NaNoWriMo kick off day was November 1, 2011, and the Central Library served as the venue for the regional slice of the event. I was nervous to attend, I don’t know entirely why that was and I actually forced myself to attend even though I’d already decided that I would. Originally the kick off was slated to take place in a little meeting room on the 2nd floor of the library; board room style with not a whole lot of space to accommodate more than a few attendees… I was wondering what the coordinators would do if they got more than a handful of writers. The day before the kick off the location changed to a little meeting room on the 5th floor of the library; board room style with not a whole lot of space… well, I’m sure you get the picture. Why did this happen?
Turns out a large rental event was scheduled to take place the same night as the modest little NaNoWriMo send off, and this event had some serious clout and steam behind it. Fiesta San Antonio is a big deal around here; a really big deal, and the annual poster unveiling is one of those society events that consumes anything and everything around it like Cookie Monster in a bakery… especially a little gathering of would-be writers who rank just a little above shit on the bottom of your shoe. The Fiesta SA poster unveiling was replete with all the thing I enjoy avoiding – a catered hullabaloo, attended by SA “royalty” and politicos and hob-nobbers and elbow-rubbers with enough smiley glad-handing and artificial skin tones to make a baby weep with fear.
Fortunately someone came to his/her senses and the little NaNoWriMo thing was moved to the Story Room on the 3rd floor which has more than ample space for a fair number of unwashed, wanna-be authors to congregate in relative safety; away from the hubbub of the Fiesta SA crowd. Aside from a lack of available outlets for laptop power cords and a funky table arrangement, the kick off was a lot of fun. I lugged my archaic Dell notebook with me (which is just barely below the cut off of portable weight), and picked a place to sit next to a groovy-looking dude I would come to know (in brief acquaintance only) as J-Neg, a 2010 NaNoWriMo winner. Seated across from me, a young lady of meek countenance but fetching smile who I would come to also only briefly acquaint myself – Amaikokonut. Handsome Jim, the Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo in San Antonio gave a rousing pep talk, and a pair of local authors chimed in with some sage advice (honestly, I can’t remember who they were… horrible, I know). We were joined a bit late in the presentation by my friend, Liana (MsDalloway is her WriMo handle), and her presence bolstered my spirits – I was just a little intimidated by sitting next to a previous year winner (I would later learn that Amaikokonut has not only participated in three previous NaNoWriMo events, she “won” the last two years).
I was impressed by the company I was surround by, and even though the sounds of the Fiesta SA event happening just a pair of floors below us kept invading the room (the Central Library has an atrium running up the middle of the building which acts like a huge sound cone and amplifier – sounds from below bellow up the atrium and blow out everything), when the green light went on I battered the keys of my Dell and put my shoulder to the wheel – the story wanted out, and bolstered by the sounds of Pink Floyd lilting from my earbuds, I got out of the gate with a strong start: over 3,000 words in the first sitting, and another 2,000 when I got home later… a 7,000 word lead really did me a lot of good.
So, what did I learn from attending the kick off event? 1.) I need a much better WriMo handle (my dork-dom was sealed when I introduced myself to my table mates as, “dangarciasatx”… total geek); 2.) sitting with previous year winners made me throw down my best (my pride swelled a bit as I packed up my gear, and was asked how far I got. The gasps when I reported my 3,000 word start was all I needed); and 3.) “Whatever you think you are, you are more than that.” That’s what the sticker I was given at the event said on it, and I took it to heart; I’ve since adopted it as my personal mantra.
Next: Memoirs from November: pages from the old-fashioned journal…