Novelling across the pond.

(Borrowing Carl’s computer today – mine is being employed to show Octonauts for a sleepy Miranda. Carl’s laptop is “lefthanded” in the sense that the scroll bar is on the left hand side. It is highly irritating!)

I was in Regina this time last year. This is pure craziness. This time last year we were camped in the Turgeon youth hostel, microwaving oatmeal, drinking unmentionable coffee out of the vending machine, bathing Miri in the sink and watching endless hours of The Food Network on the ancient TV there. It was cold and I learned the hard way what a joke of a business Kave Haz was, I wrote this blog, went on CBC radio, and I wandered round and round Regina on the hunt for another coffee job. I also tried to involve myself in the local Nanowrimo ([inter]National Novel Writing Month) effort, and although I spectacularly failed to make it to any of the write-ins last year, I did write my 50,000 word novel inside 30 days. 14 of those days I was in Regina, 16 in Darlington. (well actually, at least one day was spent on the plane, and a lot of writing can get done on a 15 hr flight when the in-flight movie is Twilight!!)

This year I am failing quite badly, currently 6000 words behind target and seeing no practical way of catching up any time soon. Nanowrimo is the kind of annual event that is somehow bittersweet now.  It marks the passing of another year and I can’t help reflecting on all that has happened since the last Nanowrimo. I hear all the adventures of my novelling friends back home – they are all putting me to shame with their word counts any way, but I really miss them all with their daftness: plot bunnies, Chelle the Unstoppable Literary Cyborg, novelling hats, motivational coffees, the efforts to stop Chris writing about zombies, and N’Oscars planning. This year, they all did an epic sponsored 24 hour  non-stop write-in raising money for the Blood Bikes service (still taking donations, HERE). I am so proud of them all for such a mammoth, mad effort and I am sorry that I couldn’t join in. Insane as the event sounds, I would have loved to have attempted it with that crew to egg me on. But at the same time, it was all held in my old cafe, and what happened with that place still hurts and upsets me a great deal.

So,  this year I am determined to keep up with my novel from here in Regina. I even got in the Metro paper about it, unwittingly! The first write-in I attended was in the midst of the worst hangover I’ve ever had in this country; we had a belated Halloween party involving costumes and play dates for Miri and manymanymany bottles of home brewed beer and kicking out the last guest at 4.45am. Hooray for Coffee!

Tamara and I at Halloween. Tam is also novelling!

The Regina nano-ers are numerous but very much centred around the university, so I have been attending the downtown and weekend write ins, but I have yet to summon the energy to find a bus in the snow to the university on Wednesday evenings. Nevertheless, I have met some fantastic people through it already and I’m looking forward to what is promising to be a suitably silly Thank God It’s Over party. Someone is knitting us prizes, apparently.

A few of the Regina Nanowrimo crew, all studiously avoiding the camera.

There are also several others hand writing their novels. I am hand writing again, because a notebook can be secreted into my bag so I can write in obscure moments wherever I am, which is not something you can do with a laptop. The downsides are, it’s slower and counting your words is an arse. I take an average of 200 words a page, given the size of my writing!

My novel. And yes, that is a coffee stain on it.

Winter has set in now, there is considerably more snow now than this time last year. According to the radio, today is was -12C but “feels like -23C” because of the wind chill. I know it will get a great deal colder than this yet, and we should start measuring snow in feet not inches, – yes, everybody warns us – but I feel we are adapting well so far. We’ve invested in Proper Snow Boots and a shovel, and are enjoying it all! This much snow is still exciting for us winter-starved British. Miranda loves stomping in snow, but at the moment it comes up to her chest! We could lose her in the drifts in the back garden quite easily….

Playing in the snow.

However, the cold is only an excuse to wear even more silly Novelling Hats, and as long as I can still trudge to Atlantis coffee shop for the write-ins, I can sit and write in the warm drinking a huge amount of hot coffee, and delay coming back home in the cold by another 500 words or so….

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