NaNoWriMos Celebrate One Third Victory!

I can’t believe that over a third of the month has passed. I’m very sorry for not blogging more often, as had been my intention at the beginning of the month. This year has been a little different for me because of various things coming up that have prevented me from attacking my word count with quite as voracious an appetite as usual. 

But the most important lesson I’ve learned is this: don’t freak out and simply write on. 

It’s hard to believe that the perfectionist in me accepts this lesson, but it’s been the most liberating thing that’s happened to me in nine wrimos. Two days ago, I knew I simply would not have the time for my 3000 daily words, and a friend suggested that I write 1000 words. It would create some progress and not put me too far behind, making it fairly easy to catch up. The next day, I logged an embarrassing 300 words. However, today I wrote with purpose, calm and confidence and added nearly 3000 words to my novel! I didn’t chastise myself for the past two days. I merely picked up where I had left off and moved boldly into a new day. I’m probably the most pleased with my progress than I have been in many sessions. 

How do you conquer your time crunches? Just stay confident and don’t stop writing!  

Be Kind To Yourself

  
This November I’m embarking on the 50,000 word quest again. It will be my eleventh time of participating in either a form of NaNoWriMo or JuNoWriMo. That means that upon completing the marathon in November and next April’s Camp NaNo, I’ll have spent a whole year of my life participating in writing marathons. While I’m very excited for this accomplishment, I realize that I need to jerk my perfectionism in check. 

The inner editor is what many writers call that nagging feeling of perfectionism as one is writing. It’s especially counterproductive in a marathon because the goal is to get a high word count in a short amount of time. Editing can wait, there will be many idle months of the year even when one writes ever April, June, July and November. Two thirds of the year is open for editing.

This month I encourage everyone, writers and non writers alike, to be kind to yourselves and celebrate those small victories. We don’t write 50,000 words in a day; at least I don’t. One doesn’t conquer a whole semester of college or learn a new language, musical instrument or whatever creative pursuit is in your lifestyle in one day. Be as patient with yourself as you would be to your best friend. Encourage yourself as you would encourage them. We are all works in progress and will be for the rest of our lives. So celebrate and enjoy the process. 

Flying Home, Part XXI

Part XXI

The drive out to the house in the desert seemed like an eternity as Emily was a mix of emotions, rather like a teenage girl going to her first dance. For months she’d thought only of Julian. Now it was going to happen. It was really going to happen. She smiled shyly at the thought. 

When they arrived at the house, the blossoming garden caught Emily’s eye first. 

“Oh, Mary Jean,” she said, “thank you. It’s exactly as I remember it. There was no more talk of dreams by now.” Perhaps, Emily mused, it had been the other world that was the dream, making this the true reality all along. 

“You’re welcome. Enjoy!” Mary Jean gave her a big hug as she stepped out of the car. 

“May you be happy together,” Harry said as he shook Emily’s hand. 

“I can’t thank either of you enough,” Emily said she looked toward the house.

“Just enjoy being with Julian again,” Harry said. “That’s the best way that you can thank us. It makes everything we’ve done worthwhile. Go on, then.” 

Emily’s legs were shaking as she ascended the steps in front of the house. But when her hand closed around the doorknob, her nerves melted away. It was her house, her new life. She opened the door and came into the living room with eyes wide with anticipation. 

All of the sweetest music and most delicious scents from the light show could not match the exhilaration of seeing Julian exactly as he had been in her memory. He was dressed in this flying uniform, sitting in a relaxed pose in his favorite chair beside a crackling fire, reading a newspaper. 

The sound of her footfalls made him look up. “Emily!” He laid the newspaper aside and ran to her, lifting her in the air as he embraced her. “You’re a sight for sore eyes!” 

Through tears that had filled her eyes upon the sight of him, she smiled and even managed a laugh. “I can say the same about you. I guess I don’t need to ask you where you’ve been. I’m just glad you’re home – we’re home. I don’t want to ever be apart again! But that’s over now.” 

“Yes, it is,” he said. Julian brushed a loose strand of hair from her eyes. “We have only the future now. I’m so sorry that I disappeared.” 

“It wasn’t your fault,” she said. “I know you wanted to come home.” 

“I’ve been across the universe and I only wanted to be here,” Julian exclaimed. “It’s all I wanted.” 

“How lovely of Harry and Mary Jean to give us our happy ending.” Emily sighed with contentment. “But it’s really only beginning, right?” 

Julian nodded. “There are so many things I want to show you. And I will. After all, we have a lifetime to share.” 

The End

Flying Home, Part XX

Part XX

It was safe for Emily to go out that night and meet up with Leigh to watch what promised to be a very spectacular light show. Mary Jean and Harry had talked excitedly about their plans for finishing the gift to the town all afternoon. Despite Emily’s reluctance to ask how long it would take to complete the work, it seemed as if it would be a short project. 

“I can’t believe we’re coming this close to everything being done,” Leigh commented as they stood in the cool air of evening near the town square. “What does it feel like to remember the changes that the rest of us had forgotten?” 

Emily thought it over for a moment. “Bittersweet. It’s not that I miss those things, not really. Living here in what feels like a dreamland with Julian and you and the friends I’ve made since arriving in Arizona more than makes up for it. And I can come and go from the other parts of the country whenever I wish. So can you.” 

“Will it seem strange?” Leigh queried. 

“No, I don’t think so. This will always be home. Every time I’m away from it, I will eagerly anticipate coming back.” 

“What if you ever run into Wesley or Natasha when you’re on assignment?” 

“They won’t remember me,” Emily said with confidence that true safety can provide. “Their memories of anything here are gone. I’ll be fine.” 

They stopped talking when the first few colors appeared in the sky. Purple wisps that looked like smoke from a chimney suddenly rose into the air and elicited wonder from the crowd that had joined them on the square. Next came shoots of red and blue, yellow and pink. The unearthly music and pleasant scent followed. Emily breathed it in with gratefulness, knowing each plume of light or wafting scent brought her one more step closer to Julian. 

It felt as if the show went on for hours, but it probably took around thirty minutes. No one in the crowd except for Emily and Leigh knew that Harry and Mary Jean were responsible for the display. When Mary Jean approached them once it was all done, she looked at them with a twinkle in her eye. 

“Leigh, I think you’ll find that your house is back to the way it was before any of this sadness,” she said. “Emily, it’s time for you to see what I’ve done in your garden. I think you’ll find it to be very romantic, if you get my drift. Harry will drive you if you want to go now.” 

Emily suddenly felt very shy and stared down at her shoes. “Really? Do you think it’ll be ok? Will he be happy to see me?” 

“Of course he will. You’re all he’s thought about, remember?” 

Flying Home, XIX

Part XIX 

Emily’s reverie of reading was quickly interrupted by Harry’s footsteps coming in the front door. Mary Jean had not yet had time to go downtown and make her appearance to promote the normalcy of the day, and sounded very surprising to see her husband so soon.

“Harry! I didn’t know you be back so soon! Is everything all right?” Emily could hear the concern in Mary Jean’s voice. 

“Everything is fine,” Harry said. “In fact, better than fine. Where’s Emily?” 

“In the library. She seemed fascinated with it and I thought it best for her to distract herself during this awful waiting.”

“Go get her because I have great news,” Harry encouraged his wife. 

“Emily?” Mary Jean came into the library, where Emily was already looking up at the door with hopeful expectation. “Harry’s home and he says he has good news. Come with me!” The blonde was smiling from ear to ear.

“Good morning, Emily.” The bandleader looked triumphant. “I’ve taken care of everything with Wesley and Natasha. They’re in New York City as we speak with absolutely my memory of what happened here. I doubt they even know Aurora, Arizona exists.” 

“Really?” Emily finally let the impact of hearing something positive sink into her soul and give her real hope of seeing Julian again. 

“No one’s going to be after you anymore. Now we can finish our work and brung your husband back.” Harry didn’t seem capable of any expression other than a grin. 

“You don’t remember, but the house where you saw the lights actually belongs to you and Julian.” Mary Jean volunteered with a smile that matched her husband. “It’s now clear of Wesley and Natasha’s belongings and yours have been restored. As soon as he’s back, you can move right in.” 

“This is too good to be true,” Emily exclaimed. “Is it really happening? And what about Leigh?” 

“It’s happening,” Mary Jean answered. “And the house you’ve been living in is Leigh’s. She’ll be fine, sweetheart. All I need to do now is finish my work.” 

“How do you do that?” Emily asked.

“Come outside tonight,” Mary Jean said, “and I’ll show you. It will be similar to what you’ve already seen that night by your house, but this time we can complete everything.” 

“Where has Julian been?” 

“He’s been flying to places you can only imagine. He’s already visited our planet and galaxies no other human being has ever seen. We were able to keep his fuel tank from running out so he never needed to concern himself with that. There’s so much out there, Emily. Julian has stayed in the finest hotels the universe has to offer, more like what you call a resort on earth. But through all his adventures, he still thinks only of you.” 

“I wish we hadn’t been interrupted in the garden,” Emily said with a tone of regret.          

“Me, too,” Mary Jean reflected. “But soon all will be made right.”

Flying Home, Part XVIII

Part XVIII

“It’s not as different as you’d imagine,” Mary Jean replied. “That’s partly why we came in 1947. It was a peace mission, no matter what all the hype says. Our societies are similar enough that we wanted to reach out. But disloyalty made a mess of things. And now Wesley and Natasha got the wrong idea and probably want to expose us to some paranoid government panel.” She sighed. “All we want is to create our little place and enjoy it. I wonder why it’s so hard for people to understand.” 

“I don’t know,” Emily replied. “It makes sense to me.” 

The other woman smiled. “I know it does. I’m so grateful for people like you. Thinking beyond the impossible. You’ll be seeing Julian shortly, as soon as Harry wraps up this nasty business with Wesley and Natasha. They’re definitely leaving with no memory of the situation. Then we’ll be free to continue building things and you won’t have to worry about them anymore. We only hid Julian in order to protect him because of what he saw.” 

“Harry is taking care of it today?” Emily asked. “I’m sorry, I know it’s your business, but I’m so anxious to see Julian.” 

“Of course you are,” Mary Jean smiled with sympathy. “It’s fine. It sounds like he’ll take care of it today, yes. Then I can get to work finishing things and that day should come for you very, very soon. In the meantime, relax. Harry and I haven’t gotten to do as much entertaining here as we had hoped since moving in, but we do have quite a music collection and a big screen TV with a lot of DVDs, not to mention a library of which I’m very proud. So please enjoy yourself. I’ll be in and out, going down to the club in a while to see how things are going with Harry. Just as it’s important for Leigh to keep up her work at the newspaper, I’d better put in an appearance downtown.” 

“This sounds harsh,” Emily began, “but with Natasha leaving, are you going to sing with Harry’s band again? I’d love to hear you perform.” 

Mary Jean stopped as if considering it. “I hadn’t thought of it with everything going on. But there will be a vacancy. Oh, it was fun. Perhaps I will give it another spin! Thanks, Emily. I’ll be in my home office down the hall if you need me.” 

Emily smiled, happy that she’d inspired Mary Jean to think about her singing career. She stood up and wandered into the library. It was as impressive as Mary Jean had made it sound. Emily found a book about space travel, not really more than a vintage novel, and settled into one of the overstuffed chairs. Before beginning to read, she glanced around the room and smiled. It was decorated in a way that could easily make one feel as if they were in the 1950s.   

Flying Home, Part XVII

Part XVII

That night as she lay in bed in the guest room, Emily tossed and turned, thinking about everything that she had been told. So much of it felt unbelievable, bordering on what she may have thought to be crazy only a few days ago. But that’d was before the smartphones disappeared and the dream of the dancing lights. 

Leigh had gone home alone as Harry and Mary Jean suggested to avoid suspicion. Emily hadn’t realized how much she still relied on her older sister until the comfortable familiarity of Leigh was gone. Emily felt oddly alone as she faced the long hours of night in a strange house with people who weren’t even what she’d classify as people. But at least they were kind, protecting her from those who wished to take her life. 

The memory of the dancing light ribbons that Mary Jean made in the living room gave Emily peace. It might have been because Julian experienced the same thing on the night Emily couldn’t remember, or it it could be the soothing music and scent it brought, but for whatever reason, the feelings convinced Emily that she was correct to trust Mary Jean and Harry. Her newfound relaxation finally allowed her the rest she so badly needed.

After dreams of only the light ribbons, Emily awoke to a brilliant beam of sunlight coming through the guest room window, creating an uplifting feeling in the entire space. She loved mornings in the desert. The sunrises were full of beauty, their light bringing a hopefulness to the otherwise austere landscape. 

She dressed in an outfit she found in the closet, ironically in her exact size and style, before walking out to the kitchen. 

“Good morning, Emily!” Mary Jean wore a smile nearly as bright as the desert sun. “Did you sleep well? I know Harry and I gave you a lot to think about last night. I hope you were comfortable.” 

“I did rather well,” Emily replied. “Thank you for being such a kind hostess.” 

“I’m happy you’re here,” Mary Jean said. “Coffee?” 

“I would love a cup, thank you.” Once Emily took her first sip, she smiled. “Don’t tell Leigh, but I thought she made the best coffee ever.” 

“Thanks,” Mary Jean answered as she poured herself a cup. “I guess after traveling around with Harry and his band, one gets an idea of what one likes.” 

“So you really traveled with him? That wasn’t a cover story for your mission here?” 

“Heavens, no. One of the things we liked best was the music,” Mary Jean explained. “That was how our idea started. To make a place where all of those enjoyable things existed again. We knew there was an audience for retro bands, so we took the opportunity.” 

“That must have been fascinating,” Emily said. “What is your home like? You know, not here.”