This month, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it’s affectionately known. This year, more than 400,000 people around the world have joined the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. In Columbia, Missouri, we have more than 200 people taking part. On day 5, we’ve already written about 700,000 words as a community. Amazing! I appreciate how NaNoWriMo makes a solitary endeavor into a social one. Send me your luck and encouragement for my adventure of writing fiction for the first time!
For my blog during November, I’ll be posting unedited excerpts from my writing. My story is a Young Adult novel that centers on Dot, a 17-year-old girl in her last year at school on the foggy island where she lives. Just when she thinks her life as an awkward outcast has ended with the start of a new relationship, she has to decide how much she will give to be in a couple. Her boyfriend, Drake, gets involved with an unusual drug. Will she get involved too?
Days when he’s home, the light from the kitchen floods in my room. The smell of coffee wafts over my bed. He rattles around, clinking mugs and getting his toast ready. I love it when he’s home. Our house is a much friendlier place.
But it’s the first day of school and he’s not here. I sigh and turn on the light. It’s my job to be the responsible one.
I keep my shawl on the top of my bed so I can wrap up in it first thing. It’s warm. It doesn’t matter than it’s August. We don’t have a warm season on the island. We have a frosty, foggy, windy winter and a foggy, windy, cool summer. They say there are two seasons here where the mainland has four.
Once in the kitchen, I put on the kettle. I only have coffee when my dad’s home. I just make tea if it’s me.
I have all my school supplies set out from the night before. I keep them in a felted wool bag I made myself. We’re known for our wool and knitted items.
I gather my things and leave early so I can make it in time. I know there are people in my class who haven’t even woken up by the time I have to leave my house. They can wake up and run down the mountain to class, making it in time.
For me, I have to plan. “My planner and plodder girl,” says my dad.
I go out the gate and start to walk the rocky way to school.
I still haven’t decided which way to take.
The way most people my age would take is steep. It’s a direct path down to the village on the waterfront. Rocky, rough and only a person’s width, I only walk it if I’m with someone who insists. I’ve fallen too many times on it to make it my first choice.
But I’ve been thinking that I could learn to walk it. If it were early enough like now, maybe I could find all the places I have enough traction. I could go slowly, not holding anyone back behind me. I would save at least 10 minutes.
I stand at the place where the shortcut starts.
The cut or the route?
As always, I see the steepness and catch my breath. If I fall, I will have to start school with bruises and blood. Once again, I’ll hear their names. Dumb Dot. Clumsy Dot. Or even worse, Poor Dot with her bad leg. She must have tried to take the shortcut again.
I imagine the girls shaking their heads in pity over me. I decide to take the wagon route.