Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. World AIDS Day. Advent. Seeking quiet and simplicity, amidst suffering. Contemplating ekphrastic poetry and non-violent communication techniques online. Getting ready for another busy day.
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. All Saints’ Day. #NaNoWriMo. For the past hour, I have been tossing and turning in bed. The past few days have been really hard for me, and I was planning on using NaNoWriMo to work through some of the issues, but things have been coming together in a very exciting way, and so for the past hour, I’ve been eager to start writing.
But before I get too far into my writing, let me provide some of the background. Regular readers of my blog will know that I like to start each month with a blog post beginning “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit”. It harkens to a simple childhood time when that innovation was meant to bring good luck for the coming month. In this case, perhaps good luck for the writing, or good luck for the journey the writing is about.
For those of you that don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is National Novel Writing Month. Every November, people from around the world, I’m not sure how many, hundreds of thousands sounds about right, sit down to write a first draft of a novel. The goal, fifty thousand words in thirty days. Just sit down and write. No editing, just a first pass. You can always go back and edit later.
I’ve done NaNoWriMo various times in the past. A couple times I’ve ‘won’, that is completed fifty thousand words in thirty days. Other times, I’ve hit roadblocks. Still other times, I haven’t even tried because of too many other things going on in my life.
I had not been planning to do NaNoWriMo this year, because of everything else going on in my life. Yet things took some unexpected turns, so I thought maybe I would try a combination of what I tried, unsuccessfully, a few years ago, with various other ideas kicking around.
The idea: Write a stream of consciousness. semi-automatic, semi-autobiographical memoir and reflection on what I’m learning through all of this. I expect during the coming month, I’ll go into much more detail about what ‘all of this’ is really all about. In fact, I was hoping to use NaNoWriMo as a tool to help me figure out some of that.
However, as I lay in bed, ‘all of this’ started to make a lot of sense, a lot more sense than I was ready for, and the shape of my writing may be shifting a little to reflect this.
To reach fifty thousand words, I need to write between sixteen and seventeen hundred words a day. If the words flow well, that isn’t too bad. They’ve been flowing so far, and over the past fifteen minutes I’ve written between four hundred and five hundred words. At this rate, all I really need is an hour of solid writing a day. However, as I’ve learned from other NaNoWriMo efforts, there isn’t always seventeen hundred words worth of thoughts in my mind when I sit down to write, so some days come up short, or take much longer than they should.
Given the nature of my journey, I am not planning on sharing much of this year’s writing on my blog, at least at first. This introduction is an exception, and there may be other exceptions as well. I do expect to share other parts with a limited group of readers. Let me know if you are interested in reading some of these other parts, but don’t be disappointed or take it personally if I say no.
With all of this out of the way, on to day one of NaNoWriMo. Wish me luck.
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. October. Forty years ago this month, a high school senior disappeared on her way home from the college library in a bucolic New England town. They found her body towards the end of the month a few towns over. It is still listed as an unsolved murder.
I had skipped my senior year and was a freshman in college in Ohio and only learned about what was going on through letters from my mother and read about the funeral in newspaper clippings she had sent. I never got to say good bye in a proper way and October has become for me a month of incomplete endings and tenuous new beginnings.
October became the month in which I changed jobs, prepared for my second marriage, saw the birth of my youngest daughter. It is the month that the Federal Fiscal year starts. In some years, like this year, it is the month when Rosh Hashanah falls.
I think about Rocky’s death, soon after Rosh Hashanah back in 1976 and I think about a friend who will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah for the first time as a woman this year. What name is written in the book of life? On Facebook, I have written, “May the name Danielle be written in the book of life.” It is important to put things this way, because Danielle’s parents will not use the name she has chosen to represent her full self, including her gender identity. Instead, they cling to the name they gave her when she was born, a boy’s name.
So, here we are, October 2016. What will I find this month, forty years after Rocky’s death? September has been a very busy month for me and I’ve written much less than I would have liked. I’ve dealt with illness in the family. I’ve dealt with a very busy period at work. I’ve dealt with my spiritual journey. I’ve dealt with running for office again.
This October is likely to bring big events in my spiritual journey, a couple opportunities to read my poetry and deliver stump speeches. It will bring opportunities for reflection, about Rocky and about my mother, both of whom died this month.
When the rain passes, the air will be crisp, with an autumn clarity that reveals so much. What will be revealed this month?
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, the full corn rabbit. In the Episcopal church, it is the feast day of David Pendleton Oakerhater, a Cheyenne Native American who became an artist and Episcopal Deacon. I read his description in Wikipedia and stop to think about forced assimilation and cultural genocide. I ponder how can we best listen to and honor various ideas from other cultures without practicing harmful cultural appropriation.
At starting point, for me, seems to be recognizing and naming where ideas come from, and learning as much as possible about them. Today, I started off with “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit”, like I do on the first of many months, thinking back to the old childhood idea of saying that phrase at the beginning of the month to bring good luck. Each month, I try to find some way to tie it into some of my current thoughts, and perhaps because I had been reading about Oakerhater my mind went to the Native American names for the full moons of each month. I combined that to come up with the Full Corn Rabbit.
The Full Corn Moon, sometimes called the Barley Moon is a Harvest Moon. It makes me think of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.
Yet the Harvest Moon is still a couple weeks away. Today, it is rainy, and there will be a new moon tonight.
This weekend, we will celebrate Kim’s big birthday, assuming that everyone is well enough to celebrate. Fiona has been having another cycle sickness.
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, Raclette. A new month starts. The last one didn’t see as much writing as I would have liked and this month doesn’t look that much more promising. It is Swiss National Day. I remember working for a Swiss bank where they would serve raclette every year on the first of August. The pungent smell of ripe melted cheese would fill the building. I like strong cheeses, but raclette was always a bit much for me.
It is also the Feast of Joseph of Arimathaea and I read lessons about tombs. I read the news, and try to focus. There are a lot of things going on for August and a lot on my mind. Again, I hope to find time to write more later.