Look, fuck off will you? I’m about to write the most important novel of the 21st century!

There’s grave news for fans of Is That All There Is, and I know you exist because I’m still getting three sacks of hate mail a week. It’s likely, to the point of being necessary, that November will be a dry month on the blog; a word void.

Against Doctor’s orders and the advice of Celia Masarain, my psychic, who predicted that if I ever completed a manuscript the universe would scream and spasm and writhe and reach out with its gaseous pincers, plucking me from a satisfied state of rest, thieved from my own bed if you don’t mind and tossed into empty infinity thereby comforting those that mocked and said it couldn’t (and shouldn’t) be done, I’m going to take the National Novel Writing Month challenge (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) and add my own distinctive voice, yes distinctive, to the literary canon. That’s the same canon that your newborns will have to be au fait with if they’re going to pass their A-Level English Literature and get into their second choice university, just 18 years from now.

There may even be a question on this post in the exam.

You don’t need to know what it’s about, though I do and I have no idea with only 72 hours to go before I must begin writing. That’s a problem you’re thinking, such is your cynicism, but actually it’s a liberation, empowering me to mine creativity from confusion, an order of words from chaos, art from ignorance.

There’s simply no telling how astounding this work may become as I furiously pour all my hate and my libidinous desire and my happiness and my fear and my greed into it over thirty gruelling days. Perhaps you’re humbled at being a witness to its genesis and one could hardly blame you. Your own life is a senseless dance with market forces, a protracted and ultimately unwinnable war against disappointment, in which you relentlessly consume, stuffing your faces and your homes with stuff so you can feel like a part of something – a group, an experience, a fad, a cultural moment; anything to distract yourself from the fact that you’ve achieved absolutely nothing, nor will you.

You’re a passenger – passive, idle, closed to alternate modes of thought and essentially a brand in your own right. You’re used by people who identify with that brand and you use them in turn; mutual masturbation fuelled by consumerism. You band together in your little groups, talking each other up but saying nothing; anything to avoid thinking about your contribution to the sum total of human knowledge. When you die, which will be sooner than you think, that figure will stand at zero, just as it does today. The best you can hope for is to live on as a series of contradictory and distorted memories, all of which will eventually vanish when your friends succumb to the business end of dotage.

In contrast I’ll have created a work of art; pure expression and immortality in language, destined to endure for all time and likely to influence your children and your children’s children far more than your feeble parenting skills ever could. In terms of their intellectual and ideological development, I’m about to become a Father to all your kids. They may look like you, perhaps they’ll even adopt some of your mannerisms, but they’ll think like me and in turn, they’ll transmit those ideas like a radio signal beamed to a hundred million handsets; a cultural contagion that will infect peer groups, reading circles, classrooms and academia. They’ll be children born because of me, their parents drawn together by the words “Edward Whitfield” clicked through on a social networking profile. Characters from my story will become the names of your cats, dogs, ferrets and adopted ponies. It’ll be my fingerprints you see on the films you illegally download, the TV you watch and the music you listen to.

Why, you may ask, haven’t I completed a tome sooner? Well you’ve asked the question and you’re the answer. My every attempt at finding the right moment has been sabotaged by the world and its Mother. There I’ll be, outlining the masterwork and suddenly the phone rings and it’s someone or other, flapping their face into a frenzy.

“Ed, I’m going through this, my so and so did that, I’m bored, I’m depressed, I’m hungry, I need your advice on staving off these suicidal impulses – blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.” Well DON’T call me during November, because your problems are the flashing star at the summit of the Blue Peter so fucking what-a-liser. Talk to your animals or crush some aluminium cans for recycling, my art is more important than your heart.

Don’t come round to see me, as you’ve been prone to do in the past, because the door will remain closed. You may notice the light on as you approach, perhaps note movement behind drawn curtains – a silhouette of a naked man with an erection, but this is a mirage, wish-fulfilment transmogrified into waking fantasy; there is no one home.

Spare yourself the pain of rejection by factoring me out of your social arrangements. You’ll have calculated that your evening is mirthless, witless and yes, even pointless without my participation. You’re right. Nevertheless you’ll have to make your own entertainment; emancipating iconoclasm is taking place behind the scenes, culture is being warped and redefined. There’s a revolution taking place on the page and there will be many casualties, namely everything you believe in and take for granted. You don’t dare try to hold it back by reducing the time available to the author, unless you wish to be shamed as a roadblock to history. Enjoy November as it’ll be your last secure and complacent month on this Earth. Remember that when you’re priming your fireworks and enjoying a “jar” at the pub with your mates.

Good luck if you’re attempting this yourself, though not too much luck obviously because seeing you published before me would be an insult both to me and my future readers.

Take reasonable care of yourselves and I’ll see in a month…unless I give up, obviously.

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Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 18:58  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Kudos for the HST pic – but why does your blog have a tramp stamp? http://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/pub/quentin/images/printer.gif?m=1255092718g

    I wish you well, brave noveller. (Novelist only once completed, obviously.) I’ll selflessly duck out of the challenge this year so as to greater magnify your glory. I’m just excellent like that*. Godspeed.

    *And sliiiightly lazy.

    • Tramp Stamp? What I prefer to call a tasteful and artistic symbol is there to remind readers that the blog welcomes all comers.

      I appreciate you taking one for the team like this but you understand it’s in a good cause. Nothing must stand between this work and publication. Your sacrifice will be remembered in the dedication.


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