"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Childe's Novel Insecurities

Believe it or not, the quotes I'm about to share are for fun, though they reveal my artistic insecurity. I'm not trying to engineer a pity party. What follows is business as usual whenever I write creatively. I've taken these excerpts from the journal I'm keeping for National Novel Writing Month. Beneath them is a quick cellphone shot I took yesterday while treating myself to an afternoon walk in Waterloo Recreation Area.

From October 11, 2011:

One of my major insecurities to this point, albeit early point in the process, is that I worry I can’t turn this premise into a compelling story with action and suspense—that I can’t get it to rise above the sort of preachy blogging voice I and others often fall into in our writing. I want to write a story. I want it to be compelling. And I am aware that if the story is overly preachy and one-sided, it risks being distasteful via didactic overtones. I don’t want that. The tougher road, the worthy outcome, is to build a story that lets readers draw most of their own conclusions. It also needs to be multi-faceted and offer a compelling development of events. It can’t just be one guy sitting around waffling to himself...
From October 16, 2011:

Last night as I was at Zouzou’s CafĂ© listening to a friend’s duo perform, I had a strong bout of insecurity in relation to the direction of this novel. I start having thoughts about switching... . Oddly, when I think of switching to that, it’s almost like I feel that story, even more overtly autobiographical in theme and plot, would be safer. The quality of safeness is certainly no reason to embark on a major writing project. It ought not to be for the writer. So, I’m sticking with this one, admitting it’s not good enough in present form, has a certain amount of rehash from past stories I’ve written, and will need serious work and even research to get better. But having admitted that, I’m encouraging myself to see that as an attainable goal.

Mill Lake in Washtenaw County, Michigan



This photo makes me think of a fun line from the movie Wonder Boys. A best-selling author speaks of "the water's edge of inspiration" and the "far shore of accomplishment." It's a worthy enough metaphor. But it draws pretentious laughter from one of the film's main characters (who presumably regards it as pathetically quaint...not unlike this cell phone shot!)

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