Archives for October 2009

National Novel Writing Month

Happy Halloween!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’ve once again signed up for NaNoWriMo. This will be my 9th time participating, well sort of — last year I didn’t manage to write a single word the entire month. Anyway, it all kind of boggles my mind. Mostly it’s been an exercise for me to really just, well, write. I go through these dry spells where I don’t have a desire to write and Nano always manages to jump start me back into creativity. Er, well, with the exception of last year where I didn’t write a single word.

I hit the 50,000 mark only for the first time my second year and it was very satisfying, even if the novel itself was probably the worst thing I’ve ever written. Since then I’ve managed to hit the mark every year (sans last, as I mentioned). In 2007 I came very close to finishing 100,000 words during Nano. I hadn’t intended to do that, but the “novel” wasn’t finished when I hit 50k and so I kept going. I call it The Novel of Angst because it was less a novel and more a cathartic experience — I’d written about all of the things that I was, at the time, unable to share regarding Lions World and Guiding Eyes and my life. It was a painful and freeing experience and those that were around at the time probably noticed the marked improvement in my emotional state. Writing that piece was incredibly draining and by the middle of the month I was already starting to burn out. By the last week I’d basically given up and it remains unfinished to this day. I’ve no desire to go back to it, for obvious reasons (Oh, and also I got the call about Yara near the end of that month and got wildly distracted by all that.) I’m still incredibly proud of what I wrote and much of it has trickled onto this blog, though it’s doubtful I’ll ever make the document public. It’s filled with so much raw emotion that I find it too personal to share.

This year I mulled around for the last month letting the many ideas spin around in my head. I always have writing ideas, but unless I know where I can take the idea there’s not much point in trying to turn it into a novel. And then, last night I was working on the promised GEB story post and it dawned on me that the book I really have wanted to write and have procrastinated on ever starting because I’m scared to actually write it is the perfect one for Nano this year. I’d initially thought about doing it when I wrote The Novel of Angst in 2007, but I was in such a complicated space it wouldn’t have come out as I’d planned — probably it would have been similar to what I did write, just without the emphasis on the events of the preceding year.

So, yes, the idea I have is to chronicle the various things I’ve learned through the years via my wonderful guide dogs. Obviously, I pontificate on all that rather often here, though, usually in a more abstract manner. But the entire experience in my life from first making the decision to get a guide dog through training and my own life since has been a series of revelations that sometimes blow my mind. If I’d realized how life altering the desire that was born from watching a Sesame Street bit on guide dogs at six, I’d never have believed it. Heck, I’d probably have run very far the other way. Strangely enough, much in my life has happened in a similar way.

But anyway, so yes, I’m writing a semi-autobiographical book about myself with a specific emphasis on the lessons I’ve garnered from these furry wonders who’ve been my eyes. And you’re probably wondering why I was scared to write this since, uhm, that’s basically 75% of this blog, right? Well, here’s the thing, I have this possibly misguided view of myself that I’m boring. I mean, really dull. Might sound crazy — especially if you’re familiar with how eccentric even my daily life is without me trying — but it is what it is. I find it hard to justify why anyone would be interested in what I have to say (unless it’s an opinion I feel strongly about). Still, I think that in itself is motivation to write this. Not that I have delusions of grandeur mind you, I don’t expect anyone to have a desire to read it. But it’ll be a lot of fun to write.

So, I’m currently in the process of outlining what it is I want to say and organizing my thoughts. But suffice it to say, I’m good to go at midnight! I’ll be attempting to post updates on my progress — or lack thereof — on a daily basis and because of that I’ve also opted into National Blog Posting Month because I am full of self-loathing.

Wish me luck!


I’m still dealing with the massive migraine issues. And now I can add in a gnarly cold to my ailments. Suffice it to say, I didn’t go to work today.

Instead, I futzed around with my shiny, new netbook. In fact, I amt typing this very entry on it, which is admittedly a tiny bit strange. I’ve had a few laptops now, and this keyboard isn’t that much smaller, but the key travel is very shallow — and I keep hitting Enter when trying to Shift with my right pinky. Regardless, so far I don’t really have any complaints — sans the massive amount of bloatware that came on this thing. I’ll be breaking the netbook in via NaNoWriMo, so I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts as the month of November goes on.

In other news, school stuff is being finalized and I’m thrilled that I’m getting to add the second major (rehab teaching) to my program, since that’s what I wanted to major in initially. It does add another year to my studies, but I think it will be absolutely worth it.

Oh, the DRAMA!

I have nothing of true substance to share at the moment. Instead, I give you this video of Sarah trying to cut Yara’s nails whilst I giggle incessantly at the drama of it all because I’m six:

Some Things

Thing One: Yara is entered in Dogster’s Cutest Dog and Cat Show thing. So, click below and go vote for her — and check out the other ludicrously cute entries, they’re bound to make your day better.

VOTE for Yara in The 5th Annual World’s Coolest Dog & Cat Show!

Thing Two: Here’s the Big News! I alluded to yesterday — I got the news yesterday that I will be transferring to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to complete my graduate program. It’s also an online program, though, I will have to go to AR for a week, which will be vastly better than my last stay since I’ll be at the Hilton and the whole thing is part of the tuition. Oh, and the tuition is actually substantially cheaper than what I’m paying at UB! Also, as this program’s been around for awhile, I’m of the mind that they won’t advise me to take the wrong class and thus create major headaches for my graduation requirements. Also, since this school is even FARTHER away than my current one, I’m that much more guaranteed not to be forced to attend graduation by my family. Score!

Thing Three: And lastly, today is White Cane Safety Day!

Replies, Reactions and Warm Fuzzies

Previously at Gentle Wit there has been an abundance of crankiness and angst about the ongoing situation at EDF. Mostly this is attributed to the fact that all attempts at helping and rectifying the problems have been ignored. Of course, there has also been the occasional flame or accusation of harassment. Personally, I’m tired of sounding so “down in the dumps” especially since I’m in a terribly shiny mood thanks to some rather excellent grad school news – which I will share another time.

So, for our purposes today, I’d like to share some of the more positive responses I’ve received, in specific regards to the letter I wrote to EDF:

“For so long we have written letters, talked to officials, and just felt like we were batting our heads against the wall . . . To have someone who understands what that specially raised and trained dog brings to their lives, is uplifting and will keep us battling on to get this situation corrected. My gratitude to you is enormous . . . You are a ray of sunshine for us and I say thank you and praise you for helping to make a difference . . . Our efforts to see this through should send a message to every blind guide dog candidate; we are in this for you!!!

“Your letter was awesome! You nailed every point and drove it home with force. Thank you for taking the time and penning your perspective and worries from someone who knows better than all of us.”

Honestly, I don’t have much of a reply. I really didn’t get involved in this expecting to be thanked. (Of course I didn’t expect to be accused of harassing anyone either!) I am touched that by doing what really is so very little in such a huge fight can generate such a wealth of enthusiasm and I’m pleased to have been able to contribute. And, certainly I’ll do my utmost to continue doing so and spread the word about EDF.