The Weather Bureau forecasts November coming in soon, and that means many things, one of which I mean to talk about although I'll forget it along the way to what I do talk about. It's coming up on National Novel Writing Month, the chance people have to plunge ahead writing a novel at the rate of a thousand words per day for the first three days, then about 350 words the fourth day, then some shuffling around the sixth day charged as editing as the cats look on disapprovingly, and then another fifty words put in on the nineteeth. But that isn't the only creative expression people are encouraged to try this month, after properly warming up and using talc. Among other options:
National Goods Baking Month. It'd be absurd to think that we've done everything which can be done with wheat, so why start now? By simply cooking one thing you haven't heard of anybody cooking before you can be confident that by the end of the month you'll have burned batter into every corner of your home. This will serve to motivate but not cause December Cleaning.
National Calendar Reform Month. Through recorded history societies have developed more than four different ways to organize the days and months and intercalary things and whatnot. Why not try creating new ones? Past highlights of this month have included the calendar where dates are arranged in a spiral going out from the center, or where the dates are arranged in a spiral going into the center (and don't think those two groups didn't have some mighty entertaining fights), dates arranged where sometimes a day would just be skipped so we could stay in bed, and high-concept systems where the weeks would be cut off short whenever enough of the population agreed that today felt like a Friday. Future highlights include one where we just leave all the dates scattered, letting everyone assemble their weeks in any order they like in front of the guy working the barbecue grill.
National Whiteboard Project Noting Month. Do you work someplace with whiteboards and with co-workers who feel like everyone else is doing something more interesting? Help their belief this month: each day compose a new set of rectangles enclosing exciting numbers like ``1100'' and ``2600'', connected by arrows, and tantalizing labels like ``ant train''. They'll be glad you did.
National Newspaper Writing Month. Cancelled.
National Opera Producing Month. This starts out with bold ambitions to be followed with the realization you don't actually know what goes on in an opera, except that it seems like an exciting backdrop for humorous movies and you keep hearing jokes about how people try finding a way not to attend. This seems like an odd business model for the opera factories, so you end up pondering that and humming the tunes from that Bugs Bunny cartoon instead. This doesn't really take the whole month, leaving time for other creative activities.
National Line Assembling Month. Somewhere around you is something that isn't done by an assembly line. So make an assembly line for it! It doesn't take anything more than a few electric motors of the kind you can get back at electric motor stores and one of those long conveyor belts you can get in workplace cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s.
National Bubble Blowing Month. Many people have gone weeks or even months without blowing bubbles, and even longer without stitching them together into long, impractical chains delighting you until they suddenly all explode and soap up your eyes. There's no excuse for going on like that, and here you'll find it isn't.
National Haiku Pedantry Month. For all of you who spend most of the year suppressing irritation at people writing English-language haikus with random numbers of syllables or poetic structures finally it's your chance to let that petty rage out. Get up on the desks, wave a stick around and shout, ``You need nature imagery!'' or ``You need a cutting word!'' Just for this month nobody will answer back they're having fun and you should stop trying to fix them. And wouldn't that be a refreshing change on all sides?
Trivia: By 1861 there had been 11,364 miles of submarine telegraph cables laid. About three thousand of those miles were still functional. Source: A Thread Across The Ocean: The Heroic Story Of The Transatlantic Cable, John Steele Gordon.
Currently Reading: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, Dee Brown.