NaNoWriMo Day 1

No, I’m not going to post every day, but I’ll try and not abandon my blog through Nano.

This is not going to be my best year for Nano, but I’m still going to try. In the past, if I’ve been doing school and work at the same time, I’ve never been able to make my 50k. On the other hand, that was the first three years, and I’ve got a lot of experience now that makes it easier, so I might still make it. Still, school’s got to come first.

I’m currently finishing up commercial ground school, but I’ve been working more lately, and haven’t got through all the online videos yet, which are really awesomely thorough. I’ll probably be writing the test in the next couple of weeks.

It’s been a stressful last couple of months. My husband has been very sick, with no end in sight, no diagnosis, and the next major diagnostic test not even scheduled yet. We’re told the only way they’ll likely speed up the process is if he ends up hospitalized, and with the amount of weight he’s losing, that’s becoming a real possibility.

So I’ve been flying less because I don’t want to overdo things, and I need to focus on the written test anyway, while the information is fresh in my mind from ground school. I’ve been going out about once a week to make sure I stay in practice.

So there’s my list of excuses for not getting my 50k this year, but not for not trying, so here goes. I got started at midnight, as usual, and plowed through the first 1666 words between midnight and 2 AM. Wish me luck.

Story related: I read an article a couple days ago, by Jim C. Hines. It wasn’t new information to me – I had read things about prejudice against Roma before. I think North America is largely ignorant of Roma people because there just aren’t very many around. I mean – I’ve never seen one. I’ve researched it because I was curious, and that’s probably the only reason I know as much as I do. I haven’t thought about it in a while though, so when I read that, and remembered I had planned a character for my nano novel with a gypsy/Roma background, I stopped to think about how I had planned to portray that character.

Does he fit one of the three stereotypes Jim lists? Well, he’s not a thief. He’s disliked and distrusted by others for being from a culture with a similar reputation to the Roma of IRL, but wrongly so. He’s definitely not a spooky witch/prophet type. And while I’m pretty sure the sexy gypsy/gypsy as romantic figure would certainly extend to male characters, and there will be a little romantic tension between him and the main character, his allure has nothing to do with him being a gypsy.

He’s a pilot, who happens to have come from a Roma people type background previous to joining Onesky. I actually chose that background because I wanted a character that would be treated as an outsider, even in a very multicultural setting. His most defining characteristics are his skill as a pilot, and his demanding teaching style.

His sister is another story, but while she does some terrible things, it’s not the sort of things that fit into the gypsy stereotypes, I don’t think. She steals something, but it’s not out of general practice or habit, and it’s not for profit. Neither is she a romantic or witchy figure.

So I think I’ll be fine on this portrayal. Articles like Jim’s aren’t saying that we shouldn’t write about Romani people, they’re just saying that if we do, we should be conscious about it and educate ourselves to make it a more real representation. And hey, that research can spur inspiration. A lot of Romani people were killed in the Nazi concentration camps, which kind of gives me ideas for book 3…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to take my husband for a CT scan.

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9 responses to “NaNoWriMo Day 1

  1. I just don’t know what does and does not qualify as a good enough excuse to stop a writer writing. I’m not just talking about anyone who thinks they could “have a go at this writing thing”. I mean a writer.

    I think if I’ve been working all day and I’m tired and I don’t want to write then that’s entirely understandable, but I won’t write ****** if I give up just because I’m tired. That probably goes for all the other interruptions in life like day to day family and seeing your great Aunt and doing the laundry. I do think, though, that if it’s something serious related to close family (partner, kids) then that trumps writing. So it’s Friday night and I’ve been at work all week but I am going to put a couple of hours in on the project I’m working on. But if my wife or kids really needed me – forget the writing.

    I’m not saying this is totally the answer, it’s just the best I’ve got for now.

    Andy

    • I think maybe it’s not even about how badly someone wants something, but about perseverance once they’ve decided they want it. Deciding you’re going to do something is the first step, and it’s great and all, when you decide you’re going to get up and do it. But of course, the second step is actually doing it, and plowing through whatever obstacles fall in your path. A lot of people give up on something very easily – especially women, because women (statistically – if you want me to find the article I’m referencing, I can) are taught that they are either inherently good or inherently bad at something, while boys are taught that if they’re not good at something they need to try harder.

      I guess I’m just someone who’s learned that life is difficult, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be enjoyed, even when times are tough. I’ve been through a lot, and though I don’t cope with long term stress really well (I cope with short term emergencies incredibly well, in contrast) maybe I have a better sense of the long term than some people.

      So yeah, I’ll be there for my family. Obviously that comes first, but while I’m sitting waiting for Nathan’s CT scan, I got 500 words written. Life doesn’t stop for me or for him, or anyone, and life is short. I can’t afford to stop living, and I know I would regret it if I did.

      • I’ll tell you what I really struggle with though Lindsay,

        When you say:

        “women … are taught that they are either inherently good or inherently bad at something, while boys are taught that if they’re not good at something they need to try harder. ”

        I know you are right, at least at some level and in some circumstances you are right; and I know I don’t need to ask you to prove what you say by referencing the article, you’re not someone who’d make this up.

        The thing is, I know what I think about men and women, and how the stereotypes of women that are imposed are just such utter rubbish. I know I want to at least try and treat men and women equally with respect. So for example the message “you can do it if you really work at it” needs to be moderated by someone’s ability not by their gender – it’s just obvious!

        And yet (you might find this odd) I find myself the wrong side of the “politically correct” divide and have done so for maybe thirty years. White, male, Christian, middle-aged (now!) straight, politically conservative by instinct; I’ve got so many features that make people on the left, people who are by instinct liberal, distrust me and want to throw abuse at me – and they have done – because of what they think I am. Because I fit a stereotype.

        I guess I’m saying there’s a lot of people on the left and the right who will have a stereotype in their head and have a kneejerk reaction to it, and I’ve had my fill of that.

        I end up wanting to say to people “I am not that stereotype you think I am, I am me.” It sounds like something someone from minority group would say – and of course that’s what I am.

        There, rant over

        A

        PS 500 words whilst waiting for Nathan’s CT scan says it all. You are for your family (you’re waiting for the scan aren’t you?) and your a writer (still did the 500 words) – it’s a metaphor for what a writer is 😉

        • The stereotypes certainly are rubbish, and what I’m saying is where women and men test differently, it’s frequently been shown to be caused, not by inherent differences between women and men, but by social conditioning. Women do worse on math tests if they’re given an article to read before hand that explains that women are bad at math, than if they’ve given an article saying women are good at math.

          There are so many conservative parties in the world right now actively working to destroy women’s rights, it’s little wonder some people, especially women, feel threatened by anything related to conservatism. Fiscal conservatism has also got bound up in social and religious conservatism, so that’s made it worse. In Canada, I don’t know if you’ve kept up with what’s been happening lately, but we have pretty much the biggest political mess in our history, and one of the big things they’re going after is women’s rights. They want to criminalize abortions, and get rid of unions – unions being one of those things that’s always been an equalizer, enforcing the equal treatment of men and women.

          And I’ve seen the effects of unions personally. If my workplace didn’t have a union, I’m quite sure I’d be making about minimum wage right now. My last workplace didn’t have a union, and I found out later after they ratified a union, from one of the union reps who had access to wage information, that the women, including me, were making about three quarters what the men were making at the same job.

          This is what we’re talking about when we say sexism in the world today is systematic, and that we haven’t solved the issue yet, contrary to popular thought.

          • You are right of course Lindsay, I think that’s part of my frustration. I could write a load of other things but I dont think I can say any more. I really wish you and Nathan well, and you get to the big 50k by the end of the month.

            A

  2. ‘SKYBREAKER’, the second book of Canadian author Kenneth Oppel’s ‘AIRBORN’ Steampunk/Dieselpunk YA trilogy, has an interesting gypsy girl character call Nadira.

    Best of luck with your husband’s recovery, flying and NaNo.

    JTS

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