Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hardship and writing

I have a young friend whose article today in the Contra Costa Times cites his desire to write a great novel. He participated in the National Novel Writing Month experiment -- first invented in the SF Bay Area and now a national literary celebration of enormous proportions. He investigated (like a good journalist) how people do this, how the movement began, and he participated, and found that he wasn't up to writing 1,666 words a day for 30 days. At the age of 16. He cites lack of hardship in life, but I know a little of this young man's life. He nearly died shortly after he was born. He has had to live with a medical condition, and that has not always made life easy. I have seen a little of the hardship he has already faced, and I have a feeling that a great novel is in him. Maybe he needs more than a month to release it.

Maybe we all have one great book in us and need only the time and belief in ourselves to release it. Maybe a book is the testament of hardship endured and transformed into understanding, and we all work at our own books. Whether they reach paper or not.


  1. So eloquently stated.

    May we all be able to tell these important stories. May we all experience the privilege of being published - in whatever form makes the most sense for us.

  2. Rachel,
    your thoughts and theme here remind me (though not identical nor even perhaps precisely parallel to) some musings made by Orhan Pamuk in his Nobel speech, which latter (found in the current New Yorker magazine, or here) you might enjoy. But as for the question of novelistic creativity and hardship -- allowing there might arguably be some relationship (between those 2 things), precisely what the relationship is, is presumably a thing freshly negotiated in every instance. Even the hardship of lacking a hardship, could serve for some. ;-)

    merry Xmas,

  3. Writers, many of us, self-medicate with the books we read and--better yet--with the stories we tell. Your friend will, I'm thinking, finish that book one day when he's ready.