National Novel Writing Month and Disney’s Fantasia on Halloween
National Novel Writing Month
November is National Novel Writing Month! And even though I consider myself first and foremost a poet, I am always toying around with the idea of writing a novel. Once, I even wrote over a hundred pages of teen fiction, rife with supernatural thrill, romance and everything else my seventh-grade self could have dreamed of at the time (likely double spaced and 14pt font for good measure). Like most other writers, I’ve have had quite few false starts since that early attempt, and, as a result, a number of lonely, abandoned, orphan projects lurking around, just waiting to have some undivided, authorial attention.
I haven’t given up hope that the novel undertaking could still be within my reach, and neither should any of you aspiring writers. For the month of November, I have deactivated Facebook and instead joined NaNoWriMo. The NaMoWriMo website sets the goal of producing 50,000 words during the month of November, and also provides what appear to be great resources and motivational tools. In addition to online forums and gatherings, NaMoWriMo also enables you to connect with other writers in your area. There are organized local events, such as “write-ins,” where you can meet those tortured souls also working on surmounting the fifty thousand-word feat. Disclaimer: I’m a NaMoWriMo virgin, so I can’t vouch for the efficacy of the site, or the month long undertaking, or writing alongside a large group of other struggling writers, but I’m looking forward to trying it all out.
While I don’t think that a month of writing can produce a finished product, a draft or the foundation for something to develop further certainly seems within the realm of possibility. And if you doubt that anyone has had success with this jump in headfirst and keep swimming until you run out of breath method, there are some remarkable success stories, including Sara Gruen completing a draft of Water for Elephants. If that’s not motivation enough, the PepTalk provided by well-known authors throughout the month will hopefully be more inspirational.
And now . . . Ready. Set. Write!!
Disney’s Fantasia on Halloween
Do not live in New York City if you don’t want to worry that your everyday tasks may occasionally take 200 times longer than they should. This morning was street-cleaning day. Usually it takes me less than five minutes to find a new parking spot for my car. Today it took 40, and I ended up a mile from my apartment, on the steepest hill (and then took a jam-packed subway 40 minutes to the office). Even in a Brooklyn neighborhood at least ten years away from full-on trendy gentrification you are a pinch of bad luck away from experiencing the worst of NYC inconveniences. To assuage the frustration of such situations, many people listen to classical radio stations. That doesn’t work for me, because I listen to classical music whether I’m driving happily or driving while being circumstantially goaded into homicidal rage.
Today the hosts of the morning program engaged in a little Halloween-themed schtick that made me say, aloud, “Shut up and play the fucking music,” at which point they shut the fuck up and played the “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” the symphonic poem by French composer Paul Dukas. It’s based off of a 1797 Goethe poem of the same name, but many Americans know it from the 1940 Disney cartoon Fantasia. In the germane part of the film, Mickey Mouse plays a wizard who can’t control his creation. The film haunted me as a kid, and just hearing the music brings back those memories. It was enough to divert my attention from the travesty of modern city living, at least until the car in front of me took the only spot on the block.
—Nathan Schiller, Editor