by Larkin Vonalt

Well, this is it then.

The last of 30 Days Notice. Not surprisingly, it was past due. It was designed to run December 1 through December 30, and here is the 5th of January. I guess I could have stopped when I got to December 30, because I didn’t promise that I would write 30 separate pieces, but somehow that felt like a threshold I had to cross.

I did write every day for thirty days. I never missed a day, even though I wasn’t always able to publish. Sometimes the pieces that mean the most to the writer are the ones that are  most elusive. In the end, I logged 45,926 words. That doesn’t count this piece (650+ words), or the 1730 words I had leftover from something I worked two days on and could never get to coalesce. The shortest piece (by design) was 100 words. The longest was the last piece: 3,584. On average, each essay was 1500 words.

I laughed while I wrote some of these pieces. I struggled to stay awake with others. Sometimes I wept, and sometimes it was worse than that. Every single day I learned something, and that was incredible.  I think some of the essays may be a little mediocre, but on the whole there’s nothing here that I’m ashamed of. Some of these are as good as it gets, at least for me.

I did discover, no big surprise, that I still have a problem with time management. I don’t know how I’m going to work that out exactly. Staying up writing until five, six, seven in the morning doesn’t work with real life. At this point, I just have to take a few days off in order to get my circadian rhythm back in order. I think that I’ve trained my husband (my dear husband) to not talk to me so much when I’m trying to work, but really, that’s not too sorely tested when I’m the only one up. I also discovered that my desk really is too tall and lifting my shoulders to type every night has made them stiff and sore.  I guess one has to suffer for one’s art. Or something. I love my desk, so I will have to find a workable solution.

If I look at this through the eyes of my toughest critic (that would be me) I think that it was a success. I have re-gained the habit of writing again, and that was an enormous hurdle. When I start the new project, I will have new challenges. I won’t be able to post each day’s efforts to Facebook. (What a Godsend that was– thank you dear friends for your wonderful support and feedback.) I won’t even be able to post it to a blog. (And many thanks to my new WordPress friends for your support and feedback– a lovely and unexpected surprise.)

Those outlets kept me honest. Richard Brautigan used to keep a calendar on which he noted, each day, how many pages he wrote. (I think it was a pages– some days it says 7 or 2 or 25, and even with his strange habits, he was writing more words than two per day.) I don’t know, I’ll figure it out.  I do think that my self-discipline and will to write are well-honed after their 30 day tune-up.

And yes, there is another blog. There won’t be new posts every day. You can find here, at Occasional Songs, with a nod to Handel along the way. The first piece there is one I wrote quite a long time ago, though I think most of you have never seen it. It’s called “A Chinese Funeral in L.A.”  I hope that you will come by there and see what’s going on from time to time. I’ll miss our daily connection over the writing, but I couldn’t sustain this pace much longer anyway.

Thank you all, again, so very much. I’m so glad we’ve had this time together, I’m so grateful to all of you.