“So, yeah, I’m working on a novel.”
I feel like these are words no one wants to hear. Up there with someone explaining their March Madness bracket to you in detail. Their new diet. The suggestion of some TV show—followed by a detailed account of said TV show’s plot.
Thanks, but I don’t care. How do we live in a world where you don’t know that I don’t care? Or do you know that and just choose to speak at me anyway? I truly hope it’s the latter.
Save my close friends, and even then it’s pushing it, my mind will usually turn off during subjects like the ones listed above. It feels harsh, and maybe it is selfish of me to act that way, but I can’t help it. If someone were to do the same to me, I’d understand. In fact, I’d encourage it, accompanied by a friendly punch to the face for making the conversation a poor one. Life’s too short for bad conversations.
I have digressed a little. The fact of the matter is that I am working on a novel, and, although I am usually of the mindset of talking about myself as little as possible, it is something that I told my friends that I was doing. The offer to join me along the way while I work on it was extended to my close friends, and some have taken it up and helped me edit what I’ve thrown at them. A few professors have been kind enough to have a crack at the manuscript too, and it has all culminated into some top notch advice and differing perspectives.
Given that I probably started working on it about three years ago, clearly on-and-very-often-off, it has become part of my identity in a way. I find myself frequently daydreaming about it. Rereading sections that I’ve already read 50 times. Reflecting on my past experiences to see how I can incorporate them in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. In a sense, it has become a hobby that I can carry with me at all times, even when I may just appear to be staring off into the distance, there’s a good chance my mind could be on the book.
The novel itself, as I’ve told just about everyone who asks, is foremost a place to get my thoughts on paper. It focuses on a character that isn’t too different from me, but he isn’t all that different from a Raskolnikov, Sorel, or a Werther either. That has been the beauty of reading literature these past few years while trying to write my own—it seems to validate that other writers featured characters with similar quandaries. It’s also revealed how much better I can get. I think that will be part of the beauty of what this blog could become: evidence of progression.
I guess it just wouldn’t make much sense not mentioning this on The Aardvark as it is very much a part of who I am. As we eat at our ants here, so to speak, the novel allows me to do so in a fictional setting. It’s a conversation with myself, and others can peer in if they’d like. Offer up ways to make the conversation better.
Where it goes, I really don’t know. It’s just been cool to have a place to throw some of my deeper thoughts, my longings, my questions, things I really don’t even know how to best articulate. It’s become a melting pot with a plot. It’s been fun and very difficult to cook up. I hope it tastes good in the end, but even if it flops I can always say that the process helped contribute to a more enriching existence.
Writing a novel altogether feels like a continuous battle yielding spells of liberation along the way. It feels like a battle that’s going to remain necessary as the years go on.
I can say what I struggle to say.