NaNoWriMo has a real LiveJournal/fanfic/geek-chic aesthetic. A lot of the entrants seem to want to write fantasy, and while that's fine, it does leave me feeling a bit odd-man-out when reading the fora - not to mention I find the aggressively 'Mary Sue' vibe of so many of the descriptions distasteful. The easy answer is of course to hand: don't read the damn fora, you clown. But they're a nice timewaster and so it's hard. Plus doesn't everyone want to reach out and digitally touch someone?
Worse still if you're a bigot about such things like me: the NaNoWriMo LJ communities. I forget that in spite of my enjoyment of profanity and slovenly dress, when it comes to literature I'm mostly-unapologetically high-minded, which is to say snobbish but also several other things. My plan for next month is to write as much as I can of a story that's been occasionally asserting itself in my head these last few months; if it resembles anything at this pre-planning stage, it's The Third Policeman blended with Grendel, only it's about this idiot on a bus. That's an aggressively intellectual pedigree for what will no doubt turn out a steaming pile of dung. The LJ NaNoWriMo types constitute the subspecies of LiveJournal user not only obsessed with his/her own (written) voice but willing and able to indulge it for hundreds of hours and pages at a time. I don't know about you, but that terrifies me.
Again: a damn snob. I readily admit it. But if I'm gonna be sharing this collective endeavour with thousands of people, shouldn't I make an effort to get what's going on here?
I ask because one thing all good writers possess is a generosity of spirit and a willingness to listen - tied to a desire to render in their full humanity (or Klingonity!) even the people with whom they can't easily identify or sympathize. I worry that I'm insufficiently empathetic, even while I insist that a relative lack of sympathy isn't that big a deal.
So I need to get out of my own head to write better. But perhaps I can write myself out? I don't know. That's part of the point of this November project. To help me get over a certain set of awful, awful habits and qualities. (Fear of tawdriness is in there, as I wrote earlier this week - as is reflexive condemnation of the unfamiliar.)
Inwardness as a path to outwardness, and vice-versa. To burn down that barrier that renders our thoughts merely private and our society merely expedient at 1,667 words per day for 30 days, at the end of which my steaming textual dung-pile will surely be as dear to me as anything else I've created.
The long work of freeing oneself over and over.