NaNo-M-Effing-WriMo, or, I'm procrastinating right now

Two years ago, I participated in earnest in National Novel Writing Month. I didn't make it anywhere near the 50,000 word goal, but I wrote the most I'd ever written for one project, with gusto and a sincere desire to turn all my ideas into something beautiful, funny, touching, tragic and compelling.

Two years later, that same novel isn't done. But I've been working on it, haltingly. I want to use NaNoWriMo as incentive to finish it. I seem to write more in my head than anywhere else. All the ideas flow freely until I'm sitting at my MacBook. I sit here and every possible insecurity surfaces. How do I do this? How do I write something people would read? How do I create fully realized characters with believable motivations, build and destroy said relationships, navigate them through hardships and all the twisted scenarios I envision? How do I put these damn words that are an amorphous blob in my head into something with a beginning, middle and end?

I have about a hundred pages and lots of fragments I want to work in later in the chronology. You know what's hard to write, harder than the virtual reality therapy scenes I'm trying to make happen? Capturing a relationship. It's easy to fall in love. It's hard to take that insanity and passion, or flirtation and evasion, or slow, easy soul melding, and make two characters you're still trying to figure out do it in a way that will resonate and that feels organic. All I keep thinking is, do I know Stella? Do I know Zach? Would they really fall in love with each other? And how? It's so hard to show that. It's not enough to just put two people in a scene and take their clothes off. I want more than that. I want readers to feel it and be convinced and root for these people even if they're being terrible to each other.

And my book is, or I want it to be, about so much more than a couple. I want to write a book that will speak to anyone who has struggled with mental illness. That will resonate with the people who feel like this whole damn world should come with a trigger warning. Who love so hard that it makes them go crazy. I want to write something filled with hope but devoid of easy answers. Something darkly funny. Something that says something about friendship, trauma, picking yourself back up, feeling like a fraud, finding a way to feel authentic. I want to include diverse characters. White, black, Hispanic, straight, gay, old, young, rich, poor. And I want a protagonist that will make people go, "YAS QUEEN!" even when she's a monster because they just GET HER.

I have so many ambitions and just collapse under the weight of them and find myself only able to write a handful of words before I'm just disgusted with myself.

So yeah. I'm trying to write a realistic, heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful love story that's also an insightful commentary on the stigma of mental illness, a meditation on finding one's identity, and a speculative romp through virtual worlds. Plus I want to have lots of pretty words that you'll want to highlight on your Kindle. And I want to finish this impossible book two on-and-off years in the making in the next month, even though I've taken up a side hustle on top of my fairly stressful job and a bunch of other stuff I've got going on. Why? Because I'm a crazy person.

So, um, wish me luck? And good luck to all the people doing NaNoWriMo this year. You are all beautiful, inspirational and out of your brilliant minds.


A Very Ms. Marvel Halloween

I dressed up as Ms. Marvel for Halloween.

Not this Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers.

Who later switched to a more efficient getup as Captain Marvel.

But rather this one, my girl Kamala Khan.

I've read three volumes of Ms. Marvel starring Kamala and I'm obsessed. Beyond being a huge step forward for diversity as Marvel's first Muslim-American superhero, and beyond being a super cool shapeshifting badass who happens to have the kindest, gentlest heart, she's just so real. She has complicated relationships with her friends and classmates, she gets crushes, she butts heads with her parents, she's struggling to find out who she is, she's learning how to stand strong in her values while realizing that sometimes there's no easy solution (like her mentor Wolverine told her, sometimes you can't avoid causing pain to defeat an enemy who would cause others pain, because the pain has to go somewhere).

I got the pieces for my costume at Wal-Mart and Target. I already had the red shirt, and I ordered the boots from I made the lightning bolt with duct tape. I think the effect is pretty uncanny. I was excited to tell my co-workers who don't know about Ms. Marvel her backstory (any excuse to nerd out is great) and I was even more excited by the couple of people who got my costume right away.

Not me making that peace sign, although it sure looks like it.

Definitely was a fan of this costume vs. the last time I dressed up as Wendy Testaburger from South Park and was stunned that no one got it.