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Right On My Way Home

All right. Here’s the deal – Bob was in a good mood.

Wow – this novel thing is going to be a pain in the ass. I’m looking at the blank page and realizing that I don’t think I’ve got a handle on reality that can be shared with the masses. I’m colored by many things – fundamentalist upbringing, small town schooling, an unnatural affection for things Texas that made me miss the overtly racist overtones of “kicker” culture that isn’t easily brushed under the rug with my fondness for blaxploitation, funk, and beans and rice, and a decade in the Navy, which should be enough to color anyone’s perception.

Yet, I’m still drawn to the idea of writing the Great American Novel, the book that transcends social stature, education, and regional preferences to strike at the heart of both the academic literary establishment (Is there such a thing?) and the dollars inherent in the Best Seller list on Amazon and at the New York Times.

Why? What is it about the idea that’s so completely and totally tempting? Who am I to think that I’ve got anything rattling around in my skull that will interest the rest of civilization?

Yet, the feeling is there, however irrationally.

So – National Novel Writing Month. November. 30K words in 30 days. A huge goal. Likely impossible. And, likely (hopefully?) to have the same result that my first marathon attempts had – of putting the “great american novel” in a real context, and hopefully of curing me of the dream.

Here’s the deal – while I think I’m a compotent writer when it comes to tapping out cogent prose on both issues of the day (which I’ve concluded is pretty bad for my soul overall) and about personal experiences, fiction is another beast entirely. I’m not exactly worried about the story – spinning yarns tends to come pretty naturally to me – but the idea of creating characters frankly leaves me pretty spooked.

As a result, it’s the third of November, and I’m still staring at a white background and a blinking cursor. But, I’ve got between 6 and 10 hours in airports today, so let’s see what knocks loose.

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