(NaNo Near You)
Written on November 4th
Four days into NaNo is scary, a place people start thinking they might have to give up. After a robust start, suddenly you’ve run out of words. You frantically scour your dwelling top to bottom, throw the pillows to the floor, uproot the cushions on the couch, flail a broom uselessly under the bed, annoying any number of dust bunnies, but there are no words to be found anywhere. And what’s worse, that legion of deep old personal demons, the ones you were going to settle a score with by winning, are rustling in the shrubbery outside. You pull the curtains tighter. The boat is going down.
So, when the doorbell rings unexpectedly, who’s in the lifeboat floating outside? Who do you picture standing there to help you in, give an encouraging pat on the back, a conspiratorial smile, taking their turn at the oars? The cartoonist Lynda Barry would definitely be in my lifeboat. The woman has guts to the max. She sits down every day with her special ink and brushes and draws, and she litters her drawings with bits of her past, which is as close to working with your own skin and bones as it gets. It doesn’t matter that she can’t draw because her character really move. I look at them and see that’s exactly how they move, that she’s nailed it. She’s wonderful. I think of her and I think, I can do this, I can write this novel if I just keep going. And then I keep going.