Unless they untick a box on the NaNoWriMo website, participants receive regular ‘pep talk’ emails. I did not untick the box, thinking they might be interesting or at least diverting.
Today, I received a ‘pep talk’ from a guy called John Green, who apparently has written novels such as An Abundance of Katherines. He explains that he has a folder called ‘Follies’ on his laptop filled with abandoned stories, then goes on to explain that he abandoned them largely because he didn’t want to “sit down every day and spend several hours eating from a giant bowl of suck”.
From there, he throws it back at us with damning finality.
“You have likely realized that your novel is not very good, at least not yet, and that finishing it will be a hell of a lot less fun than starting it was. So quit.”
This is the halfway point of the pep talk. The remainder, in which he pulls us back from the abyss and bandies about a couple of empty statements, is considerably less compelling than what had gone before. But don’t just take my word for it – here’s a sample: “you will have learned a lot about writing and humanness and the inestimable value of tilting at windmills”.
If this pep talk moved you, and gave you pep, I’d love to hear from you. Me, I found it ill-conceived, irritating, precious and a downer. And I wrote about 100 words today. Now I’m going to stop bitching and “go spit in the face of our inevitable obsolescence and finish your @#$&ng novel.” Strung? Gurung? Eating?
As I am signed up for the Auckland, NZ forum on the website, I also received today an email from the region leader with a couple of interesting links – one funny and perceptive, the other reminding me of that Laura Miller article and how maybe she was right.
Finally, back to my little old story (which remains very little, but not in my view ‘abandoned’ or ‘a bowl of suck’), and a couple of articles I read today about Japan’s evolution away from traditional marriages to something resembling more of an amicable, platonic partnership, and the increasingly emasculated-by-choice Japanese male. There articles hardly represent the general Japanese population, but I think they reflect the realities of certain subcultures – certainly in and around Tokyo.
I now have a couple of new THEMES to include in my NOVEL.
I’m low on energy and inspiration today, obviously, throwing links around willy-nilly like this. The literary fest (whoops there goes another one) is this weekend, so Mari will have to wait a bit longer to find out where she’s going to go… as will I.