Good Juju June, or The time my mother moved my birthday.

True Story. My birthday is in December, but both my sisters have summer birthdays. My mom felt really bad about this, that my sisters celebrated so close together, and I waited so long for mine, only to get shafted because it was so close to Christmas. It never really bothered me, because I was pretty jazzed that I got presents for myself, and then six days later got even more presents for the bearded guy’s big day. But my mom really worried about it.

So one year my mom decided that I would celebrate my birthday in June, exactly six months before my real birthday. There were presents, a birthday party (I think only my sisters came because it sounded too weird to invite other kids to), and we even went to a water park. I live in Arizona where it’s hot on a good day, but in the summer it’s a preview of what the entire Earth will feel like when the sun starts expanding and scorching us. So after a long day at the water park for my half-birthday, I got into the car, and lay across the backseat to try and reach one of my presents which had fallen to the ground.

It was a bouquet of paper and plastic flowers. I had gotten a Funskool Fantastic Flowers kit for my not real birthday, and had insisted on bringing my new art project with me to the water park. Because if there’s one thing a kid needs at a water park, it’s paper products. Anyway, I went to grab it, and my chest came into contact with the metal buckle of the seatbelt that had been sitting in the sun all day. The result was a burn in the shape of the seatbelt that went through a few layers of skin.

I wasn’t allowed to go swimming for the rest of the summer. Summer in Arizona is practically up to October, sometimes longer. We were only two months in. I had to rub oil on my burn and sit cantankerously under an umbrella while my sisters swam and dove to retrieve those neon rings. (Am I the only one who finds this to be a water version of fetch?) It was terrible. My mom felt so bad that when my real birthday came around, she let me celebrate, even though I had technically already had one. She never tried to move my birthday again, although she continues to lament I’m a December baby.

The point is, that even though I think my mom is kind of nuts and I will never celebrate my birthday at a water park again, she did kind of have a point. Sometimes things aren’t convenient, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do them, on your own time. For me, this is NaNoWriMo. I’ve never done it, but always wanted to. November is an insane month though. You’re just getting over Halloween, which for me is a pretty big deal. (The pumpkin food alone is pretty time consuming, and I spend a good amount of time deciding what costumes my cats will wear.) There’s coordinating and cooking and what seems like an endless amount of Thanksgiving potlucks to go to. And when the flurry of feasting is over, it’s suddenly December and how the hell did I not buy gifts yet?

I don’t stop writing during the holidays, but my hat’s off to the people who set out with the goal of writing 2500 words a day. I’m probably lucky if I walk out with that kind of word count for the entire month of November. But every year when I see it starting, and I know it’s happening, a part of me wants to attempt it. I want to have a goal every day and know that I pushed myself to accomplish it.

So I did what any normal person does and I made up my own! I call it Good Juju June. It’s not as ambitious as NaNoWriMo, I only set myself a 1,000 word count goal per day. (I had roughly a hundred pages of a story already written, so I wasn’t starting from scratch.) But it’s a time when I need a distraction to take my mind of querying, and when I really want to push myself to complete this draft so that I can hopefully spend the winter revising and editing, and have a polished manuscript to query in the spring.

So far I’ve stuck to it, and I’m hoping that I’ll have at least 30,000 new words by the end of the month. Who knows? Maybe I’ll keep it up for Pretty High Word Count July. (I’m going to work on that name. That name is not good.)


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