Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Extra Day

At first, it looks like a present, an almost unexpected gift, a 29th day in a month that normally only has 28 (and wtf with that? Why do some of them have 31 and this one gets stuck with 28?)... when actually, it's like that gift of an extra hour, given right in the middle of the night on some weekend in the autumn (which only you lucky folk who live in countries that do daylight savings time actually have). But both of these are paid for in advance, or later on... the 29th is a day cobbled together from all the moments left over, that didn't fit into the calendar for the last four (or next four?) years. We get to use the time, today, but it was scraped off the edges of the last four years of your life.

So it makes me think, about the last four years. Starting with, where were you, and what were you doing four years ago? In February of 2008, I was a senior in college. I think I was getting my first rejection from JET (yeah I said rejection! ..that was at the end of January, '08) even though I knew then (as I still know) that I would be perfect for that job... I think I was cooking up plans for a future so blank and frighteningly empty..I'd never had such an empty calendar before, because one thing had always led to another. School led to school, led to college, and there I was, at the edge of that being over, and not having the GRE taken, not having applications filled out.

It was JET, or Kansas, then,
It was Kansas.

I looked forward to the summer, from February, as I do now. I made plans for spring break, I had a thesis to write. I had graduating to do.

But today isn't gleaned from last February, it's from all the months in between here and there. Everything that followed, year upon year. From all that time spent in all those places, from Nashville to Valdosta to Kansas and then to Japan, and Japan, and Japan. Working, waiting, and worrying, changing, learning, and living it up.

Ow! Jeez. What was that for?
It doesn't matter; it's in the past!
Yeah, but it still hurts.
Oh yes, the past can hurt.

And I'm okay with today. Kinda misty out again (not as misty as it was up on that mountain the other day...), no classes, but we'll have the graduation slide show for the 3rd years in a few minutes, and I'll get kerosene and groceries, and make a last attempt at writing some more in the month of February before giving in to the temptation to read Scott Pilgrim or The Name of the Rose instead.

As for the writing, at this moment, the February effort is at 38,574 words, which means I'm going to fall short of the 50,000 goal. But, if you add to that the 15,310 written previously to February (which is totally cheating, and I totally don't care), the grand total comes out at 53,884, which is a respectable enough number. February might not have produced 50,000 words, or anything close to a completed novel (it's going to take a lot more words), but it did at least get me writing, under the spirit of the idea that the only way to start writing a book is to start writing a book. This time, I get an extra day to do it (although if it were November, again, I'd have 30, not 28 or even 29).

Which also kind of proves that writing 50,000 in one month is pretty hard (especially if you have a job, and even if it's a light month for that job), and those who were able to do it whenever they did, hats off to y'all.

Otherwise, the view from here is in some ways similar to the view from 2008. I have ideas, I have designs, I look forward to June, I am going to move, a chapter is ending this summer just as graduation closed the chapter before, but if the last four years, with their ups and downs and figuring of things out is any indication of the scattering of moments to come, I think, whatever that blank space holds, it's probably pretty okay, and I'm gonna do what I can with it.

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