Hey, you. Yes, you. Right there. Guess what? I won NaNoWriMo! With an ending total of 40k, I won. So I will be posting the winner’s badge in the widget section. I was up pretty late last night because I was so close to finishing. A lot of it is pretty terrible, but I’m proud of myself. Before I post the last excerpt of Bloggish and a few announcements, here is a list of things I learned from NaNo/what I want to do next NaNo:
- Use a USB drive. This saved my life several times, considering the fact that my computer has charging issues and crashes on me at random times. I believe we’ll be saying goodbye to Della soon. :(
- Story time: Once upon a time, two years ago-ish, we had fitness testing in PE. [Which I despise.] My best friend at that time was my partner. I was doing sit-ups, and she was pushing me on. Back then, I thought she was saying “It’s all on you,” but now I realize she was saying “It’s all in you.” As in, you’ve got it in you; now let it out. This is very true for NaNoWriMo, too. Everything is in you already; you just need to let the words out.
- Don’t even think about giving up. I was planning to not reach 40k. That was probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever thought. Yeah, maybe I was behind and had only three days left to finish, but I was going to reach 40k. Push yourself. If you’re reading this today, on the last day of NaNoWriMo, and you’re procrastinating on the internet because you have 4k to write, go write! Leave! Now! Begone with you! Come back when you have 1k. DO NOT give up. DO NOT be okay with not winning. DO NOT procrastinate.
- If you finally get that one push to write, keep writing until all that push is gone. It was nearing midnight when I was finishing up; I was on a roll. There was no way I’d go to bed. Now, I know, many of us have parents who don’t want us to stay up super late. If you really have that one push, just beg them. Bribe them. Tell them you’ll sleep in tomorrow [although Monday is tomorrow, so, uh, good luck with that…].
- It is okay to write crap. Mainly, I’m just reassuring myself about my writing, but, honestly, IT’S OKAY. That’s what NaNo is about: just get words written on a screen, the basic plot idea. I have only a few true gems. And my ending…*shudders*…let’s not talk about it. It was the middle of the night, my eyeballs were going to die…Yeah. Fun stuff.
Now, here’s the excerpt:
The tree was beautiful, sparkling with red, green, and yellow lights. The trees were always one of my favorite parts of Christmas. The evergreen, wintery smell, that couldn’t be replicated in a little neon green cut-out.
“Meow,” my cat, Pancake said, jumping into my lap.
“Meow to you, too,” I told her and stroked her arched back.
My panic attacks had worsened once I got back from New York. I could hardly stand a day without collapsing for ten minutes. But I was learning how to control them and my fears. I was determined to defeat them and not let them take control of me. That was not how I wanted to live my life, scared to death all the time. I wanted to be free and happy and beautiful, and learn to fly.
The doorbell rang, and my heart skipped a beat. It wasn’t the panic-attack-is-about-to-happen-oh-my-god heart skipping a beat, but the wonderful in love feeling. Because I knew who was behind that door.
I shoved Pancake off my lap. She frowned and meowed at me. I ignored her and dusted the cat fur off my lap. Was Emile allergic to cats? I didn’t know, and brushed myself off the best I could. Which meant cat fur anyway.
I opened the door and was immediately enveloped in Emile: the way his brunet curls bounce don his forehead, the quiet smile lines on his smooth face, the way his hands met my waist and spun me around, the scent of sharp, sweet cinnamon.
“And here he is!” my mom exclaimed, wiping her hand son her pants as she entered the doorway. “Prince Emile, known throughout the land but seen by no one. Until now, that is.”
He laughed and hugged my mom.
“Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Everen,” he said formally. I grinned.
“Oh, call me Eva,” she insisted, then did a double-take. “I sound like exactly every single mom who meets her daughter’s boyfriend. I don’t give a damn what you call me!”
Emile smiled at me as my mom pranced off to the kitchen.
“You’re mom’s…chill,” he said.
“Yeah, I guess,” I agreed. “You should see her when I forget to clean my room. Then she’s a monster.”
We sat down on the couch by the fireplace. I snuggled up next to Emile and he hugged me tightly.
“I missed you, Caity,” he said, and kissed the top of my head.
I smiled and kissed him back. “I missed you, too.”
“Eww!” a voice behind us screamed. “Mo-om! Caity’s kissing a bo-oy! And he looks old!”
I grinned and kissed Emile again, right in front of my little brother.
My mom laughed from the kitchen. “It’s okay, Trev. She’s allowed to. And he’s not that old. At least I think he isn’t.”
“Why don’t we go to my room?” I suggested.
“Good idea.” Emile smiled.
I led him upstairs to my tiny bedroom. I was still hardly used to it after living in a large penthouse for so long. But it was good to be home.
“Are you okay, Cait?” Emile said seriously as we sat on my bed next to each other. “You’re doing okay with the…panic attacks?”
“Don’t worry.” I waved his concern aside. “I’m controlling it. Tell me, how are things in the Big Apple?”
Emile grinned. He seemed to always be smiling. “Same old, same old. I think Audrey’s dating Ben now.”
“Oh my god!” I squealed. “Why didn’t she tell me? I am so going to text her tomorrow!”
Emile laughed. “Besides that, everything’s good.”
“And you?” I asked. “You’re doing okay without me?”
He smiled again. “I keep remembering you’re here, and not there. I’ll think, ‘Oh, I should get Cait a latte’ and then I remember that I can’t.”
“Oh my god,” I said. “That is too adorable. And so Tumblr!”
He rolled his eyes. “Speaking of which, how’s blogging?”
“Glad you asked,” I said. “It’s been great. It almost feels like everything’s normal now, y’know? Whenever I get online I can just catch up with any of my blog friends. When I’m blogging, everything feels…just really okay. Like nothing’s changed at all.”
“Yet everything has,” Emile chimed in.
It was still awkward around Dean. Every time he was online, I deliberately avoided communicating with him, mostly out of fear that I would get another panic attack. I thought he was kind of sorry, because he set off the attack. I just wasn’t ready to face him yet.
We sat there, in awkward silence. It was kind of comfortable, but awkward all the same. Then my mom called us down for dinner and we went downstairs, hand-in-hand. My mom smiled when we came in. She looked so happy, so carefree. And I thought she was really happy for me, too.
“Where’s Dad?” I asked, noticing his absence.
My mom scowled. “Traffic,” she replied. “I swear to God, I will be so fucking happy when there are flying cars. I would sacrifice my firstborn for them!”
“Hey!” I said, but smiled. It was good to hear my mom passionate about something, even if it was traffic.
“Oh, my mom cusses a lot,” I whispered to Emile. “Just thought you should know.”
“Thanks,” he whispered back. “My life is now finally complete.”
I kicked him under the table.
“So, Trev, what’ve you been up to today?” my mom asked.
Trevor smiled widely. “I was playing ninjas with Lucas. I beat him five times.” He beamed again. “But then I helped Lucas, ’cuz he was sad he lost.”
Emile smiled at my little brother. “That’s very noble of you, Trevor.”
Trevor didn’t even say thank you, that little brat. He just glanced at Emile and asked, “So who’s that again?”
“That’s Emile, Cait’s boyfriend,” my mom replied, gesturing with a forkful of broccoli. “Say ‘thank you,’ Trev. Emile gave you a nice compliment.”
Trevor turned to my boyfriend. “Thank you. How old are you?”
Emile smiled a wide grin. “Eighteen. I’ll be nineteen next month.” Then he shoveled a giant bite of spaghetti. Somehow he made eating spaghetti seem graceful, when, in reality, everyone looked stupid when they ate it.
I went to bed full. Emile was sleeping on the couch, so I said goodnight to him and when upstairs to my room. I set the alarm on my phone to go off at midnight so I could set presents out under the tree without anyone knowing.
I changed into my pajamas and slipped under my covers, my phone on my nightstand.
One of the things that kept me up at night was having a panic attack while I was asleep. The doctor had told me it was perfectly probable. Which scared me even more. Just the thought of thinking I was dying while I was trying to sleep scared me. When it happened while I was conscious, at least I had people talking to me.
I would stay awake almost all night long, too afraid to close my eyes. I kept of store of chocolate-covered coffee beans under my bed in case I couldn’t sleep at all, no matter how hard I tried. Then I would just pull an all-nighter and finish homework or chat with my friends on the other side of the world.
I curled myself into a ball in my bed. I ahd promised myself tgat I wouldn’t have any panic attacks while Emile was here. Not even while I slept.
I just couldn’t sleep. It was those night-before-Christmas jitters when you so desperately want to look out your window to see the reindeer.
At midnight, I crawled out of bed and gathered up he presents for under the tree. I tiptoed downstairs in my socks and set them under the beautiful tree, which was turned off for the night.
Emile was asleep on the couch, his hair briefly fluttering as he breathed. Carefully, I sat down on the couch and stroked his lovely curls. His eyes opened and he kissed my wrist.
“Can’t sleep?” he whispered.
He lifted the blanket and I climbed in next to him, my head on his chest. I could hear his beating heart right next to my temple.
“Tell me a story,” I whispered.
“I don’t know any stories.”
“Tell me about your family, then,” I insisted. “I want to know.”
He laughed softly. “Well, my mother, she’s a big, round woman. Filipina. She loves to cook. She used to be a chef at a restaurant. Her name’s Philippa, which she hates. So everyone calls her Phippa, which she thinks is only slightly better. Apparently, I inherited her smile. She smiles a lot.”
“Like you,” I broke in.
He nodded, and his chin hit my head.
“My dad…well my parents are divorced, and I didn’t see much of my dad. I got his hair, though. I just remember the smell of aftershave when I think of him. And my brother tugging on his beard.”
“Tell me about your brother,” I prodded.
“He’s dead,” Emile said frankly.
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered.
“It happened a few years ago. But he was a great older brother. His name was Arnold. Sad name, I know. He had the best, biggest laugh, and was nice to everyone. He was going to be married, actually. He got killed in war, though. All I can say is at least he died fighting for our country.”
“Yeah,” I agreed.
“I have this one crazy aunt.” Emile paused. “You wanna hear about her?”
I giggled. “Of course.”
“Her name is Lolita. She has this frizzy black hair that shoots out of her head like she put her finger in a socket. And she can’t cook to save her life. She burns water.” I laughed. “And she owns, like, thousands, of mice. She keeps them well-fed and whatever, but it’s just so weird. I only have to see her if there’s a huge family event. Otherwise, she keeps to herself.”
“That’s pretty crazy.”
“You haven’t even heard about my cousin, Jonas!” Emile exclaimed. “That’s a freak. He collects rubber ducks and has like, a million of them on shelves. And he just keeps them. Apparently, he’s really smart, though. I’ve only met him once or twice, at like a wedding. And my mom forced me to talk to him.”
That was how we spent Christmas Eve. Telling stories about relatives and laughing. Finally, we got tired. Emile rested his head on mine and drifted off. And I was never happier, lying on that musty old couch, the evergreen tree quietly observing in the corner, Emile breathing quietly. It was better than any of my wildest dreams.
There was a feeling you could sometimes. Perfect. Sweet. Fluffy and happy. Maybe you got it when you shopped with your mom or went to the movies with your friends. Whenever you got it, wherever you got it, whomever you got it with, it was special. That glorious feeling that creeps up your chest and into your heart, seeping into your soul and warming you up.
I didn’t care if Christmas ever came, if Emile and I sat on that couch forever. I would be perfectly content and at home. It wasn’t any wild dream; it was reality.
Emile’s easy breathing and fluttering put me in a stupor. No panic attacks, I told myself. You’re fine. Emile’s here. It’s Christmas Eve. Everyone’s rooting for you. Somehow, I made it through that night.
Don’t judge me.
I am not going to write or edit or worry about my novel for the entire week. Next weekend, though, I’m printing it all out and busting out highlighters and pens and pencils. That will consume my time…for a while. I’ll be posting regularly on here and AGV now, so don’t worry about that.
But what will I do about Nakoma?
I’ve been thinking about Nakoma for a while now. I see potential in it, but it’s gotten so long and the conflict is just d r a g g i n g o n. I don’t feel like finishing it. Which is completely unfair to everyone who’s reading it. I do, however, have an idea that I need opinions on. What if I posted as much of the story as I had, and anyone who wanted to could take a stab at the ending? This novel’s just for fun, and I think it would be fascinating to see how others thought the ending would be.
Tell me what you think in the comments below.
But, wait! There’s more! Precious @ Clockwork Desires has started a book blogging tag that’s really fun. I’ll be doing it later this week. It’s called the A to Z Book Tag. Click the image below to learn more and participate!