill” and remind myself that NaNoWriMo is supposed to be (a) fun and (b) is strictly voluntary. I guess I have a case of writer’s heebie-jeebies because even though I was a decent journalist back in high school and college and I have written quite a bit online since 2003, I’ve never written a 50K word novel. (I’ve started a few and abandoned them for – reasons, but I’ve never completed one, much less written one in 30 days!) So, I am hoping that by reading up on writing fiction, I will feel at least somewhat better informed (and thus prepared) to take on the NaNoWriMo 2020 challenge.

Well, with these words I take my leave of you, dear friend. Maybe if my personal life weren’t so…screwy…I would probably be a bit more optimistic about this endeavor. After all, attitude is a huge part of one’s success or failure, and even though I am feeling better about things, my self-confidence has taken a big hit. I will, as the saying goes, put my big boy pants on and do my best to complete my NaNoWriMo quest. I just don’t want to disappoint anyone. Not you, Dear Reader, not my new family or my old friends, and definitely not myself.

So, until tomorrow, Auf Wiedersehen. Stay safe, stay healthy, and, please, be kind to others. And I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things!

[1] One of the hardest things to get used to when I first moved in back in the spring of 2016 was the absence of aerial traffic. In Miami, I lived close to the landing pattern of Miami International Airport, so not only did I see jetliners and cargo planes flying low just a few miles to the north, but when the wind pattern changed in the winter months, many aircraft flew a few hundred feet over our townhouse. Of course, the racket was awful at first, but eventually one gets used to it and the din of jet and turboprop engines becomes just another part of the soundtrack of life in the big city.

Where I now live – well, I live in a huge Florida metro area and not, say, the rural backwater of Sebring – the community is host to an international airport and a major Air Force base. However, the development where we live is quite a way from both. Every once in a while one hears the angry growl of an Apache AH-64D or the sound of a C-130 Hercules’ four turboprops as it heads toward the Air Force base. But there isn’t the conveyor belt-like train of planes coming in for a landing that I used to see – and hear – from my neighborhood from 1978 to 2016.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

4 thoughts on “Musings & Thoughts for Friday, October 30, 2020, or: Prepping for NaNoWriMo on D-minus 2

  1. I know the feeling having lived under the landing pattern and then the take-off pattern of Kennedy Airport for most of my life before we moved up here. I don’t mind the quiet at all now. Funny thing, when we were camping we got buzzed by jets from the Air Force base up in Maine and I knew the sound right away.

    80 degrees is “fall like”? Dude, you need to spend a year in Montana or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I spent three months in Seville in the fall of 1988. Not as cold as Big Sky Country, true, but that was cold enough for this Floridian.

      It’s fall-like for the sub-tropics. (Wink!) That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I lived across the street from O’Hare airport for a year when I first lived in the Chicago area (Bensenville at the time). I also quickly got used to the sound of jets, though friends who stayed with me always commented on it.

    When I moved to Lombard, Illinois (another Chicago suburb but further out), I had the train tracks across the street where the train to downtown went past. Again, it was noisy but I got used to it (lived there for 4 years).

    It’s amazing how adaptable we are as human beings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My first home was very close to the Los Angeles International Airport. Both of my parents worked day jobs, and since they were still newlyweds, they were usually out and about during the weekends, so neither one noticed the noise of airplanes taking off and landing nearby (at night, flights take off and land over the Pacific Ocean, but during the day, they’re over the surrounding businesses and residential areas). When my mom got pregnant, she worked until she was about six or seven months along. On the first Monday after she quit her job (because back then, it was not assumed that a woman would go back to work after giving birth), she decided to set up a lawn chair in the back yard and get some sun. She’d been in that chair for all of about two minutes before a large commercial jet flew directly overhead, approaching a runway for a landing. And it was CLOSE. For the rest of her pregnancy, she was completely panicked that the noise was somehow going to harm her unborn child. About a year and a half after I was born, my parents decided to move someplace that was nowhere near an airport. I don’t remember living in that house, although I did see it a few times as a child – my parents still had friends near there. The land it was sitting on was slated to become part of a new runway, but after some tie-ups with funding and such, it became part of a long-term parking lot. I’ve parked a car there many times on my various flights in and out of Los Angeles.

    Liked by 1 person

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