Justin Tadlock

Election day and writing

Decorative solid blue image.

Today is election day in the U.S. I get to take my 19-year-old sister to vote for the first time. My faith in humanity and fellow countrymen makes me believe that our system will work. Checks and balances. That’s the intention of our three branches of government. In reality, the true check, the true balance, is the people.

As an Alabamian, I must come back down to reality. I have little hope that we’ll be anything but status quo. While there’s beauty in a place that’s holding on with all it’s got to remain unchanged, there’s a great sadness when underneath it all, so many must live with the boot of their own people firmly pressed to their necks.

I returned home several years ago to “get back in touch with my roots” and become a better writer. That means understanding the politics of this place. Maybe some of that knowledge will work its way into my novel. Maybe not. While I haven’t written much over the past few years, I have gained a greater understanding of the injustices that exist here that I wasn’t able to comprehend as a schoolkid. Those things stick with you. And, I should be doing more to make real changes. Perhaps one path toward that is to use whatever skills I may possess as a writer to shine a light on injustices in a mostly-forgotten place in the Deep South.

Today, I’ll vote.

Then, I’ll return home to my regular work, writing code and tutorials. I’ll spend some time working on my novel entry for the 2018 National Novel Writing Month. After 5 days, I’m up to 7,875 words of my 50,000-word goal. That’s about 1,575 words/day, which is a bit shy of my 1,667-word target.

I have a good excuse for being a few words behind. I only managed a bit over 700 on Saturday when I was practically on my deathbed. Through all of Friday night, I was up with stomach issues, hunkered over the toilet about once every hour. I’m not sure if it was some virus or something bad I ate, but it was the type of thing to make anyone come face to face with their own mortality. The human body can be wrecked in a matter of hours. Going from thinking you’re a healthy young man with the whole world in front of you to wishing for some temporary relief from it all is nothing to scoff at.

With no sleep or fuel in my body, Saturday was rough. But, I managed. I slowly reintroduced liquid and some solid food into my diet. I pulled an afternoon nap. Then, I used what energy I had to push through those 700+ words.

Frankly, I’m determined to finish NaNoWriMo this year. Deathbed or not, I was going to write some words. If nothing more than some scribblings on my notepad, pen would be put to paper.

I’m still weakened, but most of my strength has returned. My appetite is not what it was a few days ago, which may not be such a bad thing. I can afford to shed a few pounds.

I’m looking forward to finding out where my novel’s story goes. Maybe politics ends up playing some role. Maybe the events of today will shape how I view the world, and in turn, shape the stories that I tell.