What's in a Fraction?

Today, I was having brunch with my family when I came to the realization that three of us had berry lemonade drinks standing next to each other. One of them had been further away, but my niece's wild gesticulations risked the cup being hurled onto someone's lap. When all three were in a row, I decided they were an ensemble. The one that was about two-thirds full, I decided, called itself One-Third because “that's how empty it is.”


You may have to have been there. Still, it's not uncommon for people to perceive as empty-to-some-extent anything that isn't 100% full. It's a key element in clinical depression—negative apperception, we call it. It can be very sad to watch someone you love engaging in it.

Anyway, I've taken a bit of a break from NaNoWriMo. Not really a break so much as a pause. I have a lot of inspiration, but my self-critic is strong. When I stopped writing things that absolutely had to be written, I had difficulty continuing to write this new novel: a satire about contemporary American culture. I keep watching my word count slip away from me as the days in November pass me by unencumbered.

Today, I hit 10,000 words. That's one-fifth of the way to the NaNoWriMo 50k word goal. Four-fifths empty, if I let myself think that way. One-Third doesn't care that he's practically full. Shouldn't I be more concerned that I'm mostly empty.

Apperception goes both ways, and it requires that raw data be parsed by a conscious self. I can't choose my perceptions, but I can absolutely impact my apperceptions (with practice and effort). So, to keep myself from giving up, I'm telling myself tonight that I am one-fifth full. The proportion by which I have not reached my goal is only important insofar as I focus on it more than I do the proportion by which I have reached my goal.

I'm trying to be positive these days. It's hard, but it's practice I need.