Deb (at left) and Karina are NaNoWriMo municipal reps

COLUMN: Wallowing in the written word

For the last few years we’ve hosted NaNoWriMo each November.

The Nelson Library is all about readers — there’s no question there. But to have books, you have to have writers, and your library supports writers in myriad ways.

For the last few years we’ve hosted NaNoWriMo each November.

What’s a NaNoWriMo you ask? Although it sounds a little like a heavy-footed horned and wallowing beast, NaNoWriMo in fact stands for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge: 50,000 words in 30 days.

As someone who has personally wallowed with the heavy-footed horned beast known as the writerly muse, I can say that this is no small challenge.

But there’s something to be said for pushing through the quagmires of distraction: research, other work, a new season of Mad Men or the sudden, irresistible urge to clean under the kitchen sink. If there’s just no time to do any of that stuff, writing will happen.

NaNoWriMo happens all over the world. There are discussion forums, tips, and other distractions right on the NaNoWriMo site!

And there are write-ins, right in your library on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 – 8 p.m. Writing is a solitary occupation, and any time we can get together (and goad one another along) is good.

This year, I’ve signed up; I have my NaNoWriMo fun pack, and I’m already getting pep talks from regional reps Karina and Deb.

Unless I become stuck in some quagmire I’ll be there, pounding out the words. I won’t promise they’ll all be good words, but words they will be.

Once writers write their books, they sometimes get published. And then, there’s your library again.

On Thursday, November 27 at 7 p.m. we’ll help launch Selkirks Spectacular, a photographic book showcasing more than 300 images that celebrates the international Selkirk Loop and draws from both sides of the border for talent.

Selkirks Spectacular is published by Keokee Books in Sandpoint, Idaho with photographs by US photographers Tim Cady and Jerry Pavia and words by our own Ross Klatte.

Ross’ chapters on the history, geology, communities, natural features, attractions, flora and fauna of the region are an entertaining, thoughtful, and informative look at all aspects of the region we love. The publisher is coming up for the launch, which will include a slideshow.

Avi Silberstein is a prime example of getting that book out despite distractions, and he has a few: Avi is the chief librarian and Grand Forks Public Library, so he’s a little busy. Avi reads from novel Human Solutions, published by Skyhorse Publishing, on Tuesday, December 2 at 7 p.m.

Human Solutions is set in Chile in 1988. The Human Solutions team (a detective, a psychologist, and an actor) work together to engineer social situations to help their clients achieve their goals, whether that’s a love affair or a business deal.

When one case takes them to a cult run by an ex-Nazi with torturous ties to the Pinochet dictatorship, things get interesting—and scary. This reading is sure to be interesting.

NaNoWriMo knows — as does any writer who makes it to “the end” — that you can’t bash out a finished novel in 30 days. You write, revise, research, write, clean under the sink, edit, write, watch just one (promise!) episode of Mad Men, write, revise, and occasionally tear your hair out.

There have been times I would rather do my taxes rather than face a novel-in-progress.

But writers must write, and readers must read, and in between — there are libraries. Celebrating readers, writers, and all manner of strange horned things so we may wallow together in a rich and magical literary world.


­— Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to

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