November’s Monthly Musings … of words, war and a wonderful weekend

Just scraping in on the last day of the month with this one, in three parts ….

Words …

November was NaNoWriMo month and I, along with thousands of other people have spent all their free time bashing out words in the hopes that they will reach the target of 50,000 words and have a rough (in my case rough as heck) skeleton for a novel that they can then add to and edit into a story that many people will want to read. I’m really rather pleased to say that, as of two days ago, I hit the 50k target and verified my win. It’s by no means done – a significant amount of it says things like [write Elspeth magic teapot scene] and other exciting notes like [this completely contradicts what you wrote in chapter 2 so you’ll have to sort that out later] – but it does have a shape and I still like it, so not only is it a win word count wise, but it’s a personal win as well.

Speaking of word counts, since 1 January this year I have now written just under 240,000 words. I’m actually quite astounded at the level of output given the first four months of the year barely contained any, since I was still studying. Obviously NaNo accounts for 20% of them but looking at my tracker I can see that another 30% were written by hand during my retreat in May and 12% were from the world building I did during Camp NaNo in July. The remaining 38% are a mix of writing prompt exercises, blog posts, reviews, original short stories and journaling. It’s an awful lot of words and I’m awfully proud of myself.

And speaking of proud, I also now have Words In Print. Yes, that’s right, your friendly neighbourhood Authoress is now a Published Authoress. My short story Tales from the River Bank has been included in A Murmuring of Bees, which is the most delightful anthology of stories about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson and the love that they share. More details are here, if you want to take a look and maybe buy a copy.

War …

Since November also contains Armistice Day I spent a long weekend in London so that I could attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. As usual I ended up blinking back tears as I tried to find room in my head to remember all the millions of people who have, and are currently, suffering due to wars past and present. To fight seems to be part of the human condition and I cannot see any way, at the moment, that the wars and coups and genocides which are happening across this planet can be stopped. But just because a way isn’t obvious doesn’t mean that it’s useless to look and I hope that we can all continue to oppose injustice and hatred wherever we find it and keep doing so until we do reach a state of genuine peace. After all, we are a race that needs hope to keep going and I’m going to keep this particular hope in the forefront of all my actions for the foreseeable future.

Now I’ve got that off my chest we can get on with the third part of my title

A Wonderful Weekend …

As well as spending half of Sunday standing on a cold pavement for five hours I also did quite a few other things. First of all, my darling friend Cat managed to get us tickets to see Susan Calman’s Keep Calman Carry On show on the Thursday evening of my arrival in the big smoke. My review is here but needless to say it was awesome and if her tour happens to go anywhere near where you live, I urge you to get a ticket immediately. I also had a lovely meal and chat with Cat and generally went to bed feeling warm and fuzzy.

Friday involved a morning at the British Museum seeing their Sunken City exhibit, coffee and cake with friends in the afternoon and then seeing No Man’s Land at the Wyndham Theatre in the evening. It was bloody marvellous, which is unsurprising with Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart sharing the stage, and I have reviewed the play here if you want to know my more in depth thoughts about it.

Saturday was Harry Potter day! After a delightful brunch in the Foyles café whilst catching up with my friend Val I toddled off to the Palace Theatre for Harry Potter and Cursed Child Part 1. I bought merchandise and generally got over-excited waiting for it to start and then didn’t want to leave the theatre for the gap between Parts 1 and 2. But since they don’t let you stay I wandered down to the Cote Brasserie on St Martin’s Lane, inhaled some Bouillabaisse (channeling my inner Hermione) and then zoomed back up to have my bag searched again and resume my seat for Part 2. My review of the play as a whole is here. Suffice to say that whilst I would probably have switched off the computer if I was reading the script as a fanfic, the staging and the actors made it a magical experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

Sunday was Remembrance Day but after the service was over I made my way across London to thaw out over a proper pub Sunday lunch with a group of friends. There was much laughter, gossip, hugging, and general glorious goodness as we set the world to rights (well, as right it can be at the moment) and giggled about unimportant but happiness inducing things. It was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

Other than the London weekend, the rest of the month that hasn’t involved has been spent quietly at home, working on NaNo, getting over two bouts of being poorly and generally trying to find the time to do all the things that need doing. Oh and going to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Which was fantastic and I’ve review it here.

And now, returning after a month’s absence even fluffier and wigglier than usual, I give you ….

*drumroll and wild applause*

(transcribed by She-Who-Thinks-She-Is-Pack-Leader)

 Since the start of the month contained all the whooshes, whizzes and bangs that I hate so much I shall not speak of it, other than to say that She-Who-Thinks-She-Is-Pack-Leader should schedule her visits the place called London better so that I don’t have to face the horror of the local Bonfire and Fairground alone and uncared for. How I didn’t waste away and go into a terminal decline I shall never know. That I am still here to write you all is a testament to my constitution and desire not to disappoint you, my beloved fans.

Your transcriber, now she’s stopped laughing at Dog’s amateur dramatics (which have a certain fainting heroine note about them that makes me wonder what she’s been reading), would like it to be known that Madam was left in care of my parents who love her just much as I do and spoil her rotten to boot.

The rest of the month has been far more acceptable. I have been walked in the autumn leaves, cuddled in front of the fire, had a new type of treat introduced into my evening snacks and, most importantly, been able to give lots of new men the once over before they were allowed into the house. I fulfilled my duty as Protector of the Known Borders in outstanding fashion and none of them will try anything funny whilst they’re in my house.

Your transcriber would like it to be known that these men whom she vetted so assiduously (by sneezing on and waggling vigorously at them) were respectively the plumber and the two handy men who put a new path and flowerbeds in. In case any of you were thinking I’d suddenly gone from no partner to having a multitude thereof!

Obviously I have made sure to pose for photos where ever and whenever was practical and She-Who-Thinks-She-Is-Pack-Leader has chosen the best ones for your delectation and delight. I’m off now to do another border patrol before the frost comes down and the crunching of frozen grass ruins my Stealth SneakTM , I don’t want to miss the chance of surprising the Ginger Tom from across the way again. He makes such an undignified meeping noise if I appear speeding towards him unexpectedly.

Your transcriber can confirm the truth of that statement. He does. I’ve only ever seen it once but the meep was both terrified and deeply amusing! But you’re more interested in pictures of Dog in her natural state, and I’m happy to oblige you:

And that’s it for November. I hope the month has treated you kindly.


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