Pass the Salt

Okay, so here’s when things get a bit strange with my November Novel (i.e. the manuscript I’m working on for National Novel Writing Month). The tentative title is “The River in November.” And there is no way I’m gonna make the requisite 50,000 words by Tuesday, midnight. I’ll be lucky to reach the 35,000 count (this is about where I reached the two other years I tried). Now the conceit, the concept, the foundational structure of this “novel” is that I would write it journal style, with daily postings. Each day would be a fairly accurate account of my real life (first person narration). Sure, there’d be some embellishment. And eventually I’d go back and change the names of my friends, enemies, and acquaintances. There is also a sleuthing plot which is 100 percent fictional. A magical realism story line where I (aided by a fictionalized version of a well-known local artist) try and track down a mysterious homeless illegal alien who may indeed hold the secrete key to blah blah blah. Right?

So I mentioned it gets a bit strange. Tonight I read an excerpt of the piece at the Gemini Ink free monthly writers’ workshop. How meta! And so now, tonight, I need to write the penultimate fictional journal entry for “The River in November” with a description of the fictional “me” reading a passage of the journal at a writers group. I hadn’t intended for a self-referential interlude. I’m not sure how deep I want to delve into some of the other writers who showed up. This monthly group is ever-changing. And often, like tonight, we have some real shit. There was a guy who showed up with an “outline” for a science fiction novel or perhaps a comic book. I felt like throwing the sheet of paper back in his face. “What the fuck is this? This is just a bunch of random words. They don’t mean anything.” However, in his defense I will say he seemed to know how to operate spell check. And, to be honest, that’s further down the road than so many other “creative” people I know. And then there was this Christian writer. A woman–and they almost always are. I wanted to crumple up her four pages and throw them back in her face. “God damn it! Don’t you people know that religious fiction can never be true literature because the only subtext it can allow is pre-existent in the bible? And, unless you’ve never read the books of Old and / or New Testaments, you should be quite aware that these ancient books are crap as literature. The characters’ motivations are all irrational, and what passes for conflict is puerile and two-dimensional. The only interesting character in the New Testament is Judas. Forget Jesus. Judas, yeah, there’s your inner conflict.” Oh, well, I will admit that this Christian woman was very nice and had a good grasp of descriptive prose.

But I digress.

My November novel.

I would like to say to those few individuals who read this blog and know me personally: “Thanks for giving me stuff to write about!” Well, this only applies if we hung out or spoke or texted or emailed during November. And don’t worry, I’ll try not to make you appear too fat or overly petty (unless you’re, well, you know who you are).

So, the fact that I’ve been working on my November Novel has kept me from adding to this blog. Two reasons. One, I’ve been otherwise engaged in writing. Two, because the manuscript is also in a journal form, so I feel I’ve already captured my November life elsewhere.

So now, g’night. I’m off to add to my word count.

And because I should embellish this posting with something, here’s a random picture of a salt shaker I took at some event recently.



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