Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nanowrimo


My Facebook status optimistically proclaims that I am dissertating but really, I'm doing this. Brain's not working too well yet, gotta slide into the day kinda easy.
Since I can now drink coffee again, I've decided to get serious with the Nanowrimo thing. I let myself coast on last year's word count for the first 2 weeks, and then realized that was totally stupid. It's probably cheating, actually, and it certainly violates the spirit of Nanowrimo, and it didn't do anything for my writing discipline either--which is really the whole point. Of course, it's not like I've been sitting around on a beach sipping tap water at my leisure or anything. If all the verbiage I've produced this month went into my novel word count, I'd probably already be at the finish line. But those words get divided up into two sermons, a bible study and a dissertation chapter. (And a couple of sad little excuses for a blog post, barely worth mentioning.)
But, I had a great night a few nights ago where I wrote about 3,000 words in one sitting, resulting in this new surge of affection and enthusiasm for my little novel idea. Things are coming together, and even better, new connections and possibilities keep popping up, and so fast that sometimes I can't keep track and some of them are going to get lost before they can get written. But I have a whole new theoretical angle to work into the thing now, one which very nicely captures the kind of tension and ambiguity I want this posthuman (of course!!!) novel to have. And I may even be closing in on a title--something which, as Dr. John could attest (that is, if he at all remembers me) from my Creative Writing course with him at Harding, I have a dreadful time with.
Plus, I'm writing exciting stuff now like birthing scenes...and eventually will work up the nerve to write a steamy sex scene between two virgins, a cyborg and an illegally genetically engineered guy. Yup. It just doesn't get any better than that, folks.
So, I'm going to put a little word count widget on this blog somewhere and do my very very best to catch up. I'm still way behind, and don't manage to write every day, and that's a problem. So I'm looking for motivation and that is what this blog post is all about.
Any other Nanowrimo's out there? I could use some writing buddies...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's over! Yay!!!

I was really good and only slipped up once. But seriously, the best I could figure that I saved from not consuming beverages other than tap water was seriously less than some other people. Now, that could make me feel smug and virtuous, as in, wow I spend so much less than other people, blah blah blah, or it could make me feel like a heel for not generating a whole lot of revenue for the organization we're donating to. I'm a little conflicted about it. But the truth is, I pretty much drink water and coffee--and the coffee I brew at home. So my estimates were a good faith effort to reflect reality...but I'm glad we have a few Starbucks junkies around to make up for my lack. I don't know yet what our final tally as a church is.

Best of all, Brent helped me celebrate the end of this spiritual discipline with a brew from Grumpy's.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Day 2

So, if you also read Joe's blog, you've read about this. The H2O project. Joe's blogged about it eloquently so I'll skip all that and get straight to the bitching.

I really need coffee.

And no, I haven't cheated. Sunday evening I had a ritual last cup and made it all through yesterday. Today will be tougher. Not just because it is Day 2 but because it is a Dissertating Day, and I typically make it through the day on cups of coffee and not much else as I sit shackled to my computer and try to think thoughts at a speed that really requires some cyborg-type upgrading. I take a grudging break to slap together a sandwich at some point, generally, and then take it to the desk and cram it down while at the computer. Caffeine is sort of a requirement for this sort of crazed academic output.

I will probably have gained 5 pounds from the amount of compensatory chocolate I'll be consuming over the next two weeks.

I could just cheat, I know. But I have this feeling that the point is more than just collecting the money I'm (theoretically) saving by drinking only tap water for two weeks. I have this feeling that there's some good to this consistent reminder that my "right" to coffee is illusory and nothing more than my habitual expectation of a rather cosseted existence. Or that there will be, once I pass through the five stages of caffeine withdrawal (I'm out of "denial" and into "pissed off"--I wonder what comes next?)

economics, sociobiology, and the brethren

Last week, in the class I'm auditing on theology & economics, discussion turned to the similarity between the economic theory of Gary Becker and the common sociobiological theory of the evolution of altruism. This occasioned a diagram, a bunch of concentric circles each representing a differing and weaker level of moral relatedness: close family, extended family, friends, acquaintances, ..."society," and so on. Until of course, there is no obligation perceived at all.

This was not a new thought for me, but what was astonishing, and made me giggle aloud as I sat there and contemplated the blackboard diagram, is that it reminded me forcibly of a particular afternoon at Harding in the Benson auditorium, where I beheld a diagram remarkably similar while listening to a lecture on fellowship from an author based on his recently-published book.

This can hardly be a coincidence.