Whomever scheduled NaNoWriMo

was not a mother. Probably not a woman

at all. If you’re going to write a novel

in a month, November may be the worst

month to try it in. Sandwiched between

costume-candy frenzy and cookie-baking-

present-giving-home-decorating extravaganza

(that at least comes with a week or two

of vacation, for most of us), November is,

if not the cruelest month, the most harried.

The pressure to make memories warmer,

ideally, than those of your childhood, rises up

and smothers what is left of your brain

in recipes, lists, and anxiety that something

crucial will be forgotten; your children

will never forgive you. Forever a gaping

hole will wait in the pit of their soul where

cornbread stuffing and gravy should live.

And if you are the one who hosts the

meals, who fills the house with laughter

and arguments and togetherness, then

you are the one who has filled at least a

work-week of hours with the planning

and the shopping and the chopping

and the stewing. You don’t want thanks

exactly. You do this so you, and they,

will enjoy themselves, and if they really

thought about the labor involved, they

might fret about that instead, which would

ruin the whole endeavor. All I’m saying is,

November is not a month for novels,

unless what you’re actually saying is

mothers should just stick to poetry.