I know what I DON’T what to be

American Author Ernest Hemingway aboard his Ya...

Papa Hemingway on his yacht

Yesterday was Day One of the NaNoWriMo contest and I also finished reading my latest book selection, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.  There is a thread that holds these two disparate items together, other than their appearance on my blog (and their obvious relation to writing and literature.)  After reading Hemingway and beginning my own writing exercise, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do NOT want to write like Hemingway.  I understand that his choppy, terse prose was revolutionary at the time and it earned him a Nobel Prize for literature and a Pulitzer Prize.  I should be so lucky, talented and groundbreaking, I know.  But it is not very appealing to me.  His work is not without interesting descriptions and word choice . . . one that has stuck with me was the main character’s sighting of a “candelabraed pear tree.”  Nice visual.  But the dialogue is weird and unnatural.  I imagine it serves its purpose, but I still found it difficult to enjoy.

The thing that I appreciate most is that this particular book is obviously based on his life, and really, the story is the thing that I enjoyed most.  Hemingway, too, served as an ambulance driver in Italy during WWI, although he worked for the Red Cross and not the Italian army.  He was also seriously injured during his service, like his main character.  Also similarly, they both drink . . . a lot.  The novel that I am attempting to write during NaNoWriMo is also based on my life, but it is definitely not a memoir, so it is interesting and empowering to see how another author has successfully handled a similar situation.  I am also curious to see how it was treated on-screen and plan on watching the movie version tonight if I have time.

They say write what you know.  What does anybody know better than themselves?


My next step . . .

I have been a good productive girl this week and gotten a number of household projects under my belt.  As a reward, I let myself go to Barnes and Noble to browse the stacks to choose my next victim, er, novel.  Sorry.  Still have Dracula on the brain what with Halloween next weekend and all.  I wanted to move into a more contemporary novel since my first three books were written in the 1800’s and I also wanted to take advantage of some of the Turner Classic Movies that I have sitting on my DVR by reading a book and then watching the movie.  I think I’ve decided upon Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms, although To Kill a Mockingbird is still in the running since I purchased both.

I have also been given an interesting proposition that I am seriously considering.  There is a contest called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short.  Apparently, all you have to do to “win” this contest is write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November . . . and I say “all” as though that were not much of a task.  The point of the contest is pure productivity.  No editing or polishing or agonizing over the right words.  Just sit down and let the words pour forth.  I must say that there is a certain appeal to this since I tend to be nearly paralyzed by self-criticism when I seriously try to write (obviously, not in this blog, though.)  And the deadline aspect is a powerful motivator in every aspect of my life.  50,000 words translates to about 178 pages, or so their web site says.  Not sure what kind of pages they mean, but it gives a little perspective.  And just in case any of you reading wonder if there is anything other than a bunch of crap being cranked out of this contest, the 2007 best seller Water For Elephants written by Sara Gruen and published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill was a product of NaNoWriMo . . . a book I read and truly enjoyed.  I’m going to talk to my potential writing partner about it later today.  If I decide to do it, my November blog posts may be short and sweet, but I’ll keep you posted (pun intended.)

And now for some personal musing (as though that’s not entirely what a blog is in the first place) . . . I had a job interview yesterday upon which I had pinned a lot of my hopes.  Suffice it to say that although it went extremely well, the outcome was not exactly what I desired:  no position available until next March at the earliest.  Now that I’ve been searching for a job for almost 8 months (and I realize that I am not alone in this) I have some heavy decision-making to do about how and where to continue my job hunt.  I’ve decided to give myself the weekend, if not the rest of the week, to ponder it before embarking on my chosen course.  In the meantime, I’m going to a 3-year-old’s birthday party with a bouncy house, watching a couple of versions of the Dracula movie, having multiple adult beverages with good friends, dressing up for Halloween (twice), and in general, trying to enjoy my life as it is.  It’s a challenge to stay in the moment when you are a control freak like me and can see the end of the money coming, but whether I sit here at the computer enjoying a little writing time or lay in my bed crying over my potential poverty has no effect on my eminent financial crisis.  It only has an effect on my current frame of mind, and more and more often in my life, I choose to try to be happy.  It’s amazing to realize how much of a personal choice it really is, and I challenge myself, as well as my myriad readers 😉 , to try to make that choice every day.