The month of November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I first ran into it about a year ago as I began blogging. A lady writer, whose blog I had been reading and commenting on, gave it a try. I offered to stop bugging her for a month, but she felt she could handle both tasks.
You are expected to produce a short novel of fifty-thousand words, in thirty days, an average of 1667 words per day. It would be a good idea to get out ahead of that, and produce 2000 words a day at the beginning, to give yourself time at the end for proofreading and editing.
H. E. Ellis has been encouraging me to “write” but the creative muse still hasn’t tasered me. Perhaps if I come up with a story line, I may try it at a later date. I’ve published more than twice that amount on this site; it just took me a year to do it, a thousand words at a time.
November is also Movember, when the more testosterone-laden among us, male and female, are urged to grow mustaches as evidence of support for education about, and eradication of, prostate cancer. Much as I would like to be one of the guys, especially at my enlarged age, I can’t grow a mustache, not unless I shave off the one I already sport, and start all over again.
My father wore a mustache, pretty much all of his life. I’ve seen photos of him during W.W. II, even before I was born, and he had a mustache then. Without consciously copying him, I’ve also had a ‘stache since shortly after we were married. Nothing outlandish, no Fu Manchu, no Mexican gunfighter, and definitely no David Crosby soup-strainer. I don’t know how guys can stand those things. I hate it when one side of my mouth collapses and follows a bite of sandwich in.
Back in 1965, when I was enrolled in the Adult Education scholastic upgrade course, I didn’t shave for a week. I came to school on the Monday, and the uptight Accounting professor demanded to know what I thought I was doing. I explained that I was going to grow in a mustache and a neat VanDyke beard. Oh no! You can’t do that! Shave it off! It wasn’t till much later that I was appalled at the nerve of this man making judgements on what I could and could not do with my own face.
A couple of years later, after I became a husband and father, I decided to skip the beard, but grow in a mustache. My wife actually prefers me with a beard, and has encouraged me to grow one on several occasions. Five years or so after the mustache first appeared, I grew in a big, bushy, Grizzly Adams one, and kept it for over five years.
Many years later, I started riding motorcycles, and the beard came back each winter. You see it in my Gravatar. Up here on the frozen tundra, I still rode my bikes nine months a year. I could put up with the cold, as long as the streets weren’t snowy or iced. I found that a heavy beard below my full-face helmet kept the cold winds out.
I had three levels of gloves, from thin to insulated thick, because that’s where a motorcyclist feels the cold most. Snowmobilers often have heaters installed in their handlebars, to keep their hands warm. Each winter I thought about doing it to my bike, but never got around to it. As the temperatures plunged, my rides got shorter and shorter, till I was down to just the 15 minute ride to and from work.
One year, December 21 was the last Friday I worked before Christmas. Since there’d been no snow, I still took the bike. The coldest day I ever rode was another year when the temperature at 6:30 AM, as I left for the shop, was minus 18 C (0 F.). The heat dissipation fins on the engine become your best friends when you stop for a red light.
Our son has inherited some of the wife’s Italian genes. You can’t braid the hair on his back, but he comes well supplied. I was taking a night, Business Law course the evening he was born. I went to the hospital after class, and looked in the nursery for my son. I eliminated all the pink ID slips and scanned the blue ones for one with our name, but couldn’t see one. As I went down the hall to the wife’s room, I passed this hairy little monster with motorcycle goggles, under a spotlight. I told the wife I hadn’t seen our cute little child, but had spotted this little Hell’s-Gnome.
She said to get used to it; that was the one we had to take home. He had been born severely jaundiced, and they put him under an ultra-violet lamp to assist in clearing the toxins. Ordinary babies just got sleeping masks, to protect their eyes. With the full head of hair he had, his kept slipping off, so they had to install the biker shades. With his huge head, the wife had to hold him erect, when his aunt gave him his first haircut at three months of age.
At twelve, his Grade 8 teacher suggested that he shave off his black incipient mustache. He did, but when he went to high school in the fall, he just let it grow. By thirteen, he had a better mustache than any of his teachers. At about twenty, he grew in the Grizzly Adams beard to go with it, and has not looked back in twenty years.
Neither he nor I can do anything for the cause, that we’re not already doing. So, there you have my twin excuses. No Mostache growing, no Writing a novel, So what?