Last night, I won NaNoWriMo. Fifty thousand words in twenty- six days, and I’m two scenes short of a first draft. I am truly amazing, am I not? I burst out of my room at nine this morning bubbling with the news. “I’M A WINNER!” I yelled. Everyone was very excited, so we held a great and glorious feast in my honor.
Nah, I’m just kidding. In the words of the great Jim Harbaugh, I’m spewing a load of gobble, gobble turkey from jive turkey gobblers. (I felt the need to work that in there somehow. I heard the quote today.)
But I did win NaNoWriMo, and we did have a feast. It just wasn’t in my honor. Us Americans celebrate this holiday called Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of every November. I don’t know what we’re celebrating. Having food, I think. And in order to celebrate having food, we stuff as much possible down our throats until everyone feels like throwing up, and then have a little break and have mine-filled conversations with distant family members that we rarely see while we wait for our food to digest enough that we can fit a couple slices of pie down there.
And my family had two Thanksgivings today. One with our aunt and uncle (Lots of drama because our mom despises our uncle, who she thinks is a bully,) and one with our great-aunt and uncle. (Great-Aunt Rose is the best cook ever. It totally made up for the grilled calamari, dry turkey and pasta that were present at our Italian uncle’s Thanksgiving.)
Seriously, though, I spent a lot of energy being tactful today. And subtly mocking people to their faces, which is always fun as long as you can get away with it. Lots of super-religious people in our extended family, all of whom feel strongly that our family should be super-religious too. Let me tell you about one of the people who showed up to Thanksgiving. For anonymity’s sake, we’ll call him Bob.
Bob is fifty or sixty or maybe even seventy, receding white hair, eyes that are crinkled almost all the way shut with lines, and he has a lot of Opinions. With a capital O. He’s dating a woman right now who he’s concerned about because, and this is a direct quote, “She believes in zombies.” Asked for evidence, he went on a rant about how once a week every week she just disappears to go watch Walking Dead even if they’re in the middle of something, and apparently hosted a Halloween party dressed in an elaborate zombie costume that cost like five thousand dollars or something. (Relatively certain he was exaggerating.) Bob is very religious, and thinks that zombies are the antithesis of Christianity. Me and Mom were ganging up on the poor guy at this point, both of us nodding very seriously and suggesting ever more ridiculous theories that he accepted as relevant to the discussion, such as my wide-eyed claim that “Don’t you think vampires are the antithesis of Christianity? I mean, even their souls are warped, and they can’t stand crosses.” I really thought he’d catch me with that one, but instead he just nodded seriously at me and continued plowing through with the zombie thing.
And then he started expounding on why she is so obsessed with zombies. He explained to us, in great detail, that a woman is only fulfilled by having a husband and children, and since the woman had never married or had kids, she was filling the void in her soul with the zombies. I attempted to deflect by suggesting that maybe she just thought zombies were cool, but no beans. He was determined. And very sexist. Ugh, I hate prejudiced old guys.
He was so awful it was funny. He was prickling my grandfather (Who is awesome) with all of these comments about how he should start going to church again, and interrogating him about his new wife’s religion. The tension was rising, and the men of my mom’s dad’s side of the family tend to get into fistfights over things like religion, so Mom defused the situation by saying, with as straight a face as possible, “I just sacrifice small birds on my porch with one of those little star things on their chests.”
“Pentagrams,” I said, helpfully.
“Pentagrams, right. Only on Sundays, of course. I’m not really sure why it’s necessary, but it keeps producing a lot of black smoke so I think it’s working.”
(My mom is also awesome.)
So, as a quick summary: I won NaNoWriMo, ate a ton of great food, and had ridiculous conversations with various extended family members. A pretty typical Thanksgiving experience for writers, I think. How about you?