Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Black Friday

So, why do they call it "Black Friday" anyway? I'm talking, of course, about the day after Thanksgiving, which is supposedly the biggest shopping day in the world.

According to the website, the phrase "Black Friday" was coined in 1869 to describe what happened "when several financiers tried to corner the gold market and the market crashed, and a depression ensued." Oh, happy day. (Not.) There have been other black days in the stock market, all leading to real down days financially speaking. I fail to see how borrowing this term to describe a shopping day at the mall is anything but truly twisted.

Trust me, I know that in accounting, being in the black is a good thing. Means you have more money than you're spending. And the stores at the mall want to be in the black. Of course they do. I'm sure they'd like to be there way before the end of November. Are they really that behind in their finances so late in the year? That's a scary thought.

But here's why I think we use the phrase Black Friday to describe the shopping day after Thanksgiving. It's because it is a black, black day indeed when so many Americans completely lose their minds like they do on this shopping day. I don't care how much money you save. When you're camped out in front of a Big Box Store at 2 AM, just hours after you're supposed to be celebrating family and blessings, in order to save $50 on a DVD player, you have a serious problem. When you'll trample other people to make sure you have a chance to get 5 CDs for $5, you're sick. And when someone dies in the stampede, but you just go on shopping anyway, you've lost your mind. Sorry. You have totally lost your mind.

So this Thanksgiving, if you see me wearing black, please know that I'm simply in mourning for the loss of America's self-respect, love for others, and financial responsibility... I mean, I'll be celebrating the American holiday season. Same difference, isn't it?


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Love Comes in Words

In this quick update, I just want to say thank you to all my family and friends. You make me want to give up my perfectionism and just be a normal, healthy human being! I'm 14,600 words into my novel for National Novel Writing Month. Technically, since I started the project on October 25 and am due to finish November 25, I'm actually behind on the goal of getting to 50,000 words. But I may be able to catch up.

Still...keeping up with the word count isn't the hardest part of what I'm doing. The hardest part is keeping the duct tape firmly in place over the mouth of my inner critic. That's the voice every writer has inside, the voice that says, "Wow. I didn't think it was possible for writing to be this lousy...But it is. Wow." Yeah, the inner critic isn't a nice voice to have hanging around in your head.

But thank God for my family and friends, who are as kind and as encouraging as that darned inner critic is obnoxious. When I say, "It's a cheesy novel," my friends say, "Your writing isn't cheesy! Come on now!" When I say, "I have no plot and so my writing's all over the place and won't be good," my writing group says, "Don't be ridiculous. It'll be great. I'm proud of you!" When I say, "I'll let you read it, but it'll be bad," my family says, "We don't care about that. We're just excited to see what you've done."

All this positive reinforcement, all these invitations to just relax and enjoy myself, all these reminders that I don't have to be perfect... I'm so thankful for it all. I need it. God speaks like that...with love and encouragement. And my family and friends speak like that too. Your words carry your love to me. Thank you!

P.S. For those who want to know, the novel is a fantasy story, and it keeps changing on me, new characters keep popping up that I hadn't planned on, and the relationships between them are changing. These characters are keeping me on my toes, I'll tell you that. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNoWriMo Has Begun!

Ok, so you're asking yourself, "NaNoWriMo? What's that?" Don't worry, it's not contagious. It's just the abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. This year, I've decided to give it a try. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That's about 1,667 words per day, for a total of around 200 pages by the end of the month. That's a lot of writing. I'm doing it for two reasons: (1) I want to get into a more regular habit of writing fiction every day and writing plenty of pages, rather than worrying so much about editing my writing that I never get anything done. (2) I'll be able to say I've written a novel, no matter how crappy it turns out. And if I can write one novel, I can certainly write others.

For the next 30 days, I'll be busy writing for NaNoWriMo, and that means I may not be writing as much on this blog. I'm determined to write here once a week, but it will probably be simple entries for the next four weeks...a short hello, a thought for the day, or an update on my NaNoWriMo fun. When November is over and December rolls around, I'll be back to more formal entries here. So stay tuned.

Here's a thought for the day to jumpstart your week: Remember the simple joys of childhood, and let that joy bring a smile to your face today. Halloween was a few days ago. I remember how much fun it was to dress up and go trick-or-treating door to door with my brother. I loved seeing what kind of candy each house would have for us. Talk about carefree days! When you're that age, you have no worries...or at least, you shouldn't. God wants us to have that same carefree attitude, that same in-the-moment joy of living, no matter what age we are. So think back to a time you felt that kind of simple, childlike delight in life, and let that feeling fill you today and carry you through the week.