I considered entering NaNoWriMo again this year, but my work schedule is going to be too intense to give it the necessary concentration. In fact, most of my creativity has been a little unfocused lately. Scraps here and there, but no real center. Abstract wisps that blow away whenever I hold out my hand. A little disconcerting, but nothing unique for a writer.
I wrote a small post last week, “All the Nouns,” and, though I liked the way it turned out, it was a chore. Because the problem was with the nouns. Not a creative issue, but a memory one. More and more, I’ve been struggling with the names of things. I have a handy desktop app called WebWord that I’ve used for years as a handy dictionary/thesaurus. But if I can’t find the word in my head-top app, it’s hard to find what I’m looking for. I still have a good grasp of the language, but some words are so damned elusive. The world ‘spiral’ for instance. I knew it was the word I wanted, but could not grab it. A common word, but slippery. I can still plot a story in my head, and have a clear goal in mind, but sometimes a single word or two slows down the process. And I’m afraid I look like the village idiot whenever my wife looks over and sees me: mouth agape, eyes unfocused, trying to hunt down the right word. I mean, “spiral”? Really?
I know it’s not uncommon for someone my age (I turned 56 last month) to have memory lapses… missing car keys, where I left my wallet, why I opened the fridge, do we still have a dog? And I’ve always been a bit absent-minded (my folks called me The Absent Minded Professor when I was a boy). Memory is so abstract, but nouns are pretty precise.
I’ll keep working at it, and hunt down the words as needed, but some days it’s frustrating. Coupled with a very intense workload between now and Christmas, maybe I should stick with the camera for a while, do my edit work on A Very Tall Summer, and offer a good home to those wayward nouns.
Regardless, good luck to everyone doing NaNoWriMo next month! Awesome books ahead for all. Be careful out there, and do hold onto those nouns.