Mo news is good news

It is November, and November brings with it several different things that a man can do. He can publish a blog post every day (NaBloPoMo), he can write a novel (NaNoWriMo), and he can grow a face of hair (Movember). There are other seasonal things too – like, I hear that walnuts are in season – but those are the three major organised events, and I wonder why they all take place in November. What’s so special about November?

Obviously, the choice of month enables Movember’s clever and hilarious name, but there are two competing schools of nomenclature here – the other, more popular choice is to use medial capitals. (I heard that the novel one was originally going to be called, uh, “November”.)

Two years ago, I did the NaNoWriMo. (Obviously the “Na”, which stands not for sodium but for “National”, is silly, because participants in this apparently American project can come from any country, as I do.) You could quite verbosely summarise the wispy meat of the wafer-thin so-called “novel” that I wrote by assembling words from the clumsy alphabet-shaped shavings of pity that can be produced by scraping a rubber chicken with a potato peeler. It was a disappointment. I was a disappointment.

The idea, I think – I know – is to churn out as much as possible, in a strongly forwards direction, and with absolutely no furtive glances in the direction of stupid concerns like making something that is good and that makes sense and that maybe even of some artistic smells a bit like artistic merit. Can I pretend that I was too preoccupied with those rather noble concerns, because my priorities are really better-placed than other people’s? Probably not. And it’s no help to pretend that I didn’t guess that “No” was short for anything, because I didn’t even do “No” writing, just “Not Enough”. We chalk it down as experience, and hope for better luck next time.

I also did the NaBloPoMo that year. Since it’s less firmly tied to the month of November, I chose February, whose shortness was a helpful type of kapok wadding that saved me from damp humiliation. But still it felt like the sort of dangerous commitment that only my younger self could handle. (Some of the worst resulting blog posts got deleted, but enough others linger in the archive, and we all know that nothing is ever truly “deleted” from the internet.)

This month, there’ll be none of any of that, for those reasons. I don’t want my kidneys to explode or something. But that doesn’t rule out the one what I never tried, and so this month I have been mostly growing a moustache. I am a prig.