This past weekend was the 15th Annual Baltimore Book Festival, which, for me, meant three full days of unpaid physical labor in the heart of the city on a couple of the hottest days of the season. Stationed at the information booth, official job title “Info Booth Captain” (fancy schmancy), I answered festival-goers’ questions and provided them with my wealth of knowledge about the three-day event, including what time Nigel Barker was speaking, where the bathrooms were, and the fact that, yes, there is a children’s section—you’re standing in it.
It was a long and tiring weekend. On Saturday, I went to bed at 10:30, which is something I haven’t done since I was about 13 years old, so that should give you an idea of just how exhausted I was. (I slept for a blissful 11 hours that night.) But I was lucky enough that the people I worked with were as friendly and helpful as they could be, and I also had the awesome experience of meeting Frog and Toad of Frog and Toad Are Friends.
I also bought a totally cool tank top and the lunch bag picture below from Squidfire, which is a rad local duo of artists.
Peanut butter sandwiches just got cooler.
One thing I did not do was buy books—I was mostly too tired to browse when I was on breaks, and book browsing takes a lot of effort. But I also have at least 20 books of my own that I’ve yet to read, so I should maybe get on that before I spend more money.
I’m glad to have had the experience of working Book Fest and seeing just how much goes into putting on such a large event. It still baffles me that anything gets accomplished ever by anyone anywhere. When I attended a Book Fest meeting with BOPA employees and neighbors a few weeks ago, it was interesting to see who else was in attendance. Everyone from the Department of Sanitation to the dudes that show up a week early to put up the tents know exactly what’s going on, and that’s pretty cool.
Speaking of books, I’m crazy. Because I’ve decided to write a book. A novel. In the course of a month. November 1st, 12 a.m. marks the first day of National Novel Writing Month, which ends at 11:59 p.m., November 30th. Thousands of people willingly sign up for this masochistic event and make a promise (or at least an attempt) to write 50,000 or more un-edited words in just 30 short days. I’ve been instructed by NaNoWriMo to shout my quest from the rooftops so that, if nothing else, a desire to not completely embarrass myself by failing at this surely-doomed attempt will motivate me to keep going and see my work through.
So, dear friends, I ask that you hold me to it. I’m going to write a horribly organized novel in the month of November.
Surely, this will make for some good blogging material, as well. In fact, it’s likely all I’ll talk or think about. I will probably not sleep well. I will probably bite happy people. But I will also write 50,000 words, at least. What’s great and also terrible is the fact that I am not allowed to edit myself whatsoever. This is a foreign thing to me. While some bloggers have no problem doing the whole stream of consciousness thing and then later making it actually sound good, I edit as I go. This often makes for a painstaking process when I’m blogging or writing a research paper or even drafting an important email. I strive for perfection every time. Not that everything I write is perfect, but sometimes I do occasionally think I am the definition of perfection, so this will be a nice, slap-in-the-face reminder that I am, in fact, not.
The one thing I do have going for me is the fact that I’ve actually had the same idea for a novel floating around in my head for over a year now. I’m excited about the concept, because the concept itself is definitely appealing. But it will be a great challenge executing it so that it’s interesting, makes sense, doesn’t make readers want to kill themselves and/or the main character, etc. I guess that’s the beauty of novel writing.
With that in mind, know that I may or may not be exceptionally angry, sarcastic, irritated, cynical and violent between now and November 30th. Starting now, I’ll be figuring out just what exactly I want this novel to say and be without actually writing the book itself. And then, it’s all downhill from there as nonsense spews from my fingertips and into the word processor.
If you’d like to join me in this sure-to-be tumultuous time, head over to NaNoWriMo and sign up. As I go along, I’ll update you on my progress, and you can either laugh at me or support me as you wish. If you choose the former, beware: I’m not kidding about that biting thing.