I’m still sitting through the 5-day waiting period for my gun. Hey, I just figured out that I’ll be picking it up just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday! Sometimes, things just have a way of working out, don’t they? I can feel the hand of divine Providence on my shoulder.
But I don’t need a gun for today’s update. I have something much, much more valuable: arrogance! For today marks the halfway point in the National Terrible Unfinished Novel-Writing Month journey.
How different the world seemed on October 31! “Write a terrible, unreadable novel in just thirty days? Or at least make a half-assed attempt at it, and make sure everybody bloody well knows about it? Ideally just after they’ve spent the past ten minutes describing all of the TV shows they watched last night, while you were gavotting with the Muses? Me? Surely it’s too monumental a task; surely I’m foolishly flying too close to the Sun…my wings will only melt, and I shall be cast down, down, wheeling down, towards a messy and spectacular end.”
That was me on Halloween. The neighborhood kids were real good sports about it, too. But what could they do? They could see that I had a bowl full of full-size Baby Ruths. I could have read them the first three chapters of Ray Bradbury’s “Zen In The Art Of Writing” and they still would have stuck around for the big payoff.
Wait…isn’t it “Zen And The Art Of Writing”? Hang on, let me get my copy…
Nope. “In.” Well, you know, he’s Ray Bradbury. He can do that sort of thing.
Anyway. I would never have guessed that 15 days later, I’d be standing triumphantly on the halfway mark. Most participants barely make it a third of the way to the halfway point. A quarter don’t even make it halfway as far as that.
Yes, this is why we Authors get into the writing game. We chip away at the bedrock of our very souls and catch so few of those granite flakes onto the printed page, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it, the price is worth it tenfold, just for the quiet satisfaction of leaning back at moments like this and thinking “I am so much better than so very many people!“
And oh, man…a week from today I won’t just be 75% finished. I’ll also be a 75%-er with a gun! Yes, the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. But not the kind that Harlan Ellison wears in his 60’s author photos. He’d probably find a reason to sue.
I should also take a moment to thank you miserable bastards who probably don’t have a Terrible Unfinished Novel in you, who have to content yourselves with these vicarious glimmers pleasure in the form of my daily progress reports. I salute you with one hand as I pity you with the other.
A quote from the back of the Bradbury book seems exceptionally relevant:
Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces rogether. Now it’s your turn. Jump!”
Ladies and gentlemen, I promise you all: until the end of National Terrible Unfinished Novel Writing Month, I will be your landmine.