Nanowrimo Eve, Meh

November ushers in the month long marathon writing session for tens of thousands of writers.  Tomorrow they will sit down with a blank page and end the month with a fifty- thousand-word novel.  A noble idea.  I hate it.

Don’t get me wrong.  Anything that promotes writing, I support.  The problem with the National Novel Writing Month is that it promotes bad writing.  I can’t tell you how many bloggers or podcasters who give tips to NNWM participants that they would never give to anyone else.  I’ve heard them say, ‘if you are behind in your word count, give longer descriptions of settings,’ or ‘don’t worry about plotting, just keep moving forward’.  And other asinine advice.

I’ve never participated in the ‘contest’ and I’m never going to try.  I’m a slow, methodical writer.  If I write five thousand words a month, it’s a good month.  I also don’t like what it does to my writing groups.  Last year if shut one board down for months.

Don’t tell me someone can write a good novel in four weeks.  Maybe a decent outline of a novel, but not the body of a novel.  Of course one can write a formulaic tale filled with clichés and one dimensional characters.  If that is what you yearn for, then go ahead.

Writing novels is like gardening.  Lots of hard work, plenty of cutting and weeding, and most importantly… time.


Bad Jerky


A friend gave me about five pounds of venison after his family came through our garden and gleaned some tomatoes, peppers and cukes.  His three girls cleaned the blueberries right off the bushes and everyone had a great time.  Now, the meat had been in his freezer for nearly a year and the expiration date was looming.  Not having the resources to do much with it, he gave the meat to me and I immediately made plans for some stew and jerky.

The stew, made with a package of beef stew mix and forty minutes in the pressure cooker came out great.  Not the best stew in the world, but it was easy to make and quite filling.  The jerky was another story.

I checked out recipes and videos on the best way to make it and I tried to duplicate them but the first batch came out like charcoal briquettes.  Dry, brittle, charred bits of meat that belong in a slasher film.  Sure I ate a few pieces, and with barbeque sauce I could choke down a few more but I knew the batch was bad.  A second try yielded better results and the third one came darned close to the kind you get from the guy at work who goes hunting.

When I started cooking it I suspected the first batch would be bad.  I also knew that the following ones would get better.  I now have the confident that the next hunk of deer I get can be transformed into half-decent jerky.

When I begin to write a story, I always think the first version is going to be perfect.  When I post it to my alpha readers I expect praises and adulation for my genius.  They tell me the truth (and thank God they tell me the truth) I see my flaws and I can fix them.  The second draft is always better than the first and the third one is palatable for public consumption.

Real writers are rewriters.  We take an idea, a scene and we tell it three different ways until it works, until it is an image in the readers mind.  Readers no longer see words on paper but fall into the page and see the story like a movie.  That is when we know the recipe is right.  But sometimes that means starting out with bad jerky.

The Cure for Snoring

I am a deep sleeper and a heavy snorer, much to my wife’s chagrin.  As I get older the snoring gets louder.  My wife has tried earplugs, noise reducing headphones, over-the-counter sleeping aids and nothing drowns out my buzz saw snores.  Many mornings I awoke to find my wife sleeping in the sofa.  One the other side, I’ve done mouthwashes, nose sprays and nose strips only to find the strips on the sheets and the sprays ineffective.

The only thing that worked for me was Breathe Right Snore Relief Throat Spray.  I started using it a few years back with great results. Then they pulled it off the market.  Not enough interest, someone said.  So now when you look for anti-snore products at the drugstore, the only thing you’ll find are the nose strips.

I could still get the Snore Relief spray on Amazon and Ebay, but as the supply dwindled, the price skyrocketed.  Originally I could buy it for $8 a 20z bottle, now that same product goes for $228.00 for a double pack.  Soon the supply will be gone, or priced out of my range.  $228.00 is out of my range now but I found a solution.

Someone on Amazon wrote out the formula for the spray.  I thought it was some new age/homeopathic nonsense.  But when I found the list of ingredients from the spray matched the ingredients in the recipe, I ordered the oils and whatnot and tried it out.

Here is the recipe:

Buy a 2oz spray bottle from your local drugstore

Listerine: 1.3 oz

Vegetable Glycerin: .67oz

or 2/3 listerine and 1/3 glycerin. a little less to make room for the 15 drops.  I took the bottle I bought, filled it with water and poured it out in 5 tablespoons.  So three tablespoons of listerine and one and a half tablespoons of glycerin worked for me.

Wintergreen Oil: 6 drops

Peppermint Oil: 3 drops

Clove Oil: 4 drops

Anise Oil: 2 drops

Put all this in the 2 oz bottle, shake and spray 3-6 times in the back of the throat.

The first time I tried it, my throat tingled.  The taste was a bit bitter but not unpleasant.

The old Snore Relief spray would last me 5-6 hours, this stuff lasts 6-7 hours.  I bought everything on Amazon for less than 50 dollars (the clove oil still haven’t arrived and the spray works fine for me) and I have enough to last me for years if not decades.

Many thanks to C. Morris who put this up on Amazon.  My throat thanks you, my wallet thanks you and my wife thanks you.

Anyone suffering from snoring or a snoring spouse, I urge you to share this with them.  It also makes a great breath spray and sore throat relief.