Sunday, November 14, 2010

Catching up around the neighborhood

A misty grey morning in East Anglia – thick dampness rolls out of the fens and across the fields, diffusing the morning sunlight and coating the fields with droplets.  The birds and bunnies hide, huddled against the chill; a light frost whitens the roof of the car.

The coffee’s brewed, but the apartment’s quiet and I’m not quite ready to start slinging pans for breakfast.  E-mail and social networks are quiet, family are winners at casino-breaks and photographing dinners in Alaska,  friends are performing in plays and shoveling snows.  A new episode of Sherlock has downloaded overnight; an upgrade is confirmed for an upcoming flight.  It’s a funny world

2 StitchThe RSS feed (left) signals that the twenty-some expat blogs I follow have accumulated a hundred new posts; I start to page through them.  I enjoy reading what everyone writes.  Some folks create postcards: pictures of trips to Prague and of city life in Utrecht, a recipe to try, a story of how their car fell into the canal, sightings of SinterKlaas (can it be Christmas already?).

Others hold advice for travel, for wine, for Christmas Markets, for museum nights. There was a time that this was all so new; now it’s become a familiar melody of shared discoveries, reminding me how far we’ve come.  Some editorialize, sighing about the election, the changing seasons, drug policies, work and neighbors.  The Netherlands look less picturesque this time of year, and I think a lot of folks get the blahs when it’s cold and dark.

A surprising number are signed up for Novel Writing Month, over 1000 words a day.  It’s an unimaginable task to me, that level of plotting characters, perfecting dialog.  I struggle with just crafting  closing paragraphs in blog essays (I need to be more like the BBC correspondents, who always seem to be able to come full circle).

I always hold that any day that survives the first 15 minutes of catching up with what happened back in the US is bound to go along okay.  Bad things happen overnight. 

On Sundays, though, the threshold is higher.  Like scattering a paper across the room while listening to Charles Osgood, time spent catching up around the neighborhood with expat writers is familiar and insightful.

Keep writing; we’re reading.


Jules said...

WriMo isn't about writing anything good. Think of it more like a month-long brainstorm session--most novels, if they're any good, usually take at least that long just to plan out :-)

Dave Hampton said...

I was thinking that it was a matter of giving a kick to those who already had their novel planned and cast. In either case, you still have my respect for even attempting it.