October 10th, 2006


NaNoWriMo Geeks & The Social Misfit Who Loves Them

What, you don't know what NaNoWriMo means? What are you, some kinda idiot? I've only been TALKING about this for ... EVER now! National Novel Writing Month. From now on, it's NaNoWriMo (pronounce nah-no-ree-mo), and if you don't like it, go suck an egg!

I'm struggling to find the words. First of all, we were supposed to meet at Bryant Park, which is in Mid-Town Manhattan. It's a park, but all over they have little metal green tables and fold-out chairs. Part of the park has what's known as the "Reading Room." It's not a room, just an open space with the same tables and chairs. The only difference is it's set off to the side, and there are three or four racks of books just sitting out there in the open for people to read. Every night, around 6pm or so, someone who works for the park comes around and covers the books and locks 'em up for the night. And you get WiFi there. Odd. Anyway, this was to be our first meeting spot for all of the NaNoWriMo's in the greater NYC area (they have special localized meeting places for the respective boroughs).

I got there at about 4:30 (it was intended to last from 5pm to 8pm) and saw a group of about 10-12 people clustered around three tables pushed together. They were drinking wine and it looked like they'd been there for a while. I worried that even though I'd gotten there early, these renegade regulars had been there since 2 or something. I thought about going up and asking them if they were my group, but I figured I'd wait until at least 5pm and see if anyone else showed up. I mean, these people couldn't be THAT prompt! Then, at 5pm, they all got up and left, so I knew they weren't it.

I took a seat again and sat there with a helpless, "I'm looking for people who I've never met before" face. As opposed to my usual helpless, "I have no business being around people, where's my pitcher of Blue Moon?" face. Thankfully, not long after, Group Leader Erin showed up. I wouldn't be alone. Soon after, Karen and Joan arrived. Real sausagefest, I know.

Erin has done this thing for five years counting 2006, finishing just the odd years (so, on pace, she's doomed to fail this year). Karen's a newb and Joan did it last year apparently. Erin's what you'd euphemistically call a "Plus-Sized Girl" and bluntly call a "Porker." She's really nice though, so we'll just forget I said that and never divulge my LiveJournal link to any of the NaNoWriMo's. Joan's ... ethnic, with braces. I'd venture to say Latino of some sorts, but she's a low-talker and sat at the opposite end of the tables, so I had nary a grasp of dialect. Karen was, I must say, quite attractive. So, I'm assuming she's dating someone seriously, since that tends to be the case with people such as this.

It was just the four of us for a bit, then Hazel showed up. OK, so she's only done NaNoWriMo one year before this one, but she's only 17 and going to some REALLY smartypants high school in Brooklyn. I was pretty humbled when I found this out. She works on a literary journal in her school, writes for some independent magazine in the city, and will be going to college in England. Did I mention she's only 17 and has already written a novel? Well, more than one, actually, but one for NaNoWriMo last year. She's totally WEIRD, though! She sits there, silently watching everyone talk and you think she's just really shy. Then, when confronted with a topic of interest, she starts nervously blurting out conversation like she's fending off a house-fire with a garden hose.

Then, someone named Dee (or Dee-Dee, I'm not quite sure) showed up. Black, 32 years old, wearing some sort of black bandana-type thing on her head. I'm thinking, "Okay, a sista! This should be really interesting now!" Yeah, turns out she's skilled in the art of Dungeons & Dragons, writes fantasy books about yodelling mermaids, not to mention a big fan of Roll-Playing Games, random video games, you name it. I told you, GEEKS. Geeks Galore! Nevertheless, she's very cool too.

In fact, all of these people are pretty fun-loving it seems. At our peak, we had maybe 12 or 13 there at the park tonight. The night ended with me and a few others at McDonalds watching a Nazi-bashing Donald Duck cartoon on Hazel's Mac and talking about Adult Swim cartoons. Without a TV, you can say I felt a little out-of-place, but whatever.

Apparently, these people meet every Monday (except for next Monday for some reason). And, they have Write-In's every Sunday afternoon. I'll have to check my Seahawks schedule, but I don't THINK I'll be able to make many of those. Just a hunch. These would be in November, mind you, when NaNoWriMo officially starts. Still, I'll be there ready and willing at the big Kick-Off party on Monday, October 30th.
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