The folks at nanowrimo.org wanted some feedback on our experiences with National Novel Writing Month. Here is what I sent them:
I am 52 years old. Last year, I was a Nano rebel. I wrote a memoir about my hitch-hiking trip across the country in 1979 with my dog Hoofy. While I was writing this book, I starved myself. You see, I have anorexia nervosa. The January following last year’s Nano I was finally hospitalized for my anorexia, and again in March. It did no good. By August, I was starving myself to death and no longer wanted to live. Then, I met Frank. Frank also has anorexia, and he turned my life around. I told him about how I really wanted to do Nano again, but that I felt hopeless that I’d ever be able to do it. Frank and I began eating together. Bite by bite, I found that I no longer wanted to die. Whereas in August I was staggering around the house, barely able to stand up, by October I was walking my dog, Puzzle, longer and longer distances, sometimes for miles. So I planned out my Nano book, and wrote it. I am So Cold, and Hungry in My Soul is about a woman with anorexia nervosa. It is the saddest book I have ever written or even read. Writing this book brought back memories of last year’s Nano book, of sitting in the library, writing about hitch-hiking with Hoofy, writing while weak and starving, word after word, and then feeling so weak that I could barely walk home. It is memories like these that fueled the writing of I am So Cold, and Hungry in My Soul. But there are bits of humor in the book, too, and joy as well. Some days–not many–I just cried. I finished the book, just over 50,000 words, on November 17th. Meanwhile, Puzzle’s long walks had inspired me to try running, and with Frank’s encouragement and wisdom, I began running daily, increasing my mileage. See what my strong body can do! I am proud to say that yesterday I ran my first 5k race–ever. I am So Cold, and Hungry in My Soul is about a woman who loses everything. I wrote the book because I have gained everything.