If you’ve been following the NaNo posts right here on the blog you may already know the name Janey. You might remember her as being the main character of the idea I rejected for my project. But Janey wasn’t going away that easily. She’s perfectly aware that NaNo doesn’t start until November 1. That meant she had a few days to try and get her ideas into my idea journal.
This morning I sat down to write and couldn’t ignore her. The image of a morning with Janey was just right there in the front of my brain and it wasn’t letting go. So, like the good little writer I am, I listened to the character. I wrote a little scene. This is a lot like the scene that popped into the outline of her story at Chapter 1.
Does this mean I’m changing stories?
No. I’m sticking with the hitman story for a lot of reasons. The most important reason is that the outline for that one is more flushed out and makes more sense in my head. Plus, trust me, that character still speaks to me as well. Actually, a few of the characters for that story do. That makes it a bit easier to tackle right now.
But my process has always been to jot what I’m thinking about when I think about it. That’s how the idea journal got so large in the first place. So, this will sit there until I’m ready to wrap my head around what comes next in Janey’s story.
For now, here’s Janey. Enjoy.
“Good morning, people who somehow found this in the future. I’m your host, Janey. I’m talking to you today, via the amazing cellphone my adoptive parents gave me for my twelfth birthday in an attempt to lessen the blow of the “hey, you’re adopted” punch. I don’t know who you are or why you’re watching this, but welcome to my life.
This is my exciting Algebra textbook and my probably-too-empty notebook that should correspond to all the notes we are taking in class. Spoiler, it doesn’t. On this first exciting morning you join me, I’m attempting to complete the homework assignment that is due today which I completely forgot to finish the night before. Isn’t my life exciting?”
Janey drops her head to her notebook and copies the first problem. She scrunches her nose up in concentration, trying to remember the right first step. She writes a few things down, arrives at an answer, and smiles back at the phone propped up on her desk. “It appears I may be capable of solving these equations which are ineptly named complex without any careful notes.” She leans closer to the phone. “Look out world, Math genius on the loose.”
Janey gets back to working on the problems. She solves two more and carefully boxes her answers before turning her attention back to the phone. “You know, if you ever ask me to do something with these videos, we can fast edit through all this boring video of me solving problems. I have a software that will speed up the tape here. Or, we can cut it and make B roll. You’re choice. I’m just saying this part will be rather boring at regular speed.”
Janey starts in on problem 4. She sighs and drops her pencil onto the notebook. “Houston, we have a problem,” she shouts, throwing her arms up in the air. She drops her elbows to the desk and leans back into the phone, whispering. “It’s time you know a truth about me.” She sighs. “I’m terrified of the number 13. It’s completely irrational, I know. Irrational is such a cool word, isn’t it? My favorite author used it in her social media bio and I had to look it up. It means “not logical or reasonable”. Isn’t that perfect? It accurately describes the fear I have of that number. I know the number 13 cannot hurt me. I know it is just a number, safely nestled between 12 and 14. Yet when it approaches, I feel that panicky feeling of a too fast heartbeat. I get sweaty palms. If I actually have to face the number head-on, the feeling gets worse. So,” she gestures to the paper, “the fact that I know this answer is going to be 13 is a problem.” She sits up, wipes her hands on the front of her t-shirt, and sighs. “I can force myself to deal with it or I can run from it. I have to decide if it’s worth it to face this today.” Her eyes fall on the paper. “Is this particular battle worth the fight?”
She picks up her pencil, writes a 12 underneath the problem, and draws a box around it. Then she shrugs into the camera. “Nope. It’s not.”
Janey quickly finishes the fifth and final problem on the paper, boxing that answer as well. Then she begins the process of putting everything in her backpack. “Well, that’s all for my exciting life this morning,” she says as her hands are occupied with the shuffle of papers and folders. “I promise to try and check in with you again at some point.” She stops shuffling, zips the backpack, and picks up the phone. She brings it closer to her face. “So I’ll leave you with this one thought. Tomorrow is my birthday. My,” she swallows audibly, “thirteenth birthday. Does that mean my entire year will be awful and terrifying? Discuss.”