Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Cloudy and mild
Not much to say this morning, because I said oh, so much yesterday.
I have to work on some bills this morning, and get my insurance forms filled out and sent back to the union before I leave for the theatre. Our union is forcing us into one of the worst possible health plans.
I plan to edit “Christmas Treats” today – I’m already late on both that and writing Christmas cards. Usually, I can’t wait; somehow, this year, I’m not in the mood. I’ll try tomorrow morning, after my daily page quota is met. Usually, I can put on Christmas carols or Gregorian chants or whatever and get a good, solid batch done in a couple of hours.
Today’s essay on Circadian deals with the question “Why Write Poetry?”, and I agree with the author’s answer.
I sat up last night and read a book that I’m sure is fascinating to writers. It’s called My Staggerford Journal by Jon Hassler. Hassler taught for over twenty years at a Community College. He always wanted to be a writer, and began writing short stories in between times. Against everyone’s advice – including his family’s – he requested and was granted a year’s sabbatical. With so much unscheduled time on his hands, he wrote – and sold – two novels. Both novels were written and revised in the course of the year, and he sold them within ten days of each other.
His journal is inspiring. One of his inspirations is Henry David Thoreau, who encouraged, over a gulf of years, him to follow his dreams no matter what the people around him said.
And this, which is so true, where he muses about whether he could have written his novel without a sabbatical:
“The problem is that one can’t start a novel when one wants to. Rather, one has to have the time when the novel is ready to start. It’s just as likely to want to start on the first of February as on the first of June. You may be able to wait until the first of June, but the novel won’t wait. The novel is more important than the writer. The novel will go away.” (p. 54).
If you’re a writer, you MUST read this book.
That pinpointed my problem with NaNo, which I’ve had such a problem figuring out. I tried to make the novel wait. I had to coax it back. Scheduling a month works for people who have problems making writing a priority. But, for those of us who put the writing first, having to wait to work on something is detrimental rather than helpful.