Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Nuts, Neighbors, and NaNoWriMo

You don't have to be crazy, but it certainly helps. Actually, I highly recommend it. Being nuts, even a little bit gives you a great resource of human experience to draw from. Belonging to several writing groups on Facebook has led me to the conclusion that writer's do tend to be nuts. That could help explain why writer's are so commonly alcoholics and drug addicts. The rest of the world is only now coming around to accepting nuts as normal.

In fact, it has become something to which one aspires in certain sectors. At least that is the way it appears when I look at some of the kids I grew up with. Like Jello Biafra, punk rocker and spoken word artist. He is definitely not your average, sane person. Nor did he ever aspire to be. Which is probably why I always liked him.

Then there is Jane Shepard. She is an amazing film maker and writer, and is best known for having written the Showtime movie "Freak City," for which she was nominated for an award. Jane and I first got to know each other in the ninth grade when we were both cast in the school play, Sunrise at Campobello. She was FDR's wife and I was his secretary (later rumored to have also been his mistress). Jane is wild, freaky, and fun -- in other words, nuts.

Rick Reilly, former Sports Illustrated columnist and currently with ESPN, is pretty certifiable as well. He is one of the funniest people I have ever met. Eliza Cross has written numerous books and articles. I actually befriended her in church camp before we ended up in high school together. By then she was on the cheerleader track while I was on the sci fi geek track so we didn't really see each other much. Adam Eisenberg was among my geek tribe and has since gone on to be a Seattle judge. His original goals had included being in the sci fi field, writing articles and scripts which he did for a short time in Los Angeles. That judge thing was apparently an aberration because he has gone on to write a book about police women. 

Then there are the writers in my neighborhood, in my neighborhood, in my neighborhood. Oh, there are writers in my neighborhood. They're the people that you meet as you're walking down the street -- they're the people the you meet each day. Please excuse the Sesame Street moment. It is part of an earworm compliments of Facebook.

But I digress.  My next door neighbor is also a writer. Of course she is someone that many would consider nuts. In my city she is fairy "normal" but that is merely contextual. Aside from writing she is a professional astrologer who also does shamanic work and is studying to be a homeopath. She has self-published several volumes and runs writing support group for women. She has led an incredible life, which has includes time spent raising two of her children while living on an old blue school bus back in "hippier" days.

Then there are my Nano friends -- they are the craziest of the lot. This probably stems from the fact that we all took on the NaNoWriMo challenge and most continue to do so. November is National Novel Writing Month and so we all attempt (and most succeed) in writing a 50,000 word novel in that month. It is a wild and intense experience that we share through several Facebook pages. With each other we let down our guard and all the craziness can come out. The newbies are the ones who usually put out the tentative posts that start "Does anyone else. . ." This usually leads to a brisk discussion of how many shades of crazy we all are.

There is even one thread, more than a year old, that has become dedicated to letting out the weird. We rarely discuss writing on it, but we will discuss food as though we were all starving to death. Then there are the inevitable comments about burping and farting. We complain about family, compare pets, and just get to know each other through mindless chit chat. It is all a great way to keep stirring up the mental compost and keep the ideas coming and our writing fresh.

So, do you need to be nuts to be a writer. No, of course not -- unless you want to be successful and have fun. And it beats the hell out of that alcoholic path.

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