Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Great American Novel and Me

I love the song 9 peoples favorite thing where they sing “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing then a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing”. We all want to create the work of art that reaches transcendence and touches people on such a deep level that they carry it around for the rest of their lives. There’s a part of my soul, the artist part, that wants to create something of transcendent beauty. Since I’m also a realist I mostly just try to write good books, and if I’m ridiculously lucky great might happen along the way.

I always swear to people that I'm not trying for literary greatness. After all, I’m not really of a literary enough bent to win awards. That doesn't stop me in my heart of hearts from hoping that it will happen. That something I write will be the next Watership Down or Redwall and inspire others in the way those books inspired me. 

If this were just a closet fantasy of mine I think it could be excused. Sadly it's more then that. There is a little voice inside my head that whispers that the work I'd doing is never good enough because it doesn't hold up to that standard. Yes, the one where what I'm writing RIGHT THIS MINUTE must be as amazing as every book that has ever inspired me! So I stop writing. Or I slow down, dithering over a section like it's the most important thing ever put to a word processor. 

So here it is, the real truth. I'm giving myself permission to suck. To never write a masterpiece. Because there's no way I can sit down to create The Great American Novel. I just have to write my own.

P.S. Because it is awesome, here is the song 9 people's favorite thing:

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