June 26, 2005

Drop in a bucket

In the world of blogs, "Brian's Meandering Mind" is less important than the proverbial drop of water in the wide blue sea. Nonetheless, if the poll I had up for a few months at the end of last year is any indication, then there are actually 13 real people out there somewhere who stop by occasionally to peruse these woefully inadequate lines of idiocy. Thank-you, whoever you are. Really though, surely you have something better to do with your time, don't you?

Just in case you don't, or maybe even if you do, I have yet another eccentric burst of lunacy to suggest: National Novel Writing Month. Oh, and you can't blame a lack of time. It starts in November and I'm giving you a whole four months lead time. It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter how much or how little you usually write, take a month from your life and put 50,000 words together and see what happens. It can't hurt, and it just might help.

Help with what? Damned if I know, but that's the expression we use. (Gotta find a way to get smilies into my blog pages!)

Anyone can write a novel. True, very few of us can write good ones, but what difference does that make? Play is the art of enjoyable unproductive experimentation. Forgetting how to play is one of the great curses of modern civilization and for all anyone knows, might be the key to unlocking the conflicts in the Middle East, the cynicism in politics, and the inherent self-destructiveness of capitalism. Something has to unlock these things, otherwise we are all headed to hell in a handbasket and there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

But who knows. Maybe one of you, one of the 13 fans and fools who waste time reading this insanity, maybe you'll be the one who writes the next "Uncle Tom's Cabin" or "Coming of Age in Somoa". Perhaps one of you has a magnus opus along the lines of "Moby Dick" or "War and Peace" hiding in the depths of your subconscious. There is only one way to find out if you have what it takes to change the world, take a month and write a novel.

And if you don't. If it turns out that the best you have is "Casino Royale" or "Buddenbrooks", that doesn't mean you've failed! Heaven's no! You've written 50,000 words in one sitting and that alone is far more than most well-educated, highly respected academics and theologians will ever achieve. At the end of the month you might not have a masterpiece, but it will be your book. Take it from one who has written not one, but two failed books: having a book you can call your own is a good thing, even if it's a bad book.

So then, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Spend November with me, spiritually if not physically, and together let's compose 14 books of egocentric trite that critics will disdain but each of us will love!

Robert Heinlein once remarked, "I go on writing for the same reason a chicken goes on laying eggs."