Thursday, November 29, 2007

final day

Thank goodness for that.

You Won!

So it's official.
Our word-counting robots have analyzed your November novel, and they've delivered their final, binding assessment: Winner.

You did it! You did it! You did it!
This was, without a doubt, one of the hardest years on record for NaNoWriMo participants. At some point in the literary marathon, most of your fellow writers fell by the wayside. They lost their books to work, to family, to school, and to the hundreds of other distractions and interruptions that tend to shutter creative undertakings like NaNoWriMo.
But not you. Not this year.
This November, you set out with the ridiculously ambitious goal of bringing an entire world into existence in just 30 days. When the going got tough, you got writing. Now you're one of the few souls who can look back on 2007 as the year you were brave enough to enter the world's largest writing contest, and disciplined enough to emerge a winner.
We salute your imagination and perseverance. The question we ask you now is this: If you were able to write a not-horrible novel in 30 days, what else can you do? The book you wrote this month is just the beginning.
From here on out, the sky's the limit.
-- from the NaNoWriMo website

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The eyes have it

Saturday was E-Day. In fact it was doubly so. It was Election Day, but it was also eye-test day.

Five years is a long time between visits to the optometrist for anyone, but for a diabetic that's definitely too long.

My problem is that I don't like my eyes being touched, and for a diabetic exam it's usual to put in eye drops to make the eyes easier to inspect. I have never been able to use eye drops; embarrassingly I often struggle if somebody is trying to use them on me.

After a couple of attempts, we manage to work around my problem by photographing the inside of my eyes, then inspecting close-up the parts that didn't show up well in the picture.
The verdict was no sign of diabetic retinopathy and my macular seemed to be OK. However I was overdue for new bi-focals.

Under the Australian health system, the eye test is free. However the spectacles are definitely not.

Have you ever noticed that in this sort of situation if you try and guess how much it will cost, you're always about 30% below the actual figure.

The girl behind the counter showed me a couple of different styles.
"This pair is lighter and would cost about $1100, while these aren't so lightweight but cost about $900."

"I'll take the latter," I said. This month I have to pay the rates, the phone bill and the power bill before I even start thinking about Christmas. $900 is a lot of money at the moment.

Meanwhile, back at the ballot box, the pollsters' predictions turned out to have been right on the mark. The entrenched conservative government led by John Howard was crushed by the swing to Kevin Rudd's ALP.

Both men made speeches on late-night television. Howard was gracious in defeat, while Rudd gave a long speech overflowing with platitudes and cliches.

My main source of disquiet with Kevin Rudd sounds a bit superficial. It's the way he looks; sometimes he feels like an android who's been programmed to play the part of a politician. If they ever do another live-action 'Thunderbirds' movie, I've go the man to play Brains.

Monday, November 19, 2007


You remember the old comic-book villain Eclipso? Nasty fellow with one half of his face painted black, the other half white. That's how I felt when I woke up Wednesday morning.

The left hand of my head felt perfectly normal, but on the right side my eye was watering, my nose was running and my ear was hot and itchy. I've seldom had a head cold that was so compartmentalised.

For the next four days I felt miserable. I wandered around the house scavenging any medication that looked useful.
Vitamin C.
The symptoms went away but they always came back.

I was plunged into despondency. I felt there was no way I could summon up enough energy to get through each day.

The worrying part was that I was halfway through the annual Novel Writing Month and had undertaken to write 1700 words a day -- every day. Up till then I'd been right on schedule, but now I went 36 hours without typing a word.

There may be things you can still do with a heavy head cold, but writing fiction doesn't seem to be one of them.

And as students of Murphy's Law would know, this happened on the least convenient day of the week. I had to get up early because my sister Julie was driving our older sister Pauline to the eye clinic for a cataract operation. And I had an appointment that afternoon with my endocrinologist.

My doctor wasn't terribly happy that I hadn't improved at all, but he did listen to my complaints about being in constant ill-health. He wrote a couple of extra squiggles on the form for my blood test and said to make an appointment with the Diabetes Association for a consultation. He is planning to change my medication so I need to be tutored about the warning signs of the hypo.

*Sigh* I could have done without all this, but that's the way it happens sometimes.

It could have been worse. By Saturday night I had just about shaken off the symptoms without picking up any new ones. I'd even managed to just about catch up with my NaNoWriMo writing project, though it wasn't easy.

My sister's cataract operation went off without a hitch. That was good.

It was just a shame that in the middle of my ill-health I had to go to the office on Thursday afternoon. I felt so dreadful that I had to exert all my willpower to just get through my work.

My boss discovered after about an hour that he had his jumper on backwards. He asked if I'd noticed it and I was at a loss for what to say. It was difficult to explain that if I had noticed it, it was so low down on my list of priorities that my mind (running on emergency power) never got round to processing the information.

Surely the rest of November must be better!