SheWriMo: In the back room with the door closed
Contributor
My husband knows I'm still in the house because the back-room door is closed. No one closes this door but me. Otherwise, he's seen me today only for dog duties (a barf-fest and one walk), cat commiseration (cats do not like closed doors, especially not loud, Siamese cats who are always on the wrong side of any closed door), and a lot of shouting (about me being fool enough to learn to use a beta writing program while trying to commit 50,000 words to paper -- or rather, paper-looking images on a screen). He knows I'm still here. The day is going, but it all isn't going in the way I'd hoped. Then there are those 50,000 words. Good thing I like to type, and have ever since my grandfather put my months-old fingers on a keyboard (or so I say). I received my first typewriter when I was four, a tin Mickey Mouse printer with a dial to twist to make a stamped impression of the appropriate letter after the tiny typist pressed the lever. I think I knew how to spell my names, first and last. I may have known my brother's name, too. My next typewriter was also a Christmas present, and this time it was a real typewriter. It was turquoise, and I thought it was beautiful. I think I made out library rosters with that one when I lent out my books to the neighbor kids. They enjoyed the game for about a day, or maybe less. Cowboys and Indians in those politically incorrect days, was a more exciting game than Library. Later, I coveted my dad's electric Smith Corona. He offered to buy me one when I was in my twenties, but I asked for a manual typewriter instead because Army life takes you places where 110v. electricity is only half the standard output, and I wanted to type on my Smith Corona instead of using her for a paperweight. That little manual gem is sitting behind me on a TV table, still in working order. I considered doing my NaNo novel on her, but then sense prevailed. All that blather about typing brings me to Dragon. Like I said, I like to type, but after decades of doing it, typing doesn't like me so much. Just this much blogging has started my wrists buzzing. For me, the workaround to weak, buzzy wrists is using the Dragon voice recognition program, which is why the door to the back room is closed. Which is why the cat is unhappy. I'd try blaming the dog barf on my need to close the door, too, but that's a stretch -- she'd have blapped all that yuck whether the door was open, closed, French, windowed, arched, automatic or nonexistent. I close the door because, while I'm composing deathless prose -- or any prose -- I don't want to be overheard. I'm shy about saying aloud tidbits such as, "She looked down and saw what looked like a gash in her pants leg. Tears came into her eyes at the pain, not tragically bad pain, but just another insult at the end of an insulting day." It's not the worst writing in the world, and not even within rifle-shooting distance of risqué, but who wants the family listening in on a first draft, especially a family prone to giggling? Dragon works fairly well (so far), but it has a mind of its own: -- Saying "sticky notes" triggered a command to open a mail program (which I don't have installed, so that prompted a few cyber sniffles on the part of the computer). -- Saying "old" made the program pop the cursor up to the bold command. -- Saying "close" at the wrong speed for Dragon to realize it was part of the sentence generated a query as to whether I wanted to save my changes before I quit the program. I also thought I'd be able to stroll in small circles while dictating to my secretary and looking important (think of '40s movies with the executive telling Miss Jones to "take a letter"), but I found that I needed to keep an eye on my robotic secretary. Not only can he be easily confused, he is a quiet fellow who doesn't so much as clear his throat when he doesn't understand. He merely blinks his wrongly-placed cursor at me while my deathless prose flows out of my mouth, into the ether, and evaporates. [blinking cursor indicating a bold misunderstanding] [me noticing the boldly blinking cursor and seeing where it stopped] [me boldly exclaiming] "What did I say since then? What was that last sentence?!" Such a waste. But at least the shouting assures my husband I haven't yet crawled out the window (as the dog is certain I've done) . (the dog is rawther deaf, so the shouting fails to reassure her that I'm still here) In this way, day one of NaNoWriMo has passed for me. I have the requisite 1,600+ words, my wrists are still able to help my hands pick things up and not drop them. The animals are ... here ..., as am I. It is now almost time to start supper, or at least time for a good, long stretch. The supper is the least I can do for my ignored husband (he's still learning how to retire), who doesn't meow, barf or misunderstand me (much).

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