Heck no-I won’t go …

Did you know that Halloween is the beginning of the Christmas season?

It’s not bad enough that kids don’t know when presidents were really born, or that all holidays do not all fall on a Monday. Soon we’ll tell ourselves it’s a good idea to celebrate Memorial Day in April to coincide with Spring Break.

And did you also know that the second week of October is the time to get your keyboards ready for a November challenge?

There are deadlines and then there are deadlines. You can get them from a boss, from a committee, from a friend or family. And there are those you can give to yourself.

The one I reject and have steadfastly ignored is Na-No. So without guilt or shame, I say no, no to Na-No.


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Since I love the blog, I’ll use it to make excuses why I cannot and should not join in the Na-No challenge.

Speaking of blogs …

How on earth would I explain to my mother what I am up to this time?

“Listen to me young lady. I’d better not find out that blog is a nasty word or you’ll get it good.” 

I can’t remember how many times I tried to tell her to relax and enjoy my special kind of organized chaos.

“I’ll give you chaos. Just wait until your father gets home.”

I never stop missing them. Between the Brooklyn docks and the town of Poughkeepsie on the Hudson River, I’ve met dozens of marvelous characters, fodder so rich, how could I avoid using them?

 “And if you tell tales out of school I’ll wash your mouth with soap.”

Most of my funny non-fiction stories are about my mom. Because I had her around longer, because she was a more dominant force in my life, and because she was funnier.

Dad was like a summer rain storm. All day the weather is hot and sticky, the humidity so thick you can slice open a cloud and drink. Then in the late afternoon or early evening, the sky darkens, electricity crackles, thunder and lightning, rain pelts hot concrete and fast and furious the storm is here and gone.

My dad was like an afternoon thunder-storm, electricity, thunder and lightning, and fast and furious he was gone.

He was young. I was younger. We did not know or understand each other in time to make any sense of it.

But he loved a few things I loved.

He loved walking in the rain and music, cowboys and baseball, football and politics. He loved his adopted country, and more than anything or anyone, he loved my mother.

He loved swimming in the ocean and telling tales of the sea, and like his baby girl he loved to read.

Therefore, I could blame my family for not wanting to participate in Na-No. I could do it but the chemical ingredients in my genes prevents me from responding well to structure. Deadlines anyone?


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Somewhere in that recipe of mixed Italian nuts who comprised my family there was a writer, a reader, a craftsman, a scholar … we had a fashion plate and a Tom Boy, a genius and one certifiable crazy person.

More than anything we had lethal injections of rebellion and since I wanted to be the biggest, the loudest and the most pronounced rebel of them all, I refuse to conform to someone else’s schedule.

My high school counselor did suggest I might want to go to a college with a theater program.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You need to make money. You can make jokes on your own time.”

Earning a living for instance …

Fate flounced her head of lovely red curls and college would be put on hold. We needed money and I was to find gainful employment.

For the purpose of this post, dead end means gainful employment and if by some chance, the employer of said dead-end job decided we should part company, I learned early to come home during rush hour.

No sense provoking her. “What? You got fired again?”

In the twelve years before I became a college freshman, I held down a myriad of clerical jobs, designed to drive nails into my brain at regular intervals. I was a group typist, a pool stenographer, and a secretary. I even rose to the ranks of Executive Secretary and Executive Assistant. It mattered not. I despised and held in contempt the lot of them.

I wasn’t exactly fired from all of them. Some I outgrew. Others became so boring I went to lunch and decided to scope out the twice year leather sale at Lord & Taylors instead of going back to work. I mean for real … it only happened twice a year.

Gainful employment?

That was having a job that brought in a paycheck you could slap down on the kitchen table, lest your parents put your bed in the backyard with the landlady’s bull dog.

It wasn’t that our parents were insensitive to our passionate desires to express ourselves as artists or musicians. Nor were they blind to our need to find our true calling.

They simply expected us to pay our way and no one pretty much bothered to ask if we loved our work. Work was to make money not have fun.


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I was told I was lucky I would not have to wait tables with Flo or Flossie, die my hair carrot red and wear a huge hanky in my breast pocket fashioned like a flower in direct view of my low cut, tight uniform. Nor would I have to earn my tips by bumping my hip against a bald headed man with garlic breath.

I was blessed and lived a charmed life.

Between then and now, I found another passion. I was able to work my way through college, raise two kids, had a job I loved and then … well … then the kids grew up and mama was once more a free agent.

These days, my work history begins and ends with one wonderful word … RETIRED.

And to wrap up this disjointed rant … I will not participate in Na-No because I don’t want to.

How about you reader,

Do you need a push to get your juices flowing?

Have you ever participated in Na-No or will you this year?

 fOIS In The City



writing humor

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Filed under Ramblings

22 responses to “Heck no-I won’t go …

  1. I’ve tried NaNo and failed. Life gets in the way. I know it works for many. It gives them the impetus. I love your mother wondering if blog is a dirty word! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I write far to slowly for NaNo…it would be a big fail. And who needs more of that in their life?!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I write slo-o-o-ow, I overwrite to begin with and pare down later. somewhere in the muddle a book emerges. It’s not efficient but it’s my way.
    Ergo . . .
    We’re “drinking from the clouds” up here this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I did NaNo once and it did me some good. I got a draft of a novel I ended up self-publishing several years later, when it was in good shape. But I threw out more than 99% of that NaNo draft. Yes, more than 99%,
    You can simulate NaNo by freewriting morning pages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You see, Lindsay … that is why it would not work for me. I’d end up with something that I would need to rewrite so much, the original draft would be lost. I agree, that free writing can work … but that’s more like the way I end up with my blog posts 🙂


  5. Been there, failed that, never again,

    No! No! A thousand times no! I do not do well with structure NOR with speed writing.

    The closest I got was a self-imposed deadline I gave myself on The Golden Heart last year. Golden Heart is different from other writing contests in that they expect that a completed manuscript be uploaded by a predetermined date.

    I entered with my synopsis and excerpt and then went into writing frenzy to finish the freaking manuscript. Every day. Nearly all day every day. I wrote.

    I did not write well, but I wrote.

    That manuscript has so many plot holes and twisted thoughts and notes in Inner Editor Gracie…

    I couldn’t push myself to polish it IN THE EVENT I FINALED. I knew I’d have the opportunity to upload a polished copy prior to final judging, but my one month hiatus and how turned into a ten month hiatus on that mess.

    I was so unnerved as the deadline for announcing finalists arrived, I nearly emailed to pull my entry JUST IN CASE I FINALED.

    I didn’t. Phew!

    No. I think I’ll write using my own paradigm. Works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gloria, I can’t see you marching to the drum of someone else’s tune. I think of you as a rebel, like me, unable to conform and never able to surrender.

      Glad you did enter your book for the Golden Heart. It’s a major accomplishment to submit something for judgement. And no matter what you or your Editor Gracie think, you did it !!

      My first drafts look like Swiss Cheese and I rarely let anyone get that copy. I might start to want feedback after draft three and by the time I am actually courageous enough to have my BETA readers give it a go … I am on draft six or eight.

      My process is like me … crazy and disjointed. But somehow it works. I think that’s what works for you too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, Florence, no, no NaNo. I’ve been promoting the big book. Have to promote a holiday book. Have to promote the sisterhood anthology. But my inspiration to write isn’t fueled that way anyway. I like how you described your dad like a thunderstorm and realized mine was that way too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vicki, I don’t think you need anyone to push you into the process. Judging from the work you have published, you seem to find your own cadence with no one pushing you 🙂

      BTW … congrats on the release of your new book. I’ll be rooting for you all the way !!!


  7. I love that you can describe what your mom and dad were like in such beautiful descriptive terms. I don’t think I could do that. Sometimes I wonder if I knew my dad well at all. He was a funny guy, always smiling and joking, loved by all who knew him, but I don’t recall having deep talks with him about stuff like I did with my mother. He was an Oakland fireman for 35 years and never told us any stories. That’s so sad to me. Someone said maybe he didn’t want to bring his work home….Oh well…water under the bridge… since they are both dead.
    No Nano for me either. I don’t want to dis something that many writers find helpful, but it would be so ridiculous for me since I cannot work under that kind of pressure and my book would be a pile of junk. I’d rather write from my heart and not from a deadline and do it “my way”. Thank you, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First up, Patti … who is Frank?

      Writing about those we have known, especially our parents, is very hard. Our perspectives might be off. My older brother and I think we had two different fathers 🙂

      It is sad that your dad didn’t tell you about his work, but I think it might have been because firemen see too much loss like police and they can’t talk about it.

      Like you, if I was foolish enough to do Na-No I would produce junk. I don’t have to make that public … thanks as always 🙂


  8. annerallen

    NaNo is absolutely great for some people. People who 1) have the time 2) have the health 3) have an inner perfectionist who needs to be vanquished. For other people, I recommend a NaNoREMo–National Novel Reading Month. Writers need to read just as much as they need to write. I’ll be talking about his on my blog this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No Nano for me this year either, Florence, probably never in fact. 🙂 But I do have my own deadline. My oldest has warned me that if I don’t get my current WIP published by Dec 23, he’s taking away my laptop for a month. LOL! I told him he could have my iPad instead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that’s the most intriguing deadline ever, Sheila. One I am sure you will love meeting. Please blast the air-waves when it is done. I’d love to know more about this new book of yours. Thanks, as always 🙂


  10. I don’t want to either! I tried doing it one year & it was awful!! Not for me, lol. And I’m in the midst of moving houses, and my final edits for 18 Thoughts are waiting . . . I definitely need a kick in the butt to get going!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jamie, I agree that is was probably not right for you. With so much on your plate you have more deadlines than you need.

      BTW … the old adage goes: When you are on a committee or in an organized group and want something done … give the task to the busiest person. The more we do, the more we can do 🙂

      Good luck with the move, it will be a blessing for you and your family !!!


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