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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Blogger is dressing up the naked...

Can you be an once-a-year-for-one month writer?



Last year, while confronted with the phenomenon, I did respond on the spot.Now, reading Graham and Blogger's exalted recommendation of this Herculean attempt to "write a novel" in one month, I've just posted the following comment at Graham's blog.




Hi Graham,



I'm a writer of literary fiction and non-fiction. Following a book for young children, my second book was written during 3 years, my third in 15 yrs, my fourth in 11 yrs, my fifth in 9 yrs and I've been working on the sixth for the last three yrs and am still far away from its conclusion.



Writing literature is not an one month marathon but a life long one. It takes dedication, the feeling that you cannot sleep if you do not write, that writing is like breathing to you, skin of your skin.



Writing literature is not a typing contest. You write awake and in your dreams, and daily while seemingly involved in mundane activities. Writing is a long process of revelations for which you are just an organ through which they pass on to the insightful reader.



I heard about this McDonald fast-writing concept last year and had immediately expressed my non-admiration.



Above all I abhor the disrespectful use of the word Novel. Disrespectful to Literary Art, to literary writers, to Intelligence and Creativity.



When the information comes from Blogger,and under the "Knowledge" title - so strong a recommendation - it should have had at least room enough for another opinion, comments, discussions. It is not a technical issue. We are talking here Ethics, and this is a totally different realm.





29.10.04

The consumerism ethos has brought upon us only misfortune: wars, colonizational imperialism, terror. I fear the colonization of Humanity's last refuge.

2 comments:

  1. [response cross-posted from my blog]

    Thanks for your comments, Corinna. I'm sorry you don't like the idea of NaNoWriMo, and I don't expect to change your mind, but I would like to point out that nobody involved in this intends any disrespect to writers or literature. I think the vast majority of us realize that we are not going to come out with literary masterpieces at the end of one month, and we certainly don't intend to try to pass our novels off as such. And anybody who does want to get their NaNoWriMo novel published will most likely have to spend a great deal of time rewriting it beyond recognition, anyway.

    What NaNoWriMo means for me is a chance to develop my creativity in a new way. I don't think it will turn me into a "real" novelist, but it will undoubtedly help me write more than I ever have in my life. I see this as something that's good for my writing and my creativity in general, regardless of the actual content I come up with.

    I think that the more creative outlets people have the better off they are. Creativity is an end in itself, regardless of quality. But too many people never play music or write stories or paint pictures because they think they have to be "properly trained" somehow, or have some "innate talent." But really, if they just want to do it for themselves, it doesn't matter how bad they are. NaNoWriMo is a way of helping people get over that hurdle, by giving them permission to be bad at something, just to get them to do it. So I support it in the same way that I would support giving finger paints to kids without ever intending to send them to art school, or the way I would teach a friend a few guitar chords and some songs even if he's not a professional musician. It's just good for them.

    Far from being disrespectful, I'd say that most people in NaNoWriMo do it because they love literature, and they love writing, and they want to develop a closer connection with it by creating some of it themselves, in whatever form they can manage. The existence of amateurs doesn't demean the skill of the professionals. If anything, it helps us appreciate them more, because we've had a small glimpse of what they go through to bring us such great art.

    -Graham

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your response, Graham,

    1.
    Intentional disrespect.
    I do not claim that disrespect is intentional or from people. The concept - "get it fast", "quantity", "never mind quality" - and the misleading use of the word "Novel" is disrespectful. I see in it a vulgar trivialization of Creativity.

    2. A chance to develop creativity.
    In Hebrew we have a saying, "You're bursting into an open door."

    In 1984 I founded in Israel and have run it for eleven years, 2 international artists and writers colonies, in the Galillee and in the Negev (desert) which functioned as peace education programs, with artists coming for up to 3 months residencies, to do their work and contribute to the community at large in diverse programs and workshops.

    Never ever did we ask the participants to even think in terms of production, of quantity. Creativity is Quality and the endeavor to achieve it. Take away quality - your unique voice - and all you are left with is fast parrot scribbling.

    You stand a better chance to develop your creativity if you write one page or paragraph or a full novel - with no clock or word meter in-between you and your innate creativity.


    3. "...it will undoubtedly help me write more than I ever have in my life."

    I find this "more" a wide spread recurring theme, or misdeneamor in the North American ethos. It alarms me that it has dissipated from the world of politics, army and business to that of the sacred - the creative human spirit - and is now spreading all over the world.

    4.
    "...I support it in the same way that I would support giving finger paints to kids without ever intending to send them to art school, or the way I would teach a friend a few guitar chords and some songs even if he's not a professional musician."

    You do not ask the kids to paint a quota of finger painting for a full month or day, nor will you suggest to your friend to do 50,000 chords in a month. It's just not good for them.

    "The existence of amateurs doesn't demean the skill of the professionals."

    The issue is not amateurs vs professionals, but Creativity with Quality at its core (profound insights, Less is More) endangered by the brain-washing Consumerism ethos (Quantity is the measuring stick of your "success"). This ethos has brought upon us only misfortune: wars, imperialism, terror. I fear for the last refuge of our humanity.

    ReplyDelete

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