I don't know the rules. Can you write the memoir of a love affair that is still going on?
But first, a little background:
NaNoWriMo comes around each November. It's kind of like the ultimate grand over-the-top Thanksgiving buffet at somebody's grandmother's country club. You can go through the line, assume you're supposed to get some of everything, stuff yourself silly, and possibly even fall out on the floor with a coronary.
And yet. Everything is there for a hungry person to get properly nourished and gain strength, too.
Last year, I played around the edges of NaNoWriMo; didn't make it to 50,000 words; but when I looked back last night at the fictional story I started then, I discovered much to my surprise that it gave me shivers in a good way and that there is more there there than I earlier realized. It's called "Another Shoe to Drop," and I'm fired up to get back to it.
After I get to wherever it is I am going with this year's NaNoWriMo exercise.
Mid-October, Buck and I thought about running up to the mountains for a week. Most of the vacation rentals have cutesy names. I imagine you've seen them: Bear's Lair, Almost Heaven, Hummingbird Haven, whatever. The one we found was called The Perfect Getaway. The weather in Pensacola turned cool and crisp right about then, and we decided it was just too wonderful here to leave.
But when I half-jokingly signed up for NaNoWriMo and the computer-generated form asked me for my title and genre, here is what I threw up on the board:
Title: The Perfect Getaway, a road trip novel
Genre: chick lit
Just for the record, I really hate the so-called genre named "chick lit." I used to carry packages of "Chicklets" gum when I was in high school, and the idea seems similar: bite-size bits of sugar-coated gunk quickly chewed and then spit out. It's a marketing designation, not a genre. Then again, there are a lot of hard working moms and other folk out there who sure can use a little cotton candy in their lives, so I should be clear to say it's a preference, not a judgment.
Anyway. When November 1 rolled around, I decided to try a little morning writing on my "chick lit" road trip, coming of age novel.
What came out is the memoir of a grand love affair. The love affair that made a life. The one that is still going on. I sort of turned it into fiction. Yeah, right. I changed my name to "Diane" and Buck's name to "Jess." Oh, and also the names of other real people. Changed them, too. Otherwise, it's pretty riveting (to me, anyway) true stuff about the anatomy of a life-changing love affair, the building of businesses, the architecture of a long-running happy marriage.
I was stunned to realize that in more than 8,000 words, I had only covered the day we met, and two additional times together after that "love at first sight" experience, the one that happened in the daytime in Tampa, Florida with hundreds of people around us and our clothes on. As the writing continues, I am moving away from the safe shore, and stroking steadily for the deep water. It is compelling, and feels like growth.
It's a real trip to write. Maybe not a road trip, but a trip, that's for sure.
And upon reflection, I don't know, maybe it is chick lit, of a sort, but I hope it will grow up to become woman lit and man lit.