Playing Catch-Up

So, it’s been a while, but I did warn you. NaNoWriMo is kicking my ass in terms of time management, but I am most definitely killing that word length. Roughly 23,000 words in 8 days! It took my a whole year to write my honors thesis which was only 15,000. I have to wonder what the hell I was doing with myself during that time, but admittedly classes and such probably took out a chunk of my days. Factor in obligatory procrastination aaaand…well. You get the picture.

Obviously I’ll report on the glories of the beast that is NaNoWriMo before going into any detail regarding the past few weeks (days? how long has it been?), as well as provide a little sneak peak at what I’ve been writing so voraciously. I have to say that being a working woman has definitely benefitted me this month, since I have nothing to come home to aside from a bottle full of word prompts and two hours before it’s time to make dinner. My productivity has skyrocketed since it started raining, as well, since why bother getting dressed if I’m not going out and my computer is so close to my bed anyway so it’s best to just stay in my cocoon and pound out a few thousand words, no? It’s been a real eye-opener for me in terms of discipline. My dear friend Jessica, who heads up her blog over here, has always been the more prolific writer between the two of us, so it’s nice to be able to tell her that I’m getting a lot done in a day. Admittedly I’ve not reached her level of word vomit (IT’S OVER 9000!!!!) but I definitely try! 3,000 a day is nothing to sneer at.

VENUS is coming along like a stream of memories might fall out of a person’s mouth during conversation. Word prompts definitely help my main character along, giving her something to talk to me about while I make tea or rummage for whatever pasta I have left in the cupboard. There’s something to be said for simply listening to the recounting of a person’s childhood or writing her first college lab report. Having graduated with a Literature degree, writing about a girl who majors in Plant Biology is an exercise in patience, since she has ideas and concepts in her head that I just don’t understand. Thankfully we can agree to gloss over the finger points of her education, as the social and political environment around her schooling is far more important, what with the faeries of the world rising up in revolution…


VENUS excerpt

This is posted up on my NaNoWriMo profile page, so arguably I’m not giving you what any other bored, curious Internet troll could find. However, given that it’s the first memory my main character recalled for me, I think it’s appropriate to pass on to you. Something to think about, no? There’s plenty in there regarding the world setting, the brutal reaction of her father to the birth of Squalor, etc. Pull on those old English Comp notes that are stuck in some crevice of your brain and let me know what you think.

These past few weeks have been busy at work, finally. I’m glad to finally have something more to be doing, and I think that the fact that my coworkers are actually assigning me tasks is both a good and a bad thing. Good because I wasn’t given much by means of training and I don’t know what I can be proactive about, especially when any ideas I put forward are somewhat stonewalled, no matter how often I say them. Bad in that I’m not really given the opportunity to present ideas anymore because preparation for the Spring semester takes precedence over any silly comments I might make about something like university swag. The work in the office, however, is something I enjoy, even if it’s just stapling papers. I like to feel useful, otherwise I get antsy.

I’m really looking forward to the coming holidays. Thanksgiving is around the corner and the students are prepping parties since they won’t be home to celebrate. A few friends and I are coordinating our own little get-together, and hopefully it will all turn out well since my friend, Maria, hails from Mexico and has never cooked a turkey before! Luckily Kayla’s fiancé Taylor will be arriving into Florence a few days prior, and given his mother’s being a professional chef, I think we’ll have sufficient backup in case salvaging is necessary. In addition to our American gluttony, the German Christmas markets will be opening up in Piazza Santa Croce in the coming weeks, and with a ready stop for beer and bratwursts on the way to work, I’m fearing for both my wallet and my middle. Skinny I may be, but even my bottomless pit can be defeated by bread, bear, and brats.

In addition to that, my busy November gets even busier as my friend, Irene, is graduating from Bocconi University up in Milan the weekend after next, and I’ll of course be heading up to Milan for a few days to celebrate with her, her family, and her friends. Then Thanksgiving happens, followed immediately by an intensive, 20-hour weekend TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. I decided, after the urging of my mother and a family friend here in Florence, that any sort of advantage would be fantastic, and being TEFL-certified is most definitely an advantage. Teaching positions, otherwise barred to me due to lack of accreditation, will be opened up all around the world, not just Europe. Opportunities are endless, and while I have plans to remain in Europe a little longer (grad school at NUI Galway is looking fabulous right now), I like to think that I’ll eventually make it to Japan again and maybe even Southeast Asia as well.

Christmas this year will be spent at home, as I believe I mentioned briefly in a post some time ago, so I’ve been told that there will be a list of goodies for me to bring back, cheese being high up on that list. Also penis pasta. Because reasons. Since I’m no longer a student and have progressed to marginally-paid-working-woman, I now have the distinct “pleasure” of participating in the adult White Elephant gift game rather than benefiting from familial generosity, so I have to pick out a particularly exciting and flashy Italian gift to add to the pile. Last time when I studied here I sent my dad back with olive oil, wine, David underwear, and cheese, but it wasn’t too much of a hit. I noticed platters are pretty popular, given the ladies of my family like to cook/entertain, so…thoughts abound. We’ll see what I can come up with. The price limit is $25, but you can’t buy shit here for $25 so I’m going with €25. I will make it work, damnit!

I’m hedging on 3:00am now, so I should probably wrap things up. I didn’t get much writing done today since Kayla, Aniya, and I went on a photoshooting rampage. Kayla is setting up a freelance photography/videography company this coming spring, and so she asked Maria, Aniya, and I to be her portfolio models. We graciously accepted. Read: we squealed with joy and threw ourselves on the sword of her artistic genius. You can find her website here! She asked us to experiment with our “mind junk”, which is explained in detail on her site, but essentially it boiled down to the ideas that keep us up at night. Naturally I hit on writing (because no one shuts up in my head when I want to sleep), and we got some good photos of me, my computer, and a hot cup of tea piled around a desk, just like it always is. Aaah, wonderful. If only every day was like that.

In any case, you can tell that it’s been a long exciting day—hell, FEW WEEKS— so I’m ready for bed, but I can’t wait to get the results of our shots, so I’ll share definitely with you all when I get them. Hope all’s well in the world. Ciao, darlings~~!

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