Hands shoved deep in the pockets of my blue jeans

Bare shoulders gleaming in the sun, smelling like

my coconut lotion.  We look at each other and laugh

for no reason other than we are happy, and this

feels like a love song.  My loose hair

blows, I twist it tight with my fingers, you shift

into second.  I pick a new song, we both know the words.

It has a hidden meaning to me, I wonder

if you guess.  I don’t care if you do.  My heart

feels safe with you.  Bales of hay

lay in the fields, blackberry bushes,

promise sweet things.  The river sparkles, the sky

holds a pale moon.  Tonight it will glow

and make a path on the lake and I hope

I am still with you.


You know that part in my first post where I said I’d never want to write a post admitting I failed at my goal?

Well.  This is it.

It’s July…November is long gone.  It’s summer now.  And I’m ashamed to say I didn’t finish my story.  My baby sister was born on Thanksgiving Day.  Dad made Thanksgiving Dinner (an altogether dangerous experience; a pan blew up in the kitchen and there was buckshot in the turkey) and then drove Mom to the hospital.  Things absolutely fell apart (in the best sense) and our house became very crazy and there was no way I could finish my novel.  I don’t think I could have had the necessary alone -time to finish that book…if I had even wanted it.

So I visited this journal today for the first time in awhile and it made me smile.  I’m not really all that disappointed that I didn’t finish my novel.  It was fun in 2007 but I think it wasn’t something I could reasonably do in 2008.  I’m not sure it’s something I’ll ever do again.  It was a good experience and had a definite place in my growth as a writer, but there are a lot more things I need to learn now, and I don’t think quantity of words is necessarily one of them.

I’m going to The Master’s College in Southern California in the fall.  I’ll be majoring in Communications and hope to get a journalism internship or two eventually.  I think I want to work in journalism.  I’m not positive yet, but the idea of traveling to world-changing places and meeting world-changing people, and changing the world through my writing, excites me.  I’ve always liked to be where the action is.  We’ll see…college will probably show me in good time whether I’ll love it or hate it.  I know I’ll learn a lot of new things and I’m open to going in a different direction.  But whatever I do, I hope (and I think) it’ll have to do with writing.

I’m excited about college.  Excited about dorm life and LA beaches (I wanna learn to surf! lol) and trying new stuff and Disneyland (okay not really this one…haha) and the class “Writing for Publication” I’m taking on Wednesday nights and chapel and doing a semester in Israel (hopefully my sophomore year…Master’s has an amazing program there) and all kinds of stuff.  I’m sad about leaving home and my family and my friends and not waking up every day in my beautiful little valley.  But it’s gonna be OK.  I don’t want to think about that part too much.

My story begins on Halloween 1914, and by now it is May 1915.  I think I’ll cover several more years before my story is done, so today I was doing some research on women’s fashions during this era.  I’m learning that the styles were much freer and more natural and graceful at this point then they were previously…women looked less like hourglasses and more like women.

You can see the more boyish looks of the 1920’s beginning to emerge in this French fashion plate from 1914.

Children’s clothes are also a little more comfortable and little less grown-up.

The short-lived restrictive “hobble skirt” craze was the brunt of many jokes…including the one captured on this 1912 postcard (The Hobble Skirt.  “What’s that?  It’s the speed-limit skirt!”).

The skirt of this 1913 dinner dress is an example of a draped hobble skirt.

This sumptous satin evening gown was designed around 1912.  It is trimmed with chiffon and lace, with a bodice of silk velvet.


This page from a 1916 McCalls magazine shows the changing styles…shorter hemlines, more natural waists and less full skirts.  Also, the bob was beginning to become a fashionable hairstyle at this point.

Even though styles were becoming more practical in the years surrounding World War I, there was still plenty of extravagance.  This fashion plate dates 1912.

What you might have worn on your feet as a lady in 1917.

This elegant matron models one of the large, elaborate hats still considered a fashion staple in 1914.

This beautiful photograph of the Russian Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna was taken in 1912 and is from the Beinecke Library (Romanov Collection, General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University).  Notice her lovely dress, belted at the waist, and wide, broad-rimmed hat.


OK this is weird but I’ll just fess up.  Do you guys ever feel like during the month of November you are constantly reading other things with an eye for wordiness?  I do that all the time!  Just reading a friend’s email or a good book…I’ll forever be injecting words in the pages to “up” the writer’s word count (aren’t I helpful).  Like I’ll read a sentence and think, “Oh, she could have added this and this and this and this email/letter/paragraph/novel/essay would be longer.”  And then I’ll catch myself and think, “You idiot…this isn’t a NaNoWriMo story!”

Am I completely alone in this or has anyone done the same thing??

I have a headache and my back hurts but a little bit more of my story has been hashed out so it’s all good.

I’ve decided that writing a novel is a lot like playing a sport.  No one else understands why you would want to spend hours of every day at it, and in the end, there’s no guarantee it will pay off.  But there’s still the thrill, the excitement, the adrenaline when you it just right.  There’s even a certain kind of camaraderie with your fellow novelists.  You all know that you’re doing something slightly insane but the point is…you’re doing it together.

If you can’t tell…I miss soccer right now.

The view outside my window is getting increasingly bleak.  More and more leaves are escaping the sycamore trees and its a constant battle to keep wet, heavy blankets of them from killing the lawn.  It’s a good time to write a novel because there isn’t that all that beautiful sunshine to distract you.

I miss summer, too.

Today is the midway point.  I should be at 25,000 words…and I’ll be at about 12,000 when I hit the sack.  Part of me is just not sure if I have much more to offer right now.  But I don’t want to fail.  I keep adding anecdotes that do not need to be added and dialogues that probably clutter up my story more than add clarity to my characters.  Ugh how confusing.  My Dad says people don’t buy books by the word count…which is very true but…this is a challenge I’ve set for myself and I hate to give up or throw in the towel.  People who know me well know that I hate turning down dares.  Dumb, I know, but once I’ve got a challenge in mind or have begun one, its hard not to consider myself a failure for quitting even if I have the most legitimate reasons.

So I’m not giving up yet.  If I write approximately 2534 words a day, I’ll get there.  So my goal for the end of this weekend is to be at 15,000.  That will give me a little extra “cushion” (haha).  Let’s see if I can’t bust this one out.

By the way, I really loved something that Katherine Paterson had to say in her NaNoWriMo pep talk.  It really helped me think.  Here it is:

I live in Barre, Vermont which calls itself the “Granite Capital of the
World.” Outside our town are enormous quarries, so when I speak in local
schools every child has a mental picture of a granite quarry. “You know how
hard it is to get granite out of the quarry,” I say. “You have to carefully
score the rock and put the explosive in to make the great granite block
break loose from the face of the stone. Then you have to attach the block
to the chains so that the cranes can lift it slowly out of the hole and put
it on the waiting truck. That’s the first draft. It’s hard, dangerous work,
and when you’ve finished, all you’ve
really got is a block of stone. But
now you have something now to work on. Now you can take your block down to
the shed to carve and polish it and turn it into something of beauty.
That’s revision.”  But first you’ve got to get that block of granite out of the earth,
friends. You won’t have anything to make beautiful until you do that.

So I’m trying to get that concept into my head.  I’m not polishing granite here, I’m just taking out a chunk of rock.  I think trying to fix everything as I go is my form of laziness…I don’t want to have to edit everything later.  What I need to understand is that my job right now is just to get words on paper.  Later, I’ll have time to take care of the rest.  Like they say…December is editing month.

I’m sure I am preaching to the choir here…sorry about that!  I guess I’m giving myself a pep talk.

Back to the book.

Love, Keely