The Problem with November

At the risk of sounding anti-Thanksgiving, which l most definitely am not, I have issues with the month of November.

First, it’s too darn short, and all that setting back clocks to save daylight isn’t fooling anyone. Yes, other months are just as short or shorter. But bookended between the dark drama of Halloween and Mariah Carey’s never-ending wish that we have ourselves a merry little Christmas, November slips away before we realize it’s begun.

Second, the month is filled with contradictions. Leftover October sunlight reflects off falling leaves that swirl in gusts of December-like wind. We exercise our right to vote despite the endless political ads that make us question the future of our nation. We honor the Marine Corp birthday and Veterans Day and celebrate the birthday of my husband, who’s a Marine and a veteran. We set up high chairs for new family members and remember times when all the other places were filled at the Thanksgiving table.

But the most frustrating aspect of November is its frenetic pace. Pack up the witches and ghouls and bring out the reindeer. Forget pumpkin lattes and stir hot chocolate. Get those holiday menus updated. Strike the right balance of when to ask kids what they want for Christmas. Too early and they’ll change their minds. Too late and you’ll be wrestling women in Walmart for the last Strike n’ Roar Giganotosaurus. Coordinate schedules for who’s going to be where on Thanksgiving Day. Brace yourself for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If all that isn’t enough, there’s NaNo, National Novel Writing Month. Writers are encouraged to take part in this “fun and fast-paced approach to creative writing.” All you have to do is write a novel of at least 50,000 words by the end of November.

In the name of all that’s holy, what twisted evil genius came up with this diabolical idea? Since it’s almost the middle of November, and I’ve been editing a novel it took me over a year to write, I won’t be subjecting myself to this fun and fast-paced pressure cooker.

Instead of gluing myself to my laptop, I’ll find a way to squeeze as much as I can from this fleeting month. I’ll take time to reflect on events like the Atlanta Writers Club Conference I volunteered at last weekend.

My fellow Wild Women and I interviewed attendees for our Wild Women Who Write Take Flight podcast. We spoke with aspiring writers about their work and cheered them on as they pitched projects to agents and editors. One of my favorite experiences was meeting with a young man I met while representing the Atlanta Writers Club at a local high school. He was among a group of students who wanted to establish a creative writing club of their own. CoVid ended our collaboration, but not his desire to write. Since then, he graduated and is working on developing his writing skills.  The hope and enthusiasm of brave authors like him make me proud to be a part of this writing community. It energizes my writing spirit.

I’ll throw myself into sharing Trust Issues, my latest novel, with readers and set my own goals for writing my next. I won’t forget to check in with friends and fellow writers. I’ll switch off my racing mind when I hold my beautiful grandson and really listen when my older grandchildren talk.

And I’ll remember to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving because I really do love the holiday.

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