I don’t have much time to write a traditional post because it’s eight in the morning and I need to start getting ready for work. I spent the last two hours starting my novel for NaNoWriMo. This year seemed different than years past. Although it’s only day one, it feels like day 15. The words I wrote this morning felt rigid and difficult to get on the page. My eyes drifted closed a few times from exhaustion of waking up at six. However, I got what I wanted to accomplish; I’m at 2109 words.
I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself. Normally, I would have just barely made the word count in about 4 hours time. However, it only took an hour and a half. Perhaps it’s because of the style of writing that I’ll be doing this year. Instead of writing a traditional novel, I’ll be writing a book of short stories. I feel like this is cheating a little bit, but the stories all will present a similar theme; they will all be about the human connection.
If you don’t know me well, I have a huge boner for human connection. In the past, my theory of human connection was more about the casual encounters a person would make throughout the day. Be it a quick conversation about God or finding the love of your life. Somehow, throughout diversity and turmoil, human beings are able to connect with one another. The only thing holding us back from seeing these connections are ourselves. We pick and choose the people we want to affiliate ourselves with, but if we take the moment to welcome any walk of life, the possibility of finding a kindred spirit becomes infinite. This infinite is what I want to portray in my short vignettes.
I won’t be posting excerpts from my short stories, but I will try to keep a running journal of my month. I want to expose the writing process. I want people to know that this doesn’t come easy and just like any other artform, it is filled with anguish and pain and disgust. I used to scoff at people who would refer to me as an artist, but as of late, I’ve been thinking that maybe I am. Maybe I am an artist hellbent on perfection and anything less than that is trash. Perhaps this is the reason for my slump and my jealousy for the literary accomplishments of the people around me. I recall the quote from Cheryl Strayed:
I know it’s not easy being an artist. I know the gulf between creation and commerce is so tremendously wide that it’s sometimes impossible not to feel annihilated by it. A lot of artists give up because it’s just too damn hard to go on making art in a culture that by and large does not support its artists. But the people who don’t give up are the people who find a way to believe in abundance rather than scarcity. They’ve taken into their hearts the idea that there is enough for all of us,, that success will manifest itself in different ways for different sorts of artists, that keeping the faith is more important than cashing the check, that being genuinely happy for someone else who got something you hope to get makes you genuinely happier too.
I need to listen to my literary heroes more often. I need to let go of the accomplishment of my peers and focus on what is truly important: writing, in every aspect of the word. Literature. Prose. The story. The art of it all.
I will start here. I will heal. I will understand, discard, and move on. As in survival and in art, there can only be the ability to keep your mind open and stay on the course. There can be no distraction.