Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm Done!

I reached my goal in NaNoWriMo. No, I didn't complete writing 50,000 words in the month of November, 2011 and I won't get a certificate for winning the challenge. I did what I set out to do, which was to complete the novel I started in NaNo2009 and NaNo2010. I reached the end of the story, and I did it before my Thanksgiving company arrived, with a few days to spare.

I will say that this time NaNoWriMo was a life-changing experience. I've never done that kind of heads-down pounding out words, most of which had something to further the plot of my story. Sometimes my characters went off in directions I had not planned for them, but they and I grew in the process. We grew so much that I changed my working title again. This one I'm not ready to reveal, but it has more grit than the first two titles I tried.

I have backed up this one, my first draft and don't intend to even look at it again until January. I have Thanksgiving and Holiday parties to get through before I'll be ready for the tearing apart and rewriting of my Nano-stuff. Wish me luck.

Healing and Freedom through these Sacred Tone Masters

Healing and Freedom through these Sacred Tone Masters by Jacqueline D. Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first met "Jacqui" on an internet forum community called Afrochat. Since I am usually one of the older people on social networking sites, my young friends (30 - 50 year-olds) start thinking of me as "Wise." Sometimes they even ask for my advice. Anyway, Jacqueline did ask for my guidance on writing this book, without telling me exactly what the book was about. I do believe she did receive some wiser guidance than I was able to give, and she came to calling this book a mystical magical memoir.

In this book she tells of a painting she was instructed to have painted of a group of women who have influenced her life, women she calls Sacred Tone Masters. She commissioned an artist to do this painting, and she set about meeting and being photographed with the women. Many of the women are authors whose work I have read, some of the women are recording artists whose music I love, others are recording artists I was not familiar with...probably due to our age difference. In the one episode that most captured my interest, Jaqui tells of how she met Octavia Butler, and came to rely on Ms Butler's phone conversations and advice for several years until her untimely passing. Jacqui was privileged to speak at Ms. Butler's funeral.

Through the power of the music and writings of these women, Jacqui felt she gained "Healing and Freedom."

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Megabus Experience

The Megabus began serving "Raleigh/Durham" a few months ago. That's "Raleigh/Durham" in quotes because, quiet as it's kept, there is no city name Raleigh/Durham or even Raleigh-Durham. Raleigh-Durham is an airport. (Excuse my annoyance.)

Anyway the stop for the Megabus around here is in Durham, at the Durham Station Transportation Center which was completed in 2009. It's the hub for Durham's DATA buses (Durham Area Transit System) not to be confused with data bus techies can stop groaning now. Raleigh's hub is the traffic jam at the corner of Martin and Fayetteville Streets.

I had the opportunity to be the Russian chauffeur Pikop Andropov ("pick up and drop off") from the Car Talk show this weekend. The Megabus website said the bus stop for Durham was at 275 Jackson Street across from the Durham Station Transportation Center. So I got my directions to take the Durham Freeway to the Duke Street exit and turn right on Jackson Street. The only problem was the Duke street exit was closed for construction. So I had my passenger enter the address in the GPS, after we took the Chapel Hill Street exit. I could see the Transportation Center in the distance, but I had no idea which side was on Jackson Street. The GPS lady seemed to have me going in circles until she finally said, "Turn right on Jackson have reached your destination."

I drove up and down that block hoping to see a big blue bus, even entered the Transportation Center where it said "Buses only," and asked a pedestrian, "Can you tell me where the Megabus picks up?" "Sorry, I don't know." I finally found a woman who told me, "You just passed it. It's that sign on the left with the Yellow Man on it."

Sure enough. The bus stop is a sign. You can see the Durham Transportation Center behind it, and the Ligett & Myers Tobacco Company on the hill above it. Just about that time the big blue bus turned the corner, and several other cars converged on that block to do their Pikop Andropov. My passenger crossed the street and boarded. Who rides the Megabus to/from Durham? I saw some of everybody. Some looked like they might be students at the local colleges, Duke, Chapel Hill, NC Central. The exchange happened quickly and the big blue bus was on its way in a short time.

I haven't ridden a public bus since my college days when Greyhound and Trailways ruled the road. The Megabus provides express service between a growing list of cities. The price to ride from Durham to Charlotte is $21 each way. That's cheaper than the cost of gas, and you can sleep through the traffic.

I went back today to pick up my passenger from his overnight visit. This time the Duke Street exit was open and a line had formed at the bus stop, waiting for their ride to Washington, DC.

The American Tobacco Historic district was behind me when I took the pictures of the bus stop.

The Megabus will be expanding to Atlanta on November 16 and will be offering free seats for travel between Nov. 16 and Dec. 16. The free seats will be available on departures to and from Atlanta and the 11 expansion cities. Use the promo code ATL10K when booking (subject to availability on select dates, routes).