Where I Wrote: The Table Tennis Subway Plaza at the top of the lifts at the 190th St. station on the A line.
How I Feel About What I Wrote: It was genuinely good work that put me at ease about the rest of the book.
The Mood I Brought to the Table: Weirdly unfazed. Unmoved is probably a better way to say it. It was a mood that led to a strange ride home on this final day of NaNoWriMo.
The Experience: I woke up to find that it was nearly 50 degrees. Excellent. That meant I could forgo an indoor location for this last 30 Days outting.
I decided in favor of a good view.
This is the Subway Plaza on Fort Washington Ave., directly before reaching Fort Tryon, a place I found on my return to the Cloisters at the very beginning of this last week of NaNoWriMo.
The view of Inwood and Fort George wasn’t amazing here today–not like it was at the beginning of the week–but it was scenic enough to be pleasant and boring enough to make work easy. Not as grand as Linden Terrace inside of Fort Tryon (my second spot from Day 24, overlooking the Hudson), but thus perfect for focusing on work. Particularly convenient with New Leaf offering public restrooms a short walk north (around the back and through a door that looks locked but absolutely isn’t [meaning you don’t have to buy a generic small coffee that turns out to be $4 and change]).
Here, I ironed out more of the kinks with the endgame. To be honest, I didn’t realize there were still problems with my protagonists’ plan, but, after brainstorming way too much the past few days, last night and this morning saw really simple fixes popping into mind. Scenes that would only be possible if the set up for the endgame was like this… and hey, wouldn’t you know it, that works perfectly. I spent a good while at the plaza, working and making those fixes until the weather turned and I realized that the Subway Plaza was in the adjacent buildings’ shadow for the last few hours of the day (making it yet another spot that would be better in summer). I packed up and headed home.
And had a bizarre train ride. I wasn’t sure why exactly, but something bothered me about the day.
Broken down to my simplest reaction to it, I was disappointed. Somehow, I expected everything to fit into place at this point. I’m fine with not finishing the book on NaNoWriMo’s deadline… but I thought the last day of 30 Days would be more spectacular in some way. I saw the weather and perhaps thought that it would be sunny and beautiful–that I’d be able to tell a final, good story.
But there was nothing. And as I rode back home, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d missed some opportunity. That I’d gotten the bad ending. Which led me to the strange thought…
Well, I guess there’s next year.
Next year… to have a perfect outting? As if… I couldn’t just keep going out this year? As if I now had to return home and turn sedentary again? As if life was a video game or a meticulously composed plot? As if I’d lost anything at all?
As if I’d learned nothing from 30 Days of NaNoWriMo?
No. No, I won’t do it. Fuck you.
Because this is how life works. Life is all about throwing the curve balls at you. 30 Days has ultimately been about me repeatedly dealing with, learning from, and avoiding those curve balls. I knew that–I have for a long while now. Just like I know that the one major lesson of 30 Days is to…
Just… keep… working. To not give up. To not surrender to distractions. To not give in to the reflex to walk away from a story. To not wait for writer’s block to go away, but to keep hammering at it until it yields. To never let a piece of your work cool for so long that it turns dun and lukewarm in the open air. To not give up–ever.
And, for me, personally, to never ignore what I want and never lose faith in what I can do.
Because Memory is a chapter from being finished. I lost NaNoWriMo. Okay. I’m fine with that.
But I won myself back. For the first time in years, I finally feel like myself again and not the horribly depressed person that the last 3 years of circumstance made me.
So, this is my grand ending. I will end 30 Days with this 30th day, because I don’t want to prolong it. I don’t want to drag it out.
And because I know that regardless of challenges and deadlines and every other curve ball the world throws at me, I will finish Memory in the next few days. Nothing could stop me from doing so. I will post when I do and then take a short hiatus to handle a ton of things I need to do for myself.
Until then, thank you to everyone who’s read. Tons of thanks especially to those who Liked and Followed during the month, but also, of course, thanks to anyone who stopped here, whether you’ve come back or not; even if you never read this, thank you.
And to any writer who’s had a remotely similar experience to mine–who’s struggled like I’ve struggled–never give up. Never wait on your ideas. Never smother them with lethargy. Never write for anyone other than yourself.
But most of all, never add qualifiers. Never strictly regiment what you write. Never set standards that will break you if you don’t meet them.
Instead, just write. Don’t wait for a particular month. Don’t wait for a particular mood. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect because it never will. Write often. Write from the heart. Write in places that you love and places where you’ve never been. Write until it’s a strange addiction that you find you’re suddenly terrified to lose.
Write until it feels like maybe it’s unhealthy. And at that point, do not stop.