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30. A photo of you when you were happy. 11/30/2010 upon finishing NaNoWriMo 2010.

Another weird photo-a-day topic. “When you were happy.” Doesn’t that imply that I’m no longer happy? Well, dammit, I’m happy. So here’s a picture from right now. I don’t do fake-photo-smiles very well, so here’s a real creepy look at me.

Crossed the finish line a few moments ago. What joy! What yippy! This isn’t the closest-to-the-wire that I’ve gone, but it’s up there. Glad to have it done with. Now I wonder what it is I’ve done.

This story started in one place, with one idea, and thematically changed along the way more than anything else I’ve written. Here is what we’ve explored:

  • Responsibility
  • Living up to one’s potential
  • Zombies, both real and metaphoric
  • New Jersey
  • Storge
  • The beast within us all!
  • Other stuff. Yeah, that’s right. Other stuff.

Now is when I wind down, remember that the number of words I type no longer matters. Switch back from narrating things in my head. And let us lay Nano2010 to rest.

Many thanks to many people — the friends, family, and co-workers who let me sit in a corner and write and (mostly) didn’t bother me while I was doing it. All of you whose IP addresses show up daily (or thereabouts) here. It was great to know you all were there watching me write some absolutely ridiculous shit. And nobody told me to stop! Writing is a private, isolated task. It’s a lot more fun with friends.

Plus: Thanks, mom.

Word count: 50,125. Still could write a few more words to make the story connect to itself, but…. Maybe tomorrow.

And I suppose I promised another excerpt. Arthur’s having a rough time (again) and Paul is treating him as if he were his child — taking him upstairs and putting him to bed. I just reread this and out of context, that first paragraph sounds…well, whatever it sounds. What it is is what it is.

Paul led me into the bedroom, left the light off, sat me down on the bed, went and lowered the blinds and drew the curtains across the windows. The room went mostly dark, a sliver or two of afternoon sun slanting through. He turned back to me, found me still sitting upright, right where he’d left me, unmoving, unblinking, unmoved. He lowered my head to the pillow, lifted my legs, slid them onto the bed. His touch was so gentle, I remember that thought penetrating, that thought getting through, that feeling being felt. He patted my head. I could see a crooked half smile on his face in the dim room.

“Try to get some rest,” he said. “I know you just woke up. You slept all day yesterday too, huh? Maybe you just need some more. Just get some rest. Just lie here, Art, and maybe when you wake up you’ll feel a lot better. And I’ll try to figure it all out. Don’t worry.”

And he leaned down, with his hand on the top of my head, and he leaned down and he kissed my forehead, and I remember thinking how many times I had seen him do that to his kids, to his son and daughter, in a darkened room, a sick child in the bed, his hand on the top of his or her head, leaning down to kiss their forehead before leaving them to get their rest. He had told me before that he felt so helpless, so useless when his children were sick, that it was the most painful feeling in the world to know that his kid was suffering and there was nothing he could do about it but make them comfortable as possible and kiss their foreheads and hope they knew that he loved them. And something turned in me, something very slight, a slight twist, something, and I knew the love Paul had for me, the pity he felt for me, the protectiveness, that he would make everything alright, that it would all be okay, and for a second I could feel the comforting coolness of his hand on my forehead and it seemed to penetrate through everything, spread through my body, quelling the fire, bringing everything back into focus and I opened my mouth to tell him that everything was going to be alright, that I was going to be fine, that I loved him and trusted him and knew that he could fix anything, and then it was gone, his hand was gone, the words were gone, the feeling was gone, and Paul walked away from the bed.

“You wear the sins of yourself on the plastic sleeves of the hearts of your mind in these days this troubled times with happiness so near far so close but over there, the reasons never being what reasons shouldn’t be you wear the sins you were the sins, it’s never registered, it never registered that what you did is what you do is what you are is who you are is how you wear your hair is how you wear your face.” It came out in one unbroken stream, the words finding purchase on my tongue as easily as a mountain goat on a narrow ledge.


    • Phil
    • Posted November 30, 2010 at 1:41 pm
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    Congrats, brother. This has been my favorite Nano to date. Please (for the love of your fellow man), please find more excuses to write 🙂

    • Adam
    • Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm
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    I’m glad you enjoyed it, Phil! I’m going to try to keep this site updated more than just during the month of November. I’m thinking that all of the photo albums sitting in my dining room need to get scanned. I might just do one photo at a time with an accompanying post…. We’ll see. Thanks for hanging out for another NaNo. Always glad to have your support. 🙂

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