NaNoWriMo? We wouldn't miss it!
National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is an annual internet-based writing project that takes place each year during November and has just wrapped up for another year. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write an entire novel during the period from November 1 through November 30.
All of which freaks me the hell out.
I have never taken part in NaNoWriMo because for me to write a complete novel within a month would require the Gregorian Calendar to include months with a minimum of 8500 days, and last time I checked November falls a bit short of that. However many people do rise to the challenge, and I understand even some of our greatest novelists have gotten their start the NaNoWriMo way ....
James Joyce: Fyodor! How are you?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Jimmy! Why, I haven't seen you since the last time we got together in Paris.
Joyce: That was so fun! I don't think I've ever seen you that wasted.
Dostoyevsky: Tell me, Jimmy, how did you make out with NaNoWriMo?
Joyce: Not great, Fyodor. Writing a novel in one month is tough, especially when it's 800 pages long, mostly stream of consciousness, and steeped in allusions to practically every cultural, religious, and literary concept and event in all of history.
Dostoyevsky: So? Didja finish?
Joyce: Umm ... no.
Dostoyevsky: How far did you get?
Joyce: Well, I got me this title here.
Dostoyevsky: "Ulysses." Okay, what's it mean?
Joyce: Still working on that.
Dostoyevsky: Well, Jimmy, it's a very cool title.
Joyce: What did you write for NaNoWriMo?
Dostoyevsky: A sprawling novel focusing on the mental anguish and moral delimma springing from the commission of a crime and the implications of individual punishment vs spiritual redemption set against the backdrop and turmoil of Pre-Revolutionary Russia. It's called Crime and Punishment.
Joyce: Cool! How's it come out?
Dostoyevsky: Who knows? I'm only up to Crime, nowhere near Punishment. Right now the crime's just a small traffic violation, but I may pump it up to a misdemeanor.
Joyce: Oh shit! Look who's coming!
Dostoyevsky: Fuck! Hemingway! He always finishes his novel by Thanksgiving and then lords it over us.
Hemingway: Hiya, boys! How's NaNoWriMo treating you?
Dostoyevsky and Joyce: Fine, Ernie, fine ... copacetic....super peachy .... thanks for asking!
Hemingway: Sure. Me, I just tossed out a little cupcake called The Old Man and the Sea. Wanna see it?
Joyce: Yeah, I wouldn't mind ... wait a minute! This book isn't even 100 pages long!
Joyce: And look at all these lame little sentences: "The old man loved the fish." "The fish loved the old man." "The old man and the fish moved in together."
Dostoyevsky and Joyce: What?!!
Hemingway: James, a reworking of the Odyssey in modern times? The Coen Brother did that in O Brother, Where Art Thou and wrapped it up in under two hours. Fyodor, the moral and societal implications of crime and punishment? Ever seen Law and Order? They do it every week!
Joyce: Fyodor, Fyodor, stop it stop it!
Joyce: For one, he's a boxer. For two, he's run with the bulls in Pamplona. For three, Alice B. Toklas won't give us hash brownies any more!
Hemingway: C'mon, guys, let's all have a drink; tomorrow is another year. After all, The Sun Also Rises!
Hemingway: Which gets me thinking ....
Dostoyevsky: Oh, shit, Jimmy, I think we're screwed for next year too.