NaNoWriMo Day 5: Mother-Daughter Bonding and Tikki Tikki Tembo

I’m still on-target, though I haven’t written nearly as much this weekend as I’d hoped I would.

But my excitement of my project is only growing since I decided to make it a story-within-a-story. I’ve set the frame story in 1960s Los Angeles, which was when and where my mother went to high school. My mom and I have been sending really long emails back and forth with me asking all sorts of questions about that period of her life and her responding. Much of it I already knew, as my mom and I have the kind of relationship where we share a lot. But I’m asking for more writerly details now–how was her school laid out? What was the slang? What did her friends look like?

So it’s been interesting to both learn more about her life when she wasn’t that much younger than me but I also half-remember hearing some of the same stories years ago. Many years ago we also went to visit the house my mom grew up in, so I have some hazy recollections of that as well. It’s been nice to have real-life details to pepper into the frame story, which contrasts to the dreamy, fantastical tone the inner story has so far. And if I hadn’t done this NaNoWriMo project, I would never have learned these little details of my mom’s life.

I’d also like to paste the following paragraph which epitomises the potential pitfall of NaNoWriMo. How’s this a way to falsely increase my word count?

“Hello, Tikki,” I said to my cat. He purred in response. Tikki’s full name was Tikki Tikki Tembo no Sa Rembo Harry Been Brasco Peri Pen Dohicky Pon Pon Nikki no Me No Don Barico Tiger.  We named him when we were pretty young, and we hadn’t memorised the name perfectly from one of the few stories my mother read to us at bedtime, back when she wasn’t as bad. The character in the story Tikki Tikki Tembo was actually Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo Vhari Bari Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo. I made sure to memorise that one. We called him Tikki Tavi, or Tikki Tiger.

My mother really did have a cat named Tikki Tikki Tembo et al, but this is just ridiculous. I feel like I should win some type of award for that paragraph, for the longest name in a NaNoWriMo. Though I bet someone out there has put in a longer one. Obviously, the above paragraph will probably change significantly if I ever decide to polish this thing into publication.

But today, I’ve mostly been writing about tide pools.

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