Archive for November, 2009

An ominous forecast

My ninth grade science teacher, whose rumored gruffness preceded him, presented us one fall day with some shocking news. “November is my favorite month,” he told us one morning, without hint of a smile. His lips padded dryly against one another and the deep vibration in his voice made it seem as though they were moving in slow motion.

“November!?!” I thought, repulsed, “Sure, if you like your months frosty and barren.” I can think of about 10 1/2 months I habitually enjoy more than November.

This morning, however, I thought about changing my tune. I recalled the ninth grade science moment to Jake as we drove into town, and then said something overly declarative and along the lines of, “but November here is wonderful.”

This is when the powers of jinx looked down upon me and cackled and cracked their knuckles menacingly. No, nothing happened right then, but I just know that they did. And Jake knew it too, and he said, “well, don’t jinx it.”

So, I fumblingly searched for a way to take back my happiness. “Think negative,” I urged my mind. But the sun was too bright, the fall colors so vibrant–I swear I saw people clasp hands and dance down the street. After stopping myself from saying a few more declarative things, I ventured what I hoped would be nonchalant and modifying: “I don’t remember last November being this nice.”  Curses! That was not what I meant. I fell silent halfway, because I could feel the powers of jinx quaking in their seats as they waited for me to say more things that would allow them to make the weather in November never ever nice again. You just don’t mess with beautiful 65 degree days this time of year, where the sweet gum leaves are such a bright shade of red that it makes you want to fashion a dress out of them.

On my walk home, I finally got up the chutzpa to pick (read: steal) apples from a tree down our road. Nobody else has seemed interested, so really, I don’t think it matters except that the tree happens to sit directly across the street from the only house on the road that is not set back several yards. To make matters worse, they seem always to be watching this sorry, mossy, pimpled tree. I swear, I don’t think all of these people even live there, I’ve seen so many, and I’m convinced they have surveillance devices planted in the pets and children. One day, someone spoke on the phone with the door open. One day a child hid in the blackberries. Once a cat sat on the porch–erect, judgmental. If their purpose was, indeed, to deter me from this tree, it has worked.

It was not until today, when all the cars were gone, and the windows all looked securely sealed that I decided to risk it. About a month ago, I managed to walk the mile and a half home with about four pounds of very tiny, wild, and starchy pears in the knotted sleeves of a jacket. They made an awful sauce, but when I found them, I was ecstatic. I was not nearly as far from my house today and I conveniently happened to be carrying a bag, so things seemed perfectly in order. It turns out they were, except for the fact that I was wearing capri pants with tennis shoes, which just looks kind of goofy when you are miles from the gym and are trying to climb around brush into a ditch to retrieve some pocked little apple.

Having filled my bag, I continued on my way, where I happened upon some blackberries, strangely un-shriveled. Having already toyed with the fate of good weather, I went ahead and pushed the barriers of summer just a little farther, and plucked a few from the vine. They were not bad, certainly not for November 4th, and I was able to wrangle up a full berry snack by the time I descended the hill to the front door.

At this point, feeling a little wary about my good weather/fruit fortune, I checked the forecast for the next few days. Sure enough, if you had googled “Eugene weather” you would have been presented with a happy little sun representing today’s loveliness and then three ominous squares of dark gray rain, each with a decreased temperature. I’m terribly sorry, Eugene folks, I totally jinxed it.


In NaNoWriMo news, the words are not spilling so very generously as I might have hoped. It turns out writing a novel is very hard. You might wonder why I am writing on here when I am 5,000 words behind. Well, to tell you the truth, I was becoming convinced I had lost my ability to form sentences. I needed a little reassurance.

The process has been fun, though. Sunday night (day 1) found us in high spirits making lattes late into the evening and attempting to produce full outlines. The night resulted in a finished outline for Jake, and the ceremonial designation of “working,” “writing,” “discussion,” and “fun” areas in our living room, to keep us on task.

It also resulted in this picture: 137

I believe I was being tickled (and not even in the fun square!). How unfortunate.

The good news is that the directives I suggested last time are actually proving quite helpful. We wrote them on small slips of paper, and placed them in a frilly, pink hat. On the occasion that one of us can think of nothing to write, he/she, must say aloud, “I declare writer’s block,” and draw from the hat. Then, we must both work the directive into our writing. The outside input has led me a few different directions already, and it really does help to pull me out of momentary creative ruts.

So, please do not hesitate to leave a prompt/suggestion/directive in the comments!

Here are a few from yesterday (Since we’re just drawing them from a hat now, we’re not using page numbers):

Include three mirrors, one of which is broken.

Take an entire paragraph to describe the ground.

Someone sees something they wish they hadn’t.

An event is delayed by a simple task.


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