Today I managed to achieve, and surpass, my goal of writing 2,000 words. I was proud of myself until I looked at the NaNoWriMo website and saw that some people have already written 10,000 words. In one day! That’s a lot of typing.
National Novel Writing Month is a thirty day writing marathon that invites participants to write 50,000 words in thirty days, during the month of November. That’s about 1,700 words each day. Although this is actually a reasonable goal (it takes me about two hours to write that much) I have never been able to complete 50,000 words. This is the year!
My novel is called The Fortune Teller’s Daughter. You can read an excerpt below.
The Fortune Teller’s Daughter
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They come from all
over, the young and old, the superstitious and the conservative alike. They
part the old blue curtains that Meg made for me, the ones with the moons and
the stars that I thought were all wrong, but that turned out to be perfect.
They sit at my little wooden table and hold out their hand. I am a student of
hands; I know the deep groove that cuts along the palm, separating the thumb
from its sisters. Some hands have barely any lines at all, as if that person
doesn’t exist; their touch upon the world is so light. Other hands are crossed
with caverns and crevices and scars, telling not one story but many, of a life
filled with joy and adventure and tragedy.
I am sometimes
surprised by my customers. Of course, the bored housewives always come, hoping
for something more from their future. Lovers come looking for evidence that
their love has been written into the stars. Young women come hoping to find out
they will either get married or get pregnant. But also, sometimes, a working class
man with calloused hands, dirt driven into the corners by years of backbreaking
work. Yesterday I had a Baptist minister, looking for help with his
congregation. I also get the elderly, looking not to their future but to their
I think some of
them come simply because I hold their hand. I am, of course, only doing my job,
but my hands are warm and I am gentle, and I look carefully into their eyes and
try to tell them what they want to hear, that everything will turn out ok, and
that they are in control of their fate.
What moved me to
finally tell my story was a woman who came looking for her son. She asked for
the cards, and as I unwrapped them from their piece of silk and slapped them
down one at a time on the table she pulled at a loose thread on her sleeve. She
would not meet my eye. Finally, when she heard my silence as I studied the
cards she looked up and said, “I know that you can find people, because you’ve
done it before.”