I didn’t look for NaNoWriMo. It found me. That’s a sign right? It’s a sign that I should cast off the shackles of writer’s cell block F (‘F’ for fear of failure) and cannon ball on into the deep end right? A swim in exciting, albeit unsure, waters is just what I need after years of writer’s block confinement yes? I’ve resolved to give it a go.
Some NaNoWriMo participants have devoted months, maybe years, to preliminary research and writing exercises. I’ve got 8 days til’ showtime. Official NaNoWriMo writing starts November 1st. I don’t really have a clear focus for the book, just a general idea. I don’t expect Hurston or Smith calibre work (who am I kidding, of course I hope I’m prodigious from the gate), but I do expect to learn a lot from the process and I hope that good, bad or brain-fart, I stick with it. This, for me, should be an exercise in commitment if nothing else.
I mentioned my 8 day training period. The plan is to do an exercise a day ’til D-day. My ‘D’ is for Determined!
The book: Writing Fiction Step by Step by Josip Novakovich
The exercise: If you have experienced unrequited love, write a scene in which your love is requited. But since there is no story if there is no major problem to be solved, imagine some new obstacle for the relationship.
“You’re a glutton for punishment”, he quietly mused. “You knew I was into the rough stuff when you met me. Didn’t I have a dominatrix avatar on my Naseeb page?”
I could sense that something was still left unsaid and looked at him quizically as I started to clear the dishes from the dinner party. I pressed the issue, “But aren’t we all? All who dare to love hard, aren’t we all just consenting to 60% amity and 40% horror?”
This time I got a real laugh out of him. “Ah! Word play and witty repartee! Thanks for reminding me why I worship at the shrine of Suhailah!”
“Hey astagfirllah Jamil!” she said as she popped a dish towel in his direction. He mocked disgust, “so you can joke about S&M as we stand here in this kitchen un-chaperoned but I can’t embellish my love for you?” He was so handsome that whenever we dis-agreed I had to steel my will to scold. “Not if its borderline shirk brother“. ‘Brother’ with what I hoped was a sexy but stern half grin.
“You’re right I shouldn’t joke like that. Of course only Allah is worthy of worship”. From anyone else it’d sound slightly patronizing and disingenuous but Suhailah didn’t doubt his sincerity. Jamil was the Muslim equivalent of a ‘Jesus freak’ but in a non-jihad/911 kind of way. He was just really aware of ‘the bigger picture’ and nurtured his relationship with The Creator–Allah. She really liked him so when he started to distance himself from her and suggested calling off their engagement Suhailah ignored her mother’s advice and pursued. Jamil was the one, whatever was bothering him could be worked out.
It was Suhailah’s suggestion that they have a small dinner party. One-on-one dating amongst the un-married is frowned upon in Islam as there are no barriers between the amorous male, the amorous female and the nature that is just begging to take place. Jamil agreed to the group date and Friday night found them and 4 close friends of theirs at Suhailah’s campus apartment. Suhailah disappeared into the tiny kitchen to clear the dishes and get dessert, Jamil followed anxious to discuss the source of his trepidation. He had to be quick for 2 reasons. It’d somehow minimize the pain he imagined he’d see register on her face—the most beautiful brown oval that ever was, and he figured he only had about 5 minutes before Hameedah’d burst into the kitchen eye’s rolling, finger wagging and astagfirllah-ing.
“Ok so here’s the deal”, he stood straight and looked steadily at Suhailah—those eyes—“I love you. I love you for the sake of Allah. And I love your wit, your occasional ‘blond’ moments, your optimism, your earthiness…I do want to spend the rest of my life with you…I just can’t promise that I’ll be spending my life with only you.”
Suhailah was sincerely confused but before she could utter something to that effect she heard “Suhailah I know that I’m going to practice polygamy”.