It's the most spookiest time of the year.
Even though the leaves aren't changing here, I'm soaking up the fall vibes and the cooler weather we're finally experiencing here in north Texas. My sweaters are back in the rotation, I've got a bunch of pumpkins real and fake sitting out on display, I've eaten 2.5 bags of candy corn since October 1st, and I have a customary mulled cider-scented candle lit. For some reason this combination of motifs always calls up a particular feeling in me. I love fall. I miss being able to walk in the woods by my parent's house though. Maybe I can find some secret trails here in Coppell. There are pretty canals here. No lake though.
And of course the month that follows October is November, quite possibly my favorite month of the year (if it were not marred by the very adult dread that accompanies Election Day). November is the month of deep fall—we finally get some type of leaf changing action, and the weather seems more committed to coolness rather than just toying with it. There's also Thanksgiving, which is indisputably my favorite holiday, and which I'm looking forward to even more this year since I've felt the lack of my two sisters quite acutely. I also love seeing the Rickseckers, who I saw at the wedding but didn't really get to spend time with because, as I discovered, you don't really get to spend time hanging out with people at your own wedding. As much as I loved my wedding, I definitely missed being able to spend more time with close friends and family. But that's the nature of weddings, I suppose. At least, modern American weddings.
Getting back to Thanksgiving and the virtues of November. Although I love November, I do feel the aggravation of the slippery slope toward Christmas oh so acutely, so October is precious to me because it's pure fall. Well, fall and Spooksville™. I've come to embrace Halloween more in recent years, which signifies a pretty interesting change of perspective over the course of my life. As a girl in NY I wasn't allowed to trick-or-treat, for a few reasons: (1) My mom believed the holiday to be essentially a smokescreen for worship of the occult, and (2) From what I understand, Halloween is waaay more kid-friendly here in TX than it was in NY. Apparently there was a whole lot of mischief-making in NY and it wasn't the kind of environment my mom wanted us little ones to be a part of. Interestingly, this topic was one of the few on which my parents disagreed—my dad grew up trick-or-treating, but he deferred to my mom while we were young. As we got older and especially when we moved to TX, the rules were relaxed. I have fond memories of trick-or-treating with my high school friends. One year I trick-or-treated as a "writer"—I dressed in sweats and stuck pencils into a messy bun. I may or may not have painted dark circles under my eyes as well. The idea for the costume came from the fact that I would be starting NaNoWriMo* the next day, November 1st. The candy I collected on Halloween night would serve as fuel during my month of reckless noveling creativity.
Ah, NaNoWriMo. The biggest reason for my love of the month of November. To me it is a signifier of a month of exuberant creative energy. I have participated four times and won all four times—where winning means writing 50,000 or more words of an original novel in the span of thirty days. The last time I participated, which was 2016 I think (or was it 2017?), I actually wrote 60,000 words. It was my goal that year to surpass the minimum word count by 10,000 and I did. The novel was Nachtmusik. Of course, I have deleted and rewritten at least 10,000 words since then during the editing process, but that is to be expected when your first draft is written with a quantity-not-quality goal in mind. Quality comes later—the goal of NaNoWriMo is simply to get some words on the page.
Every year when I notice that November is approaching, I have a mini heart attack because I realize I haven't planned anything for NaNoWriMo. Last year instead of writing a new novel I committed to a month of editing—I worked on fixing up Nachtmusik and promised to send it to a bunch of people at the end of the month. Of course a goal to edit an existing novel is inherently less specific—50,000 words of new content is so very quantifiable and therefore easier to pursue. Nevertheless, since I have four existing novel drafts already (and of those, two which I consider worthy of salvaging), I thought it would be more useful to edit an existing draft than to start with something brand new. As of this moment, Nachtmusik is still unfinished, but it's a hell of a lot better now than it was when I typed the last word at the end of NaNoWriMo.
This year, I'm not sure what I'll do. The problem is that I fear—whether my fears are valid or irrational I'm not sure—that pursuing creative writing takes time away from my music goals. If I spend time and energy on writing, I reason, then that is less time and energy available for songwriting, practicing my instruments, pursuing my music business goals, et cetera. I think this concern would be valid if I actually were pursuing my music goals consistently and without wavering. The thing is, as loyal readers know (lol), I do waver, and I am easily distracted. Just yesterday I found myself watching Contrapoints videos and, of all things, reading articles about Miley Cyrus instead of doing anything useful pertaining to my music career. I have no excuse for that one. But it shows that if I were able to manage my time effectively, I think I could actually pursue my music and creative writing goals simultaneously. And, I think that rather than exhausting my creative energies, noveling would help me to get the juices flowing for my songwriting and vice versa. Already I feel more invigorated just by writing this entry. Clearly this is a way better use of my time than watching YouTube videos.
So, to put that topic to bed, I haven't decided a course of action for this year's NaNoWriMo but I will keep thinking about it. I have a little over a week to decide. If I do join in, it'll be my first NaNoWriMo as a married lady. :)
Quick update about my music career: I played my first show at Chez Fabien this past Friday and it went great. I got a very positive reaction from the general clientele. I was also delighted by the presence of many close family and friends, as well as two of my violin students. It felt like a party—a very warm atmosphere and vibe. I'm looking forward to playing there again in November.
I'll also be playing at the Korean Festival of Dallas on November 16. I'll get to do two songs: You Say by Lauren Daigle (by request of the festival directors), and Havana by Camila Cabello. It should be fun and an interesting experience for me.
That's about it for now. I have a few errands to run today and some progress to make on some music biz-related tasks, including a call with a branding expert, woo hoo! So I'll sign off for now.
(this is where I'll insert a fancy signature logo, once I have one)
*National Novel Writing Month, a creative writing challenge occurring annually during the month of November