Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pencils sharpened?


Eric, on his blog, mentioned that November is National Novel Writing Month. He talks about what it is, what it may be, what it is not.

A day after reading Eric's article, I spoke with a friend who is enrolled in a university writing workshop. They are following the NaNoWriMo plan, with the distinction that they will not do anything but move forward with what they write during the 30 days. They will not go back to read, to edit, to rewrite, even to backspace. I wonder if any of them will be working on typewriters.

The past week has been one of expansion for me, expansion covering such a diversity of forms...a widening heart, a deeper knowing, reclaimed memories and a context to hold them, the dawning of unexplored notions. On Tuesday and Wednesday I became aware of this writing project, offered vigorous encouragement for my friend's participation and saw no way in which I might be connected to this undertaking.

I fell asleep Thursday night, only to waken at around 4 a.m., the usual jumble of pranksters having tied my mental shoelaces together. One moment was ordinary, pre-dawn confusion and in the next, I thought that I COULD show up every day to write...something...and accumulate, I hope, 50,000 words in 30 days. Through the conversation with my friend I understood that this was, if we intended it to be, about getting those words onto paper. They wouldn't be forgotten, they might be worth saving, they could multiply and become more.

The wise voice of illumination reminded me that I didn't need anything beyond a first word, a place to start. I may run in five different directions during the month, I may run in a dozen. It may not be a novel, it may be short stories, it may be a load of bollocks. It doesn't matter. It seems to be the next step and taking each next step has not led me astray.

As recently as three days ago, I was positive that my writing future would never involve a single, book-length story. Now I can't say that. What I can still say is that I don't know, but I have been caught by an unexpected momentum, an enthusiasm even. I am willing to invest time in possibility. I am curious to see who or what emerges. Writing for a month without having to spell-check, fact-verify or make sense...what luxury, what decadence. I didn't know moving forward could look like this.

4 comments:

Laoch of Chicago said...

It sounds worthy but exhausting.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Laoch - Truly, I haven't a clue how it is going to fit into a day that already has too few hours, I just assume that somehow it will work...or end up being noble intention. By posting about it, at least it becomes known, which may be a pointy stick to keep me on task. Happy Halloween.

Robert the Skeptic said...

I am glad I don't have to write for a living. I'd likely starve to death. Film making is difficult enough.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - Film making is more than hard enough...such a collaborative process. One of the things about writing, not as a living but as a calling (read: volunteer) is that it may be done as a very solitary act. If we can allow the work, and not what happens to it after, to be enough, it is satisfying. Sometimes I look back in wonder at having actually MADE a living writing. But not books...there are so few for whom that is a job which can support them.