NaNoWriMo Day 15 Looking back in Antici….


On Day 15 I was made two promises, and here is what became of them.

The first promise was that I was safe to go forward for surgery to my right eye. This is no small thing, as you may be aware. It started with surgery to my left eye 4 weeks ago, since when I have been enjoying nausea, vertigo and blinding headaches due to mis-matched depth perception. I can’t read easily and perhaps that is why I can write more – no distractions. (Being unable to read also means my Inner Editor is effectively under house arrest.)

Anyway, yesterday was Check-up Day. First I went to the optician for an eye test. He checked both eyes so he could sort out the balance needed. Then he looked at me very seriously and asked me how old I was. I told him 50, because it’s what I am.

“Well,” he said. “You have normal vision for a fifty year old but you need a pair of reading glasses.”

Then we both got a bit emotional. I welled up, he wiped his own glasses vigorously and kept patting my arm and saying “I’m so pleased. Really, I’m so pleased for you.” [Note to anyone not British: this is desperately high drama in my country.]

When we got back to the reception both the receptionist and the chap who fits the glasses were waiting with bated breath, and he told them all about it while I sat grinning like an idiot and they all got very excited and started reminiscing about how bad my eyes had been and asking when my other eye would be sorted out. We have an entire plan for how to manage the new glasses and how long to wait before each subsequent check.

In the afternoon I saw the consultant and she checked carefully and asked who had done the surgery and I told her. She said, yes, that particular surgeon is really good and asked if I wanted the other eye done, so I said I might as well and she made a note I should have the same surgeon for the next operation.

It was a very happy, exciting day for me. I now have normal vision in one eye, officially and tomorrow I will pick up my reading glasses and be able to read again. I can start reading the mountain of books that have built up over the last couple of years. It will be, as da yoof might have said a few years ago when it was cool to do so, awesome.

“What of the second promise?” I hear you ask, bored with how easily I am pleased. (Oh, but it’s life changing! I can be spontaneous instead of worrying about whether to carry my lenses and glasses and various potions about all the time; I can learn to drive; I can doze on the train or in front of the television and not wake up with crimson eyes which itch and weep and burn; I can expect to see reasonably well for the rest of my life; I will not get cataracts.)

The second promise was made by NaNoWriMo in its pep talk. It said that mid-month I would hit he “long, dark night of the soul” (by which I presume they meant writer’s block and not a religious wasteland of doubt and despair as the original use of the term suggested), and that I would overcome it and be more productive.

Yesterday I had the morning at home before setting out on my epic quest to discover visual nirvana. I planned to write. I actually spent the time doing “research”. You know the kind of thing. Reading background material on Wikipedia and finding history sites relating to the Blitz. I found out lots of interesting things and some old maps but really I don’t need them at the moment. That’s why what I write is called fiction.

I haven’t been having too much trouble writing words, but I have been having trouble achieving the next steps in the danse macabre which I like to pretend is a novel. However, it also came true last night when I finally cornered my two main characters and got the one to reveal the crucial plot device to the other.

I stopped my word production after that (1349 words, under the daily average required, but close enough) and heaved a sigh of relief. Over the weekend I hope to move things along more smartly. It felt emotionally draining to have her say the words she had to say.

It had been a demanding day for my English sensibilities in every respect and they were unused to such exercise. They sat in a corner fanning themselves and demanding a glass of water or smelling salts, and generally needed to loosen their corsets and take some time out.  I put them on the chaise longue and opened a window to give them some air, and after some Hugh Laurie they began to revive, but by then it was time for bed because I knew I had to go on the train in the morning.

At least I have broken the curse of being able to write on the train. The lad next to me was doing his geography homework earlier (or “colouring in” as we call it in my house). Now I have a business gent for company but he is engrossed in the paper and in any case I will be finished soon.

What promises have you been made, or made yourself, and will they be kept? I hope the good ones are and the creepy, sinister ones (have you watched Rango? Those sinister “he’s going to die soon” ones. I am sure they are no more than dark comedy or, worse yet, Bad Taste.)

Chins up and pens to paper! We are on the downhill stretch!

Go on then, it's your turn

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