Words count, word count

In the process of trying to get a B.A. in literature before I die, I am taking a class in which we are expected to produce a book in a term. We are under orders to “just write, no editing”, which is a difficult thing for a person with a serious internal editor factory-installed. But here we are at 4033 words, so there’s that.

It’s a story I started writing about 24 years — a literal (har) lifetime ago, but never finished. Told at the time by someone I had no business listening to that, “unless you write a novel, you’re not a real writer,” I started and struggled with and allowed it to strangle my own voice. I had had zero interest in writing a novel, I wrote short stories, poems, plays, but not novels. The book as haunted me, hunted me.

One of the things I found in her many many effects when my mother died was a box of my writings. Dot-matrix printer paper, faded, but legible, still holding the Aren’t I Modern feeling of yore. The novel — several iterations of it — lurked in a manila folder.

I had turned these characters around and around in my head over the years, trying to figure out what the hell they wanted, trying to come up with an ending, or even a reason for the middle, and then dropping them, hard, back to the floor and walking away.

So this class. I can highly recommend deadlines as great motivators — especially if you’re grade-powered, as I am. I fight for these letters and this GPA, I fight hard. It is perhaps the only venue in which I really fight for myself (or had been, that’s improving, never fear), and man, I am a scrapper.

Today, 4033, tomorrow the world.

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