NaNoWriMo Write-In | Town Center Books, Collegeville, PA | 20 November 2022

Although I won NaNoWriMo at 50,000 words, I decided to finish out the month of November. I’m at 63,882 words now and I’m glad I attended the write-in yesterday.

On 20 November 2022, I attended a NaNoWriMo write-in through the Montgomery County Writing Group. It was held at Town Center Books. I felt welcomed within the group. There were eight writers in attendance and the write-in was fun. The writing exercises we did involved playing cards. Each round, we timed the card we picked by 10. That’s how many words we had to write.

Let me share with you what I wrote yesterday:

After I left the apartment, I went back to the hotel. I walked back and the rain dissipated. The skies were still gray and I did look like a drowned rat still, but when I saw the sign “Welcome to Roseville” I had to take a selfie in front of the sign. Scrapbooking purposes, even if I looked gross.

When I got back to the hotel, I took a shower. I decided to go to the Detroit Zoo and as I dried off, I logged onto my laptop and looked at the directions. The Zoo was in Royal Oak and I had to catch the bus elsewhere. I needed a haircut and I Googled the closest one. Fortunately, the closest barbershop was near the bus stop of the bus I needed to catch.

The lady who trimmed my hair did an okay job, but she didn’t wash my hair beforehand. Just a spray bottle and blunt cut, half an inch. It took her all of fifteen minutes to do my hair. I was easy peasy lemon squeezy. I waited for the SMART bus and I sat down under the bus stop sign. Roseville looked run down and desolate in this part, it was matching how I felt. Truly, how I’ve felt for these past six months.

I arrived at the Detroit Zoo 45 minutes later and it reminded me of the Philadelphia Zoo. Since this was my last visit before I headed home—my train left at 8pm—I rode the train around the Zoo, took photographs of myself and the scenery as I passed by. Once off the train, I found a carousel and had to ride. I was the only one riding and I took a photograph of myself in the mirror.

I stayed until the Zoo closed and I called a cab to take me to Socratea. Socratea was in Downtown Detroit and I knew it would be closer to the Amtrak station. Socratea just opened and the shop smelled brand new. Since this was four years before my Celiac diagnosis, I ordered a blueberry scone along with oolong tea. Both were soothing to the soul. I asked the female owner if she was hiring. I told her that I was planning to move to Detroit and I was looking for a job. Socratea wasn’t hiring yet, but she took my name and my number; she’d call me once they were hiring again.

I knew that the blueberry scone and tea wasn’t enough to hold me through my journey back to Philadelphia. Socratea was located next to a vegan restaurant, I decided to go there. I ordered baba ganouj and a locally brewed beer. It filled my belly.

I had a cab pick me up. I didn’t want to walk around Detroit as the sun was beginning to set. I arrived at the Amtrak station a half an hour before my bus was scheduled to depart. The beer made me feel a little drunk and I still felt drunk by the time I boarded the bus. I put on my iPod and that 90 minutes feel like a blur to me. I was in Cleveland in no time at all. Fortunately, there wasn’t much of a wait like my journey en route to Detroit; the train to Pittsburgh was at the station fifteen minutes later.

When I boarded the Amtrak train, I found a seat next to the window. I was exhausted and I loved watching Cleveland pass me by. The city skyline looked gorgeous at night and I thought about asking Christina to show give me a tour—maybe we could take a girls’ trip once I moved. A young man sat down next to me and we started chatting. He had his cat with him—he was heading to Pittsburgh, he was moving in with his girlfriend. He couldn’t wait to get out of Ohio, although he thought that they’d eventually move out of Pittsburgh too. After all, Pittsburgh is considered to be part of the Midwest and part of the Rust Belt.

I told him that I was hoping to move to Detroit, specifically Roseville. I blabbed on about my trauma and how I wanted a new start. I felt so unhappy in King of Prussia, even Philadelphia. I told him that moving would help me feel better. We both fell asleep until the announcement a few hours later that we were in Pittsburgh. “Thank you for riding Amtrak.” We gathered our belongings, wished each other well and went on our merry ways.

I made it back home on Friday morning, around 10:30, 11. I was happy to be home surprisingly. I told my parents about the trip after I unpacked. I felt hopeful, but that hopeful feeling wouldn’t last very long.

I deactivated my personal Facebook in June 2014 because of negativity. Social media tends to make me depressed, but I love Instagram and Twitter to an extent; I didn’t want to give up Instagram because I love photography and it’s not the platform to bully like Facebook is. I want to make my Instagram as positive as possible. Facebook was also eating up my time and it was becoming a platform that I would just air my unhappiness. I’m going to work on this since I am a people pleaser to the extreme. I wouldn’t stop helping people, but I would cut back and look at what their true motivations are.

I’m ashamed to admit this as I look at this in hindsight, but this goes to show my anger of that time period. My cousin Matthew graduated from Upper Merion Area High School on 10 June 2014. Six years to the day after I graduated from Upper Merion Area High School. Anyway, I was a short fuse. That night a family accused my uncle of doing something. The events are hazy, as I was too much in my anger. This woman was the match that set my fuse off. I became belligerent, got into her face, started screaming at her, and threatened her. I’m grateful that she didn’t press charges and my family had to subdue me. Everyone was shocked; the once sweet and pleasant Jess was now an angry and mean Jess.

After NaNoWriMo ends on 30 November 2022, I’m going to take a break for a few months. I hope to finish my memoir, but I know I will add more eventually. I’ll also proofread the manuscript after the three month break. I eventually want to query “The Comeback” and I want to get “The Comeback” legitly published.

Published by


Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “NaNoWriMo Write-In | Town Center Books, Collegeville, PA | 20 November 2022”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Congratulations on your success with NaNoWriMo, dear friend! Having read this example of your writing, I can tell that you are prolific. Memories and dreams turn into words that turn into sentences and paragraphs. You seem to have no problem with writer’s block, even under the pressure of time constraints imposed by the Challenge. You have an interesting and compelling life story to tell, and again I must say that I admire you for turning setbacks and traumas into triumphs by means of your communication skills and your eagerness to be of help to others.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, dear friend JM!


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