I’m happy to announce that I have awarded myself the “Aha!” badge for NaNoWriMo 2015. Currently, I am at 3875 words, passed the 3333 daily word count.
I’m also admitting to the title of NaNoWriMo Rebel, continuing the trend of the past two NaNo’s. For my word count this year, I’m including novel-writing and my blog posts; a bulk of my words for today were from a short story I wrote for my English class. I’d rather not commit my word count exclusively to my novel, and by including my blogs and written classwork (I’m only including essays or lengthy written projects like today’s), I feel secure in my work towards my goal.
And the goal of NaNoWriMo is, behind it all, to write. If the almighty leaders wanted us to obey the rules 100%, they would not have thrown “Rebel” into the NaNoWriMo formula. Besides, it would go against the NaNo mindset of being crazy and creative in this whirlwind of a month, splat in the middle of our daily lives. If my word count ways work for me, and other ways work for other people, and we all continue writing, that’s what matters most, right?
On another note, I really adore the short story I wrote today. I scribbled it in a notebook before I typed a clean draft, and that’s when emotions started sinking in.
My English class recently finished The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (who’s been a big influence in my writing style lately–he’s the King of Alliteration!) and wrote research papers surrounding the Spokane and other Native American cultures.
Originally I choose a prompt about Spokane history, culture, and cuisine (that one caught my attention first), but the topic was so broad I had trouble narrowing it down. Not only that, but my classmates continuously declared my topic to be their prompt as well, and the hipster part of my heart cried out in a desperation to be different.
Most of all, though, I thought about our professor having to read all these similar papers. Spokane history is fascinating, rich, and lengthy (having lasted thousands of years!), but I’m not sure we’d teach her new facts. I could be wrong of course, thinking back too much on the high school level effort, but I still see the “just get it done” attitude in college. But there are plenty of times when an assignment should not be made out as a bigger than it is, yet that is a whole other topic.
Okay, so, disregarding my issues with my prompt, I continued to read up on Spokane history, and wrote over a page to begin. After the 1st rough draft, real research began. I continued jumping into the many informational rabbit holes of the Internet, when I discovered a huge tidbit of information:
The Native American community has the greatest rate of youth suicides.
This struck me. This inspired me. This killed me, especially after learning about the struggles on the reservation and all that Arnold Spirit Jr., tells about the reservation, with its poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, dysfunctional families, and sense of being trapped. I set out to research more, and began learning about both the bad and the good–the good being how the Native American community is working to solve the epidemic.
My story is the second part of this project… there is a research paper and a creative presentation. I cycled through ideas, switching from a powerpoint presentation, to a story, to a poem, and finally back to a story. My boyfriend wrote a song/rap, and he’s been inspiration in my decision to write a story. And tomorrow, just like him, I get to share a piece of my passion with my class.
The story is a two-page narrative about a Washington Native American, and his views of his tribe’s and entire ethnic group’s situation regarding suicide. While I’ve never been in the situation he is in, I drew information and insight from the news articles and Alexie’s novel. I experimented with Alexie’s writing style as well, and I think it came out well.
Modesty aside, actually, I love the story! And I’m excited to share it. After all the research, Alexie’s book, and my own experiences, the story is closer to me than I originally thought. Actually, I almost felt wrong to be writing about the struggles of a culture and group of people I had not experienced life with… but at the end of the story, through the story, there are the universal themes of loss, defeat, and hope–experiences resonating with every culture and ethnicity.
And that was my “Aha!” moment today. Remembering how very connected we all are.