NaNoWriMo 2009

Just in case any of you were wondering, yes, I did complete 2009’s National Novel Writing Month.  Hooray!

It was one of the most liberating, frustrating, and enjoyable things I have ever done.  I wrote a novel–beginning to end–in one month, and it turned out rather well.  Yes, I was surprised by that, too.  I took an idea that I got from talking with a friend of mine, and from a tragedy that happened to someone I knew.  It was not an auspicious start to a novel, but it turned into something fascinating, and slightly trippy, and wonderful–despite its mood whiplash.

Also, I tried out a creativity exercise that I had read in Writer’s Digest’s Creativity Workbook.  It came out at the absolute perfect time for me.  I love writing exercises, and I try to do several each week.  This one involved writing down six “To Do” lists for one character, to better flesh out the character.  He turned out to be one of my favorites.

The scary part now is editing.  Lots of typos show up when I have been writing 3000-5000 words per day…


Strange Paths to Follow

“The basic problem is that if God exists, what is the point of literature?” Ionesco has said. “And if He doesn’t exist, what is the point of literature? Either way, my writing, the only thing I have ever succeeded in doing, is invalidated.” (Ionesco in 1984, from Playwrights at Work, ed. by George Plimpton, 2000)

This is the problem with living too deeply in one’s own head: suddenly, most of your thoughts are paradoxes, and you begin to look too deeply into the abyss of the existential problem. Who are we? Why are we here? Is there any deeper purpose to anything? If there’s no deeper meaning, why even bother?

When looking that deeply into the recesses of our primeval mind, the longer we think about what the answer could be–or if there even is an answer at all–the scarier it can get. I don’t know if we were meant to look in there at all. When I start thinking about it, my mind starts chasing the trail out into the beginnings of infinity.

Is this line of reasoning valid? I believe that there are some things we will never know as long as we are alive. The “meaning of life” is one of those things. (Although, the meaning of “Life, the Universe, and Everything” (the Ultimate Question) is apparently 42…though we’re not really sure what the actual wording of the question was.)  We could, therefore, spend our lives naval-gazing without ever getting any closer to anything with meaning, or we could do things that improve our lives and the lives of others. Does that give our lives meaning?

Back to the original thought: does a higher power invalidate artistic achievement? Does the lack of a higher power invalidate artistic achievement? Does this make any sense? If two thoughts cancel each other out completely, doesn’t that invalidate both of them? So, if they are both invalidated, then one must develop a new theory. In this instance, a new theory might be that true artistry might improve someone’s life–whether or not there’s a higher power at all.

We are only little tiny somethings on a subjectively tiny planet somewhere in an enormous universe (or multiverse, depending on which physics theory you follow), so what we do probably doesn’t have some huge cosmic effect. However, that doesn’t mean that we do or say etc has no effect whatsoever. We may have a beautiful effect on someone. Or maybe a group of people. Maybe that’s enough…