It’s been seven days since NaNoWriMo started, and an interesting seven days they have been. As far as the official tracker for word count is concerned, I’m ahead of schedule (the par for day 7 is 11,666, and I hit that word count on day 5), but I am behind on my own schedule.
Karyne introduced me to this wonderful program called Susanna’s Pacemaker, and I used that program to input my personal goal of 40,000 words. I put in parameters that I wanted to write more toward the beginning of the month and more on weekends. By that schedule, I should have 16,002 words. I actually have 14,113. So not bad, but not perfectly on track, either.
Being able to keep my word count nearly on track. I’m surprised at how many words I keep managing to eke out. When I’m focused, I am very focused. I’ve also had a few awesome things happen as far as plot is concerned (i.e., I very nearly have one!). I’m pretty much pantsing this time around (I have my theme and my premise, and I’m letting the rest of it fall into shape around those), so it’s nice to see a bit of progress as far as that is concerned.
So far, I’ve done most of my writing in half-hour sprints. I can’t seem to stay focused for much longer than that, even though my daughter has been hugely cooperative and has been taking super long naps and going to bed on time. Instead, I have watched all 67 Behind the Team videos that USA Gymnastics has posted to YouTube (time wasted: at least 6 hours); gone through my photo albums and minimalized the bookshelf in my bedroom, including browsing old yearbooks (time wasted: about 2 hours); completed plenty of Facebook browsing (time wasted: at least 2 hours over the week); and made sure to check blogs that only post once a week multiple times (time wasted: unknown, likely at least 1 hour).
I worked from home three days this week, and didn’t do much writing during that time. And my daughter got her first taste of rice cereal, and lots of playing time. (Time wasted: absolutely none).
Each week, I’ll post a little preview of what I’ve been writing. This week’s preview is from what’s currently the opening scene. Since it’s the beginning, you don’t get any context.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.
We say “Amen” in unison. Hunter’s funeral is so predictable I shouldn’t have bothered coming. Everyone wears black. No one cries. No one except Haleigh, who’s sitting in the front row and trying to hide it. In front of the cross, the pastor takes another deep breath. I bet he’s about to start on Jesus. How he embraced his expiration date, and everyone else should, too. How Hunter was a Good Christian for pressing that gun into his chin.
Not that anyone but his family and me knows how he died. The obituaries come out a week in advance.
“In John 17:1, it says…” Here it comes. I grab my phone from my pocket and open the file called “My Funeral Notes.” For the love of God, don’t mention Jesus, I write. I’m aware of the irony. The pastor continues. “No one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.” It’s not like that verse even applies. People get run over by buses. They get in car accidents. Those funerals are sad. I get why people go to those funerals. You don’t have closure yet.
I’d been distancing myself from Hunter for weeks before his expiration date. He understood it; he’d been distancing himself from everyone, too. Haleigh hated it, but what could you do? Someone has to die earlier, right? Even if you’re twins.
“Treyton,” my mother hisses. “Put your phone away. Show Jesus some respect.” I wish she’d said to show Hunter some respect. I came to church for Jesus on Sundays. It’s Tuesday. Before I put my phone back into my pocket, I check the counter on the home screen. Four months exactly. Ugh. I might as well stop breathing now.
But Hunter and I are the weird ones. Most kids with expiration dates before eighteen are withering away. Cancer fights them. Muscular dystrophy. With four months to go, it should be obvious I’m expiring. It’s not. No signs of anything degenerative. Even my heart, which is enlarged, has been working fine. According to my life certificate, it was supposed to be my heart that killed me. But heart attacks happen in an instant. Maybe that will be it.
“Hunter Hoffman was a brave soul. He lived his sixteen years in obedience to the Lord, and I know we will see him again in heaven,” the pastor says. “Let us pray.”
We don’t stay long. The funeral started at 7 and my sister will need to be in bed soon. We shared all our memories of Hunter two weeks before he died, anyway. “Trey, wait!” Haleigh says as we near the doors.
I send my mom a questioning glance. She nods curtly. “We’ll get Leilani in the car. Hurry.”
“What is it?”
“Please don’t have a funeral like that.”
Well? What do you think? How are your NaNos going so far? Any passages you would like to share?