I like the way I spend my time over New Year's Eve/Day to be meaningful to me. I want it to be a reflection of my values and desires. Usually It will be with friends or family. That wasn't an option this year. So as I sat there feeling sorry for myself, I started to wonder how I could use that time in a way that meant something to me. And then I remembered that I had an unfinished draft of a short story on my laptop.
Let me say a word about my job here. I work as a projectionist at a locally-owned, independent movie theater. Projecting films is just one of the things I do as that process is largely automated. You should forget your romantic notions of sitting up in the booth waiting to change over from one reel to another. In our theater, we have a platter system. When the reels come in, our manager, Abby (hi, Abby!), assembles them into one big reel on a platter. So once I thread up the film in the projector, all I have to do is hit start, make sure everything is running fine, and then walk away. That's simplified a bit, but not much. After the films have all been started (there are three auditoriums in the theater), we employees have a bit of down time. We stock and clean, too, but we still have a lot of time to ourselves. Most folks play games, talk, eat, etc. I usually choose to write or work on homework. I'm explaining all of this so you won't think that I was getting away with something as I sat there for an hour and wrote. This happened after the last set of shows had started for the night and we had cleaned and stocked all we could before the movies let out.
So, yeah, I finished a story. My fourth of the semester. I was happy because I had originally thought I wouldn't get to finish it until after I came back from the MFA residency later this month. I was also happy because writing is one of the things I want to devote myself to this year. It felt good. And, after a month of not writing, I was happy with how easily I fell back into the process. I wrote a little more than 3,000 words in just over an hour. That might be faster than I've ever written. I think it's because I told myself that I had to finish the story before midnight rolled around, which meant I would need to finish it before the movies let out and I had my theater duties to attend to.
So, here are some updated numbers for the last of 2010:
Words written for 12/31/10: 3,080
Words total for Story D: 8,870
Which brings my word total for the semester up to 124,720. Just shy of 125k, which is just shy of 500 pages. Damn. Ah, well, maybe next semester. It's a new year, after all. Anything feels possible.