tl;dr: Take your picture with Nellie the NaNo mouse (PDF, download, print out, cut out) doing something NaNoWriMo-related (novel planning, brainstorming, writing (in November), attending a NaNo prep session or other event) and post it with the tag #nelliethenanomouse
Once upon a time, a mouse lived within the NaNoWriMo Library of the Imagination. Her name was Nellie. She was different from other mice; she loved to read the many novels in the Library. Careful to wait till nightfall when all the people had left the Library, Nellie would creep around reading books of every sort. One night she got curious and decided to see what was in that really big book she’d never had the nerve to try to open before…
Wham! Very unexpectedly, the book fell upon her. It flattened her completely.
Fortunately, the next morning she was found by a kind librarian, Mrs. Wigglefingers, who also happened to love books. Mrs. Wigglefingers had worked in the library for so many years, no one knew how old she was. Some people thought she lived there, others thought she magically disappeared into the books at night. She greeted everyone at the door every morning with a smile and a wink and sometimes a wiggle of her finger if someone didn’t return their book on time.
This particular morning as Mrs. Wigglefingers patrolled the rows and rows of books, she noticed one lying on the floor. “I wonder how this fell off the shelf?” she said to the other books. They sat stoic in their slots, sworn to never tell what went on at night in the library although Mrs. Wigglefingers had a pretty good idea.
She bent down and picked it up. Underneath was a mouse, all flattened like a piece of paper. “Oh, you poor dear,” she said. She placed the book on a nearby shelf and carefully lifted the flat mouse, holding it by its tail, then laying it on her palm. “What shall I do with you?”
As Mrs. Wigglefingers was about to carry the flat mouse to the back of the library, it opened one eye and tried to raise itself upright. The mouse stood unsteady on its two hind feet and used its tail to help balance itself. It stared at Mrs. Wigglefingers, then flexed forward in a tiny curtsy. “Thank you,” it said. “You saved me.”
Now, Mrs. Wigglefingers was used to unusual things happening around her, after all, she was old and lived in a library full of imagination, but she’d never seen a flat mouse before, let alone one who could move or talk. She did what any self-respecting librarian would do and introduced herself.
The mouse replied, “My name is Nellie. Pleased to meet you.”
Over time Nellie and Mrs. Wigglefingers became close friends. Nellie told her of the many books she had read and enjoyed; Mrs. Wigglefingers regaled her new friend with stories of her many travels before she had settled down. Mrs. Wigglefingers could see the young mouse’s eyes shining with delight at the thought of seeing so many new and different places.
One day, Mrs. Wigglefingers had a surprise for Nellie, who had grown accustomed to her flattened state. It was a stamped envelope addressed to one of Mrs. Wigglefingers’ many librarian and writer friends.
“I am going to send you on a wondrous journey,” the old woman said with a huge grin. “Though I am too old to travel myself, the post service will aid you in traveling to visit many different places.”
Nellie clapped her flat hands together with delight. “How can I ever repay you for your kindness?”
“With the letter I’m enclosing, I am asking my friends to take pictures of you with themselves and to post them in the nanowrimo.org forums. You’ll see many lands and meet many writers and librarians–they are the best kinds of people. I know you will make lifelong friends in your journeys.” Mrs. Wigglefingers gently touched Nellie’s arm. “The joy I see you have will make me happy; and I know I will enjoy hearing your travel tales when you return.”
With that, Nellie wiggled into the envelope, letting her friend know that she was quite comfortable there. “I shall just take a long nap until I arrive,” she announced.