I’m writing a novel. Ok, I’m not ACTUALLY writing a novel but I’m thinking about it real hard. While I continue to plow through NaNoPoMo, a couple of friends of mine are doing a similar one month challenge called NaNoWriMo for the month of November. So basically I figured I have one year to think on it real hard and see what falls out of my rattling head come next November.
I actually BEGAN a novel about a year and a half ago after attending a writer’s conference I love called the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mi. I go every two years with my immensely talented writer friend, Karen. Karen is one of these writers who makes writing looking effortless. I love that Karen…she is a real gem. The fact that she’ll sit in a car with me for three or four hours at a stretch whilst driving from Chicago to Grand Rapids is enough to make her OK in my book, but I digress.
I started this book after hearing one of my favorite poets speak. I do not think it was anything that Scott Cairns actually SAID that brought it to my mind. Perhaps it was something in the way he read his work that stirred this thought in my head. The thought was this, “think about what you fear most. write about what you fear most. know about your fear and release it.”
I began to write what I believe might have amounted to one of the most depressing pieces of fiction probably ever written. (I’m not being melodramatic, ask the friends who loved me enough to read it, ack.) I wrote about a woman who loses everything she treasures. I wrote about a woman who loses her husband and children in a car crash and the aftermath of this. As she works through that loss she explores also the connected feelings of her losses in her family of origin. She explores too, her strengths and that of the women in her family. It could be quite good actually. The big problem with the manuscript as it is, however is not the depressing nature of it, it is the fact that I attempted to write it in First Person. Having just heard Marilyn Robinson speak and having just read and LOVED Gilead I admit I was inspired.
Truth be told, I’m nowhere near the writer that Marilyn Robinson is (as evidenced by my dangling participle…right there…) Add to this the fact that writing in First Person is REALLY hard to pull off. It was amazing when Marilyn Robinson did it, it was downright annoying when I did it. It’s like trying to listen to Kelly Clarkson sing “Respect.” She has a very nice voice and powerful in it’s own right but come on, no one…I mean, NO ONE can sing after Aretha. Close the store and go on home…it’s been done and better.
This leaves me 12 months to think hard about NaNoWriMo for next year. Will I ressurect the idea? Will I attempt to write the great American Novel along with 5000 other people? Or is it going to be more fun to try to make the internet explode instead with NaBloPoMo?
(making the internet explode really is such a satisfying thought…)