Nanowrimo Update - The Opening / Chapter 1

November 13, 2013

A little bit ago in this post, I talked about how I was going to participate in Nanowrimo this year. I started out strong and have been trying to write consistently each week. As of right now, I'm a bit behind, but there's plenty left of the month that I feel confident in my abilities to catch-up. Right now I'm benefiting from word sprints and weekends and a good playlist. 

I wish I knew others in real life who were participating, so that we could share with each other as we went along. However, no such luck. So, I thought I might share the opening to my story here on the blog. I love getting to read other's work and sharing my own from time to time, so if you're interested to know more about what I'm writing for my Nano, here it is. I'm no 'writer,' but writing is something I love to do so constructive feedback is always appreciated. Here we go:

We were all 19, 20, 21, and 22 and by the end, we were all desperately stuck, but immensely hopeful. We regarded our lives with a sense of chaos and adventure. We surrounded ourselves with our booze and suddenly our adventures stemmed from a source of untapped greatness. However, our adventures were no more adventurous than making a late night black-out run to Taco Bell and managing not to get arrested or kill anybody in the process. 
We were stuck and numb and we grappled for things more intense and legitimate in our lives, though in actuality we wouldn't have been able to put down the bottle long enough to appreciate those sorts of things. The emotions were too intense and raw - the opportunities too menacingly scary and uncertain. Our futures were muddied and precarious, though we never really perceived them as such.

Our lives, though we regarded them as chaotic, actually had a dull routine about them. We woke up, pounding heads ripe with a hangover, clothes smelling of stale cigarettes and the taste of last night's alcohol sinfully on our breath. Our veins felt as if they were still running on the booze and foreign adrenaline, but there was nothing a hot shower and some self denial to mask the self loathing couldn't fix. We would ruminate over the details of the previous evenings events, occasionally recognizing large gaps of time that had gone missing between our first drink and the time we had managed to stumble home and put ourselves to bed on a good night. Sometimes there would only be small spots of time or events that had occurred that were hazy, as if encompassed by a fog with fuzzy outlines. It was the static and noise that consumed our minds on those mundane mornings. 
We'd pull ourselves together slowly, taking in the blankness of our faces. We were doing okay, weren't we? We had been getting along just fine, hadn't we? But even in those moments of forced self assurance there was always a moment, brief and fleeting, where our own ugliness seemed to leech out and consume our features and mind at the same time. We'd recoil and refocus, but the beast from within would have already subsided and re-submerged deep within his dwelling located somewhere unspeakable within us, elusive as ever. It was those brief flashes that kept us on edge, kept us questioning ourselves as we examined ourselves in the mirror each morning. We'd dress slowly and some of us would down the coffee necessary to get through the day. By the end, I had to add shots of Kahlua to my coffee to make it powerful enough to get through the day. I wanted my whole body to buzz and reverberate during the day the same way it did at night. I wanted that same sensation of losing myself and bettering myself all at once. Some of us would give up, sink into a familiar desperation and call in sick - taking entire days to either be productive with mindless chores or lay in bed, three covers deep, wallowing.  
We went to mindless jobs, sat in stupefying classes, or sometimes stressfully alternated between the two of them and just waited for the time to pass. We willed away the day with a characteristic indifference. The days didn't matter. Our work, both personal, professional, and academic, mattered at the most basic level. It was simple, get things done and reasonably well and all will be fine. Getting things done to save face and make money were primal instincts and by the end even that quality of primal humanity in our work began slipping.

The night time is what held the most promise for us, in the beginning and in the end. The night is when we flourished, becoming more unlike ourselves and more like ourselves all at once. We would remove the day, the 9 to 5 versions of ourselves, and put on our 'real' faces. There was no better time of day than when it was time to get gussied up and go out. There was no better time of day than slamming the door behind us after work or school and getting to cozy up to a bottle of wine, a beer, or a few celebratory shots of vodka. There was no better time than when we began to lose ourselves, one mighty sip at a time. By eleven we were out on the town and by two or three we were gone, having obliterated everything about ourselves once desirable or true - our personalities, our memories, and our cognitive function. It was a grand cycle of repetition that we found almost instant harmony with. Most nights, at least at first, weren't rip-roaring escapades devoid of memories or fun. In the beginning, the experimentation felt as ripe and reasonable as our youth. The drink felt obligatory to our humanity - to our fun. We'd laugh, bar-hop, and dance, finally feeling attractive and in sync with our bodies. We'd flirt with strangers and with each other and we'd swear up and down that we'd never felt more alive or in sync with how things were supposed to be. The drink melted away reality with such a malicious ease. It melted away the stress of being 19, 20, 21, and 22. The hangovers, initially, weren't that bad. They were evidence of a night well had, another notch on our belts of how well off and adult we were. In a strange way, the hangovers helped get us through the day. By the end, the hangover was routine and expected. The hangover was us. We were all addicted. 
We were addicted to champagne brunches on Sundays, and margarita specials at lunch, quick martini's during happy hour, and beers during the tailgate, and vodka tonics while trying to warm up to strangers at the bars. We were addicted to and equally fascinated at how we planned our social lives around drinking, at least at first. In the beginning it didn't even seem purposeful. It felt unpredicted and nonchalant, as if our lives just happened to fall into bars and brunches in the most natural sense of the way. Yes, it was all very innocent in the beginning.

By the end, there was no niceties about the way our social lives were constructed. There was no question as to whether there would be alcohol. It went without saying. By the end none of us could fathom showing up to a lunch without having had at least a few drinks to warm up, making the social contact lubricated, drunken, and easy. We couldn't imagine waking up without swelling hangovers, familiar and written off time and time again. By the end, we ceased to bother with politeness. As we descended we submerged ourselves without thinking into a world filled with insidious people and habits. We cultivated an inward and outward chaos perceived only by ourselves and by the very end, we'd stumble around bleary eyed day to day and wonder, 'Can anyone tell?' 'Does anyone notice?' 'Why doesn't anyone see it?" 

So, what did you think? Did you love it, hate it, find it utterly boring or could you relate? Do you have suggestions or inspiration? Are you participating in Nano or do you just write for fun and would like to share? Please do! Oh, and I plan on having a few more of these periodic updates throughout the rest of the month. Hooray.

Hope you're having a great day.

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