Sunday, August 23, 2015

A short writing holiday

For whatever reason, I woke up yesterday inspired to revise one of the stories I drafted for NaNoWriMo last November and, with minimal dilly-dallying, that's what I did. It took most of the day but, by bedtime, the second draft was done and sent to my good friend Janet, who agreed to read it (bless her!). The story still feels a long way from finished but at least I made progress.

The basic story line is this: A lonely man, faced with the prospect of a miserable retirement, tries to commit suicide by running the toughest race in Eastern North America.

I know. It's a ridiculous premise but it still works somehow - or, at least, I think it does. The story is one of four I drafted before giving up on NaNo last year. My original plan was to write five or six stories about runners participating in C2C, then weave them together to create a novel.

The first story was very dark. It's about two female university students, long time runners and friends, who become involved with a Jian Ghomeshi-like professor. I don't think I'm going to finish it. I didn't enjoy writing the professor's character and I'm not sure it fits with the other stories anyway.

The second is about an older runner, a lifelong resident of St. John's, coming to grips with the fact that he's in the early stages of Alzheimer's. When I described the plot to Husband last fall, it made his eyes tear up so I think I may be on to something with that one - though it will be hard to avoid ending up with something maudlin.

The last story is about a young Muslim woman, a recent immigrant to Canada, struggling to reconcile her desire to compete in the race with her parents' expectations. I like the premise but will need help from my Muslim friends to ensure it's credible. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone.

It felt good to spend the day immersed in writing - as if I was exercising a part of my brain in need of a good workout. I wish I could find more time for writing fiction but it would likely mean getting up early, and I only do that willingly when I'm on vacation. :-) Perhaps, I'll get more serious about it when I retire.

Speaking of vacation, one of the things I've struggled with this week is feeling like I need to be productive every day - "productive" in the sense that I should be checking things off lists - books read, paintings completed, photos taken, blog posts written, social commitments met, etc. I enjoy all those things. I just wish they didn't feel so much like obligations sometimes.

It looks like the rain has stopped and I hear Husband upstairs, so it's time to sign off and get my butt out the door. I've lots to do before heading back to work tomorrow.

Happy running and writing, friends!

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