Friday, November 15, 2002


...Well, maybe.

I have just now made a decision, after reading my daily pep talks from NaNoWriMo pals and whatnot and listening to a fun interview with founder Chris Baty on NPR (a Real Audio version of which is at that site).

This month is about what my dear friend Buzzmo calls "stunt writing," and so I shall do what literally thousands of other NaNoWriMo-rons are doing tonight: writing in public.

Yup, as soon as I get this here blog addendum posted, I'm grabbing my laptop, crossing the street (my new office is right on the main drag. Oh, is it lovely!), and claiming the big table in the Hotel Wolf bar to see what I can do about catching up on my word count.

The Minister of Fun and other friends ought to be joining me shortly, which will surely add to the hilarity.

Any of you out there with nothing to do tonight ought to come on down and watch. Or contribute. The novel is about coffee, but the fuel is pure foolishness. And Jimmy's magical hot toddies (cheaper than a visit to the doctor and you feel better twice as fast!).

Bring your Carbon Bucks.

Well, last night was a two-bottle night, but those two bottles of (insert singing choir of heavenly angels here) Black Opal Shiraz, my first alcohol since falling sick with bronchitis after Halloween and my stint of "palm reading" that brought me into intimate contact with every grubby child in the valley, loosened my brain and my fingers and resulted in something like 6000 more words on that goddamn novel of mine (click on the highlighted text to go read the latest).

The Coffee Hour in Saratoga is taking on a life of its own in kind of a spooky way. I feel I have lost control of it. I originally intended it as the first ever small town political thriller, and it still could be, it still could, but it has, entirely of its own accord, veered into the realm of stupid murder mysteries. I may yet be able to steer it back into the plot originally mapped out with the help of that funkiest of all muse-type persons, the Sewer King, but at this point, I don't know.

So my word count as I write this (actually about 9 p.m. Thursday night, though I shan't be able to publish this to LIANT until Friday morning, hence my sporadic use of the past tense) is in the 14,000 range, putting me way behind where I probably "should" be were I following the curve of mathematical perfection suggested by the equations generated by taking 30 days and dividing the targeted 50,000 words by 30 days, which yields the magic number of 1667 words per day, which would dictate that I, like my smart-ass gloating walking partner, should have some 23,300 words down. But yea, my faith faltereth not; verily, I yet believe that I am enough of a hack to crank out the missing 9,000 and change to bring me up to speed and maybe even shoot me ahead of the pack this weekend.

This weekend, you see, I have but two, maybe three things to do: finish recovering from bronchitis, finish moving the chamber office (a paltry task that any dozen Greek Gods could accomplish in a mere month, surely!), and yeah, probably do some housework, since I've gotten way too paranoid about my journals and other revealing personal stuff to let a cleaning lady anywhere near Kate's Landing, leaving me but two choices: live like a pig, or pick up a sponge and push an occasional vacuum cleaner meself.

So cranking out an extra 10,000 plus my expected daily 1667 words should be no huhu at all, right?


No plot, no problem, the sages at National Novel Writing Month keep reminding me.

Well, at least I finally have a plot. Or maybe, more accurately, a plot has me.


Monday, November 11, 2002


...That one gets to witness the birth of a whole new currency, shake hands with the artist whose work adorns the bills, trumpet news of same to the world, drink a toast to its health in blue soda pop...

Such was my funky fortune Friday, as I attended the “Bucks are Out” party in Rawlins, where we celebrated, in a somewhat subdued fashion, the initiation of our own local currency, the “Carbon Buck.”

From a consumer’s point of view, Carbon Bucks spend just like “real” money (which is basically just as much a consensual fiction as what we’ve started circulating; U.S. banknotes say “In God We Trust” but what it really means is “In Greenspan We Trust.” Hey, we don’t even have to change the acronym. IGWT!). I just used a Carbon Bucks note (they come in denominations of $5 and $20) to tip my waitress at coffee, for example. As far as she’s concerned, I gave her $5 that she can spend anywhere in Carbon County; she can use it to tip someone else, to pay off a bet (but I’d bet she’s wisely betting on the Broncos over the Raiders tonight, so she’ll be collecting rather than paying), to chip in for gas money, or to buy something at any Carbon County business, whether it’s our local grocery store, the spa at the Saratoga Inn, our local Pizza Hut, Huckleberry’s (the Hep Coffee Joint in Rawlins), or the Drifter’s Inn in Baggs.

Once a business has accepted her $5 in Carbon Bucks as payment, that business can choose to keep the note in circulation by giving it out to someone else as change on a purchase or it can deposit the note in any of the three banks doing business in Carbon County: the Bank of Commerce, Rawlins National Bank, or Community First National Bank. All three banks are fully on board for this program, having participated seriously in the development of the program and the design of the bill (which, as far as the banks are concerned, is actually a check, with all appropriate magnetically printed routing numbers).

Anyone who wants to start using Carbon Bucks, can. The community-minded citizen or business who wants to do this simply has to go to one of the three participating banks and buy some Bucks, which have the same value, dollar for dollar, as U.S. currency: $100 in Carbon Bucks costs $100 U.S. bucks, in other words.

The user then shoots the Carbon Bucks into the local economy, bearing with them a message of support for said economy and for the businesses who make it go. Meanwhile, the U.S. currency with which those Carbon Bucks were bought is invested in a fund to be loaned for business growth and expansion, and promotion of Carbon County as a place to do business.

In other words, Carbon Bucks actually double the value of U.S. currency within Carbon County’s economy; for every Carbon Buck in circulation there is also a U.S. buck on deposit for use as seed money to further develop the business climate here where we all live.

And it’s all voluntary. Nobody has to use Carbon Bucks. Nobody has to accept them. Nobody has to even acknowledge they exist.

But those who do are, as they say, putting their money where their mouths are, investing directly in our economy and propagating a very public message of support for that economy with every trip to the grocery store, the gas pump, the clothing boutique, or the local bar.

As for me, I made a very public declaration a long time ago about Carbon Bucks, back during the development stages, when I issued a challenge to the director of the Rawlins/Carbon County Chamber of Commerce to take our entire salaries in Carbon Bucks (I certainly had nothing to lose by this proposition; my money and I never leave Carbon County anyway! Neither of us has time!). Said director was not present at the board meeting of the Carbon County Economic Development Corporation where I made this declaration, but I’m still prepared to back this up whenever the Rawlins chamber finds a director again.

In the meantime, I’m circulating them like mad anyway, and I hope that a few of you will, too. Even if you’re just rolling your eyes at another “feel good” program as I know a few of my dear readers are, well, isn’t it time we did something that feels good in the face of all the bad news that’s been coming our way these last few months? C’mon, give it a shot.

Humor me.