Taking a key from a lyric The Head and the Heart‘s song Coeur D’Alene, I’m finally taking the plunge and doing this. After hearing some kids talk about it after the Film Festival last year, I, Hanna E Soltys will make the grand attempt to turn out 50,000 words this November as part of the annual National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as the kids call it.
I thought, sure 50,000 words? No problem! That breaks down to less than 2k words every day. And after actually telling people I was doing this, did it only dawn on me that holy crap, that’s a lot of words. That’s a ton of words. And this is a short month. And Jayhawk basketball season starts. And there’s Thanksgiving.
But I’m confident, I’ll be able to do this. After doing some serious reading the past month, I have just one more book to read to get to my goal. Which means there’s one thing out of the way. And the weather in Chicago promises to turn at any. So what better way to spend the days indoors than with some tea, great tunes (courtesy of THATH and Explosions in the Sky) and thousands upon thousands of words? I can handle that.
This challenge is about quantity over quality, which is something I have a hard time dealing with. I’m someone who likes to write and edit. Or edit while writing. I see this solely as an exercise feat. A massive one.
Aside from this challenge, I’ll also be running my first sanctioned running event since the age of 12 and the Point Eagles Cross Country days. Maggie and I decided this past week that after living with arthritis for five years, it’s time to celebrate my journey with the disease and participate in the 5K Jingle Run for the Arthritis Foundation. 5K isn’t much. But it’s a lot when it takes a while to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve got co-werkers and friends and dear loved ones running alongside me and encouraging me every step of the way as I go from brisk walker to runner again.
I blame the book My Year With Eleanor where author Noelle took on a challenge every day for a year.
Whatever have I got myself into? It doesn’t matter. Because my mind’s made up, I’m doin’ this, I’m doin’ this with you.
When I see someone come running out of an alley disheveled and grasping their pockets, I will
assume think know they are up to something mischievous and most likely illegal. I also will grab my pockets as a form of protection.
This past weekend brought the joyous occasion of the Chicago Marathon. And with it, our building was practically cut off from civilization as the race runs right on the street we cross every day to reach humanity and civilization from the 7 a.m. hour to the 4:30 p.m. hour. While this wouldn’t have been a problem, I had to head down the Film Fest in the city. Buses were out of the question, so I had to walk to the train crossing the Marathon path twice.
The first crossing wasn’t so bad. I made friends with some girls who worked at Duffy’s that needed to cross the street to make it to work. We waited for the gap and gingerly Froggered our way over the other side of Sheridan. I anticipated a lot worse, but we made it to the other side unscathed and more importantly, without disrupting a racer. It is also at this time it dawns on me that I have to cross again at Clark, where the people cattle will be a lot thicker and unruly.
I search frantically for another member of the crowd who needs to cross. Success. Amy needed to cross to get to Jamba Juice (the things we do for that deliciousness). So we walked down to Broadway/Surf to cross, thinking we have a lot of space that isn’t barricaded. We start running diagonal and miss the barricade opening. We turn around to see the mass running straight at us. It was like we were Simba, frantically searching for Mufasa to come and rescue us.
With nothing else to do, we started the unthinkable. RUNNING.
And we thought okay, we’ll just run until there’s another opening in the barricades. But there wasn’t one until we reached Wrightwood. Now granted, the distance is not all that far. But when you’re carrying a bag, wearing jeans and actually running in a marathon, you want this running jaunt to end immediately. People are cheering, “Go runners!” and “Yay runners.” While Amy, dressed in workout gear, and I, dressed in jeans and Film Fest shirt, come lollygagging down the path. At least it was free advertising for the Fest right?
Finally we found an opening and laughed our way, while fighting the massive crowd, back to Diversey. Quite the way to spend the 9 o’clock hour on a Sunday. And props to the rest of the runners who finished the other 99.5% of the race that I didn’t.