Well, we’ve reached the start of September (you’re not alone in this – I don’t know how it happened so quickly either). September has always been a bit of a renewal month for me – it’s the time that you go back to school, all of the new fall activities, clubs, and classes start up, and new projects are hatched. This September is looking to continue the trend – in particular in two areas which I’ll share with you here.
The first fresh start of note is that I accepted a position teaching the geography course at Yukon College today. It’s an excellent fit in that I can keep working in my role with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, while still making a bigger impact here in my home community. I’ve got less than a week to prep the course (just a little bit nervous of the fact that I literally start teaching next Wednesday – eep!). I think once I get going though it will be a very positive experience and a lot of fun – I’m already lining up a set of friends and mentors to give guest lectures.
The other fresh start of note is much more arts and crafts related – although in this case I’m speaking in the literary arts sense. I came across a one month novel writing kit last month in Vancouver when I was down wedding dress shopping with the girls that I simply couldn’t resist. It’s written by Chris Baty, the founder of the National Novel Writing Month, an annual event that sees thousands of writers producing novels over the month of November. The basic concept of the kit is that every first draft, no matter how long you belabour it, is ultimately crap which will need lots of editing and revision. You can spend years writing it, or you can pound it out (say in a month) and get on to the revision process that much faster. So the kit preaches “quantity over quality”, a strange concept, I know – but in this case actually a very logical one. The goal of the kit is to produce a 50,000 word novel over the course of a month (that’s 1,667 words a day in the case of a 30 day month like September). It has daily cards for inspiration; a progress log; little gold stars to decorate you progress log; a small guidebook; stickers proclaiming “ask me about my novel”; “onerosity coupons” which you give to people promising to do an onerous task for them that you won’t like one bit if you don’t reach a stated word limit by a stated date; a “novelist” badge of honour to wear upon completion of your book; and a tiny, sealed red envelope with the words “I quit” written on the front to be opened only in the scenario where you have thrown your hands in the air and threatened to walk away from the project. Anyways – the main point is that it’s pretty fun, and I figured I’d give it a shot as I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
I started the project yesterday, knocking off my first 2,258 words. The journey continues today. Not to worry though, this will in no way hamper my other crafting projects – it simply adds to them (and I may chose to share some excerpts with all of you from the text as the month progresses). So today in honour of fresh beginnings, I share with you the first paragraph of yesterday’s efforts:
You never know what will happen when you walk out your front door – if you did, you would never bother to go. For example, around the corner from your house, through a meadow, across a stream, through a forest, up and over a mountain, and then up and over a few more mountains, lives a small old man, quiet and grey like the rock walls around him. His name is the Story Teller, and he controls our story, and everyone else’s – but hush, you’re not supposed to know that, and I’m not supposed to tell you, so let’s just keep that our little secret.