To My Dearest Older Brother

Dear Ryan,

It is perfectly okay for you to do absolutely nothing but sit on your butt all day watching TV shows on your laptop and playing video games all day and leave everyone else in the house pick up your slack. After you wrapped the five dollar presents you got everyone, just leave all the wrapping paper scraps and tape and scissors on the dining room table. Mom will clean it up for you.

Cook another frozen pizza for lunch? Sure, leave the cookie pan dirty in the sink so me or Rachel or Mom will clean it. Trash can’s overflowing? No big deal. Just leave it there; try and cram your trash in there too. I’ll take it out later. Your week to do dishes? No big deal, you’ll put  them away once this week and leave half of them on the counter because “you don’t know where they go.” I forgot that our kitchen had a bunch of secret compartments where we hide dishes and cups and mugs. You have been living in this house for 26 years and you don’t know where they are or where that dish goes? Totally believable.

Oh, and don’t mind the fact that you are 26 years old and still living with your parents. Not paying rent. Or contributing anything to my parents or doing anything that they tell you to do. But it’s okay, mom will defend you.

And you went to a private college and racked up some pretty big loans to become a middle school teacher. Then your friends told you all these awful things after you got your degree, so you decided to go back and get another one. Without even trying to get a job or see for yourself if you would like to teach. Or paying off any of your loans for your last degree. Yeah, believe everything you hear. Because everything that happened to your friends will definitely happen to you. I know, I know, you didn’t like “the politics involved” with the job. Because the government isn’t involved with any other jobs but teachers. Right.

So go to another private college to get a completely different degree, rack up some more loans for my parents to pay, and like I said, sit on your butt all day. Don’t bother to work or save any money to pay back my parents all the money you owe them. Oh wait, you don’t think you owe them anything… So go ahead, buy a super awesome $200 helicopter that you played with for about a month; oh and yeah, max out your credit card by buying a new desktop computer–when you already have a perfectly fine desktop and a laptop. So you can get “better graphics” to play your educational and mind-stimulating video games. That will get you somewhere in life.

Spend all of your money, don’t bother saving it. Saving your money is absolutely ludicrous because our parents will just keep housing you and buying you food and everything else that your little heart desires. You got the right idea. Keep living with your parents until you’re thirty when you graduate with your next degree. Because everyone loves such a hard worker who persevered through all these horrible years of not having to pay rent, electric, gas, food, college, insurance. I’d love to marry a guy that was thirty and still living with his parents.

It’s too bad I’ll be leaving for college next year. I really will miss you. I love cleaning up your crap. I love watching my parents try to figure out how to balance their checkbook and figure out a working budget because they pay everything for you. I love not being able to have car insurance because we can’t afford it because you’re twenty six and not paying for your own so I can’t get a car. But you really need your car. You have friends lining up outside the front door to hang out with you. Really, no worries. I’ll be sad to leave you to go a university three hours away where I’m trying to do something with my life. Maybe you should learn from your nine year younger little sister. Never mind, what a silly thought.

With all the love I can muster,

Becca

Reflections on NaNoWriMo

I wanted to wait a little bit before I talked about NaNoWriMo, mainly because I was so burnt out. Writing a 50,000 word+ novel in thirty days really is quite a feat, and it zapped me of most of my time and energy and… everything else.

At the beginning of the month, I felt pretty good. I felt good about my plot, my characters, etc. This continued until probably halfway through the month, when I realized that I had been a little blinded by the excitement of the whole thing, and that what I was writing was absolute crap. I probably had the worst plot ever, and my characters were about as three-dimensional as cardboard.

But that’s okay.

It would’ve been nice to have this absolutely beautiful, wonderfully, well-written piece of literature to have been produced, but it was enough that I finished. I won with 51,818 words. The whole purpose of this is to focus on quantity, not quality, and just getting that awful first draft out of the way and done. And fast.

I don’t know what exactly I’m going to be doing with this novel. Its title is Murky Waters, and I think I’ll always be proud of it, since it is the first novel I’ve ever written (and hopefully not my last as I hope to participate in many more NaNos!). It needs a ton of work, though. I’m not sure if it’s worth the time and effort to keep working on it. I’m thinking I might just give myself some space from it, since I’ve had absolutely none for the last month or so. I think I might give it one quick edit over Christmas break when I don’t have too many other obligations and I think I will leave it at that.

CreateSpace has been kind enough to offer to all winners of NaNoWriMo 2011 five free paperback copies of their book. I’m going to take up the offer (because how cool is it to see my name as the author of a book! :P) but I’m not sure if I want to share my novel with anyone. I did NaNoWriMo more for the experience, not for having a novel that I want to  make public. I know that Andrew wants to read it, but I haven’t decided past that if I’ll share it to anyone else. I’ll decide that when I’ve done a bit of editing. In a way, I just want to keep it to myself. A close little something that only I can really appreciate.

Overall, NaNoWriMo has been an awesome experience. My senior year of high school has been my busiest, and yet I still managed to write a novel in between homework, projects, clubs, sports, church, Thanksgiving, shopping, and time spent with friends and family. I guess I could say that I learned if you really want to accomplish something, you can get it done as long as you focus and prioritize. This is my second year participating, and my first year winning. The difference is I just had a lot more perseverance and determination. I really wanted to win. I look forward to next year’s NaNo since I’ve won this year, though I am a little more nervous since it will be my first year in college. But like I said, if I focus and prioritize, I can do it, even if it’s 50,000 words of garbage. 8)

Any other NaNo winners out there? Did you participate? If not, I’d suggest you try it next year! As they say, you’ve got a story just waiting to be told. :)

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