I was looking at some of my archived posts from last year's NaNo, and came across this one. Keep in mind it was written the morning after I'd finished the 50K...so a few minor clitches. Oh, and yes, it's 100% factual.
Posted on: 2004/11/26 16:27
A NaNo Fairytale
Poorly written and wayyyyy over done...
In early October, 04, I stumbled into a place where a mismatched menagerie of people were gathered around rickety tables, most afflicted with a severe case of the jitters due to the large quantities of caffine they were consuming in various forms. It was poorly lit and there were strange smells (I am now certain they were illegal drugs) wafting from a couple of the tables in the back.
As I stood there, unsure of where to go, I could feel all eyes on me, measuring my worth, piercing the fragile armour I'd built around me. But I gripped my weapon of choice and remembered why I was there.
Shrugging my bag further up my shoulder, I boldly signed up for the challenge that would test the limits of my endurance, my creativity and my motivation. Fortunately for me, the formality of signing my name in blood had been outlawed years before. I didn't hestitate, signed with a florish and confidently set the pen down beside the piece of paper. It was a full 15 seconds before the crushing realization hit me, driving me back a staggering three steps.
What have I done? My brain screamed at me. I put out my hands to snatch back the paper from the sweetly smiling woman seated behind the table. That was when the shackles appeared on my wrists, which normally would have thrilled me considering...but all I could feel was a sickening weight forming in my stomach. I bolted for the door, intent on escaping the dark confines of the room, no longer prepared to take on the challenge, filled with self doubt. But as I pulled fruitlessly on the door handle and my nostrils burned with the scent of sulphur, a portion of my courage retuned to me and I turned to face the mocking eyes of the room with a poise I hadn't know I posessed. I cleared my throat, found an empty table against a grimy wall, pulled out a fresh notebook and laid several pens along side it on the scarred table top.
I'd joined the ranks of NaNoWriMo's.
As the month wore on, I threw myself into scheming, plotting and planning, finding that I was more than capable of doing so, having had the benefit of a long association with the devil child. The idea's flowed from my finger tips, illuminating the pages before my eyes. I watched as other travellers began to filter in, some past members, others fresh faces much like my own; all of us bound by a common bond.
We prepared for the main event beginning November 1st by challenging each other, sharing thoughts and even some very crazy ideas and motivations. The support network of the bravest of our kind held up the weaker members, bouying us all. There were a few whom, altho they had signed up voluntarily, whined and bemoaned their fates, mostly to the general irritation of those carefree souls who manitained that nothing, not family, school, work or previous obligations, would deter them from the road set out before them. I did my best to ignore the pitiful cries of these people.
I was lucky enough to have another NaNoWriMo befriend me; someone who had previously taken on the challenge and battled through to the finish line on two other occasions. His gentle manner and encouragement spurring me onward and upward. And when we could escape the melee around us, we rouned out our time by flirting shamelessly, building bonds that would see us through to the end.
Amid the chaos of worlds being created and the birth of characters, destined to be merciously destroyed, I carved out my own plot, meticulously taking notes, keeping them under lock and key in a recipe-card box. As the day drew nearer, the excitement of the people grew until it neared cult proportions.
October 31st, 11:59pm found me counting down the seconds, poised to begin, flushed and filled with a sense of relief that after all my careful preparations, it was finally beginning. I'd settled nicely into my role, mocking those who were unprepared and seeking to escape, only to be dragged back by vicious little demons guarding the doors to the outside world.
The first week I pulled ahead of the pack, throwing everything I had into it, foresaking any and all that attempted to pierce my concentration. The dishes sat congealing in the sink, the children played with dust bunnies, racing them across the kitchen floor, and still I pushed on. I was keeping pace with the leaders and I'd be damned if I'd give that up!
I was feeling the euphoria course through me, becomming over confident. It still came as a shock when the inevitable happened. I hit the wall.
Week 2 roared into play in all its demonic glory. Fangs bared, it snatched up the unsuspecting with no conscience, swallowing them whole, deaf to their cries for mercy. I zigged and zagged, dodging it's deadly claws, pulling out every trick I had picked up from the elders in my preparations for the challenge and emerged into week 3 with a few oozing flesh wounds, but still intact.
Week three, the true test of endurance, claimed yet more members as they ran the gauntlet; bogging them down or sending them on wild goose chases that culminated in nothing but a dead end and no way to turn back. I perservered, mercilessly stepping on those who had fallen before me, nothing but the finish line mattered to me. Not even the pitiful cries of, "MOM! We're out of clean clothes. Could you please do some laundry!" from the mouths of my offspring could sway me from my goal.
Week four offered calmer waters, a soothing balm to those who had made it thus far. Fewer pitfalls waited on that final stretch and faintly, from a distance, the motivating cheers of encouragement could be heard, urging us ever onward. Those whom would fall during this week faced the eternal shame of forever being mocked for dropping the ball at this late date. I could see the finish line. I pushed myself harder than I had ever pushed before; determined I was going to not only finish, but finish in the leading pack! Step after step I staggered ever forward, dragging my wounded and bloodied plot behind me, clutching at the shredded edges of gaping plot holes that had appeared in week two of the challenge.
I knew I was there, knew I had beaten the odds and could taste victoy! Then, in the final few hours, I stumbled across one last pitfall carefully laid in the path before me. An encompassing nausea overtook me, coming up from behind me and in a surprise ambush, tackled me to the ground. I grappled with it, fought with all I had left in me and tore myself from its grasp, crawling across the finish line into the waiting arms of loved ones and NaNo organizers.
At first I felt nothing. I had over come nearly insurmountable odds and yet...I felt nothing. As I slowly got to my feet, the realization of what I had done began to sink in. I had made it! I had given my very soul to the challenge and I had made it to the finish line! Elation finally claimed me and I joined in the revelries of other NaNoWriMo's. The liquor and chocolate flowed freely, our overcaffinated bodies barely able to handle this final abuse. We were raised up on the shoulders of our supporters, exhausted but filled with a sense of worth. We had met the challenge, been measured against the Greats and had not been found lacking. To us belonged the bragging rights few can lay claim to. We had talked the talk and walked the walk!
We claimed our spoils, a cheesey certificate dipped in the blood of the fallen, a corny little icon to post on personal websites and a purple bar, emblazened with the word, 'WINNER'. We clutched these prizes to our battered but not broken bodies and knew that we had earned the title of,
50 Thousand Words
I friggin' did it!