Let my first gift to those of you who read this first post on this new blog be a photo of my cat, Cricket, staring wistfully out the window, probably pondering my failings as a guardian and a human.
Greetings, friends. You may or may not know me from other places on the internet. I used to have a blog for many many years called Far Seeing Fairy Tales…but like any bad parent that’s abandoned their child I don’t feel right going back to it. You know, it’s become a pick pocket, fallen in with Fagen. It’ll hit bottom and go to rehab and then go on the college lecture circuit. It’ll be ok.
This is probably why the cat thinks so little of me….
As for me, I’m trying to gird up for Camp NaNoWriMo. If you know what that weird thing means, then you are probably in the right place and you are probably also a writer. If you don’t, Google is your friend, but I’ll drop a little science on ya and tell you about National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every November, and it’s a time when writers all over the planet try to write a novel in one month – or 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s 1,666 words a day. The “Camp” versions are like NaNoWriMo light, where you set your own word goal, or even edit. The goal is to keep on writing.
The “keep on writing” has been a problem for me for a couple of years. I’m one of those people who lets the pressure and the fear of the massive monster of the publishing industry hold me back. I always feel I’m writing the wrong book at the wrong time. I also feel like no matter how many times I edit something it never gets any better. So why bother, right? No. That’s not how it works.
My problem is consistency. I’ve always said that the more I write, the more I write. And the less I write… you guessed it. The less I write. That might be oversimplifying, but basically writing is like anything else. The more you do it, the easier it is. The easier it is, the more I want to do it. Without consistency, I am a slug full of fear. With consistency, I am more of a butterfly with nary an eff to give
It just so happens that I started Red Dragon by Thomas Harris today (oh, as for title of the blog – the reading part will also feature heavily here, so booklovers, UNITE!). I started watching Hannibal – mainly because Richard Armitage is going to play Francis Dolarhyde on the show this season. It’s great by the way, and of course, just as I get into it, it gets cancelled. Poop. Anyway, I’ve always loved Hannibal Lecter…well, as much as one can love a fictional serial killer. I saw Silence of the Lambs in the theatre and felt psychologically damaged. The forward to the novel is really good and for a writer, really inspiring. For the first time ever, I read something by a writer who has the same philosophy as Stephen King, regarding stories being found things. King likens them to archeological artifacts, that must be dug up. Harris said, quite straightforwardly:
“You must understand that when you are writing a novel you are not making anything up. It’s all there and you just have to find it.”
The writer of the show must have read this edition, as well, because Will Graham’s house and some of the things he says and does are not unlike what Harris himself was doing while writing the novel. He stayed in a little house of a friend, and he would leave all the lights on in the house and walk out in the fields. When he would look back, “the house looked like a boat at sea, and all around me the vast Delta night.”
My other favorite part is where he said
“I found that I could leave Chilton in the cabin with the lights on and look back at him from the dark, surrounded by my friends the dogs. I was invisible then, out there in the dark, the way I am invisible to my characters when I’m in the room with them and they are deciding their fate with little or no help from me.
This brings us back around to my cat, gazing out the window. Perhaps she’s pondering Camp NaNo, the dichotomy of good and evil, the socioeconomic repercussions of keeping to a strict gender binary or wondering why Mads Mikkelson wasn’t in the last episode of Hannibal.