I’m thinking of joining Mauler’s THE IRON NODER CHALLENGE 7: NODE HARDER WITH A VENGEANCE. No reason you should care. After all, odds are, I don’t know you from Adam, nor you me. I haven’t been active on E2 since 2005, shortly after my second son was born. He’s now nine years old.
I came back a few weeks ago and posted some short prose pieces “Bianca from Othello” and “Jesus Hat”, basically to just see what kind of feedback I might get. (It was expectedly tepid. The pieces are admittedly unremarkable, but they were forged carefully and with love, which is how I’m trying to approach all of my writing these days. Specifically they were in inspired by my love of Chekhov’s short stories, and his admonition to fellow writers: “Tell the truth.” He goes into a bit more detail in this longer quote:
One has to write what one sees, what one feels, truthfully, sincerely. I am often asked what it was that I was wanting to say in this or that story. To these questions I never have any answer. There is nothing I want to say. My concern is to write, not to teach! And I can write about anything you like. ... Tell me to write about this bottle, and I will give you a story entitled "The Bottle." Living truthful images generate thought, but thought cannot create an image.
For the last twenty five years or more, most of my efforts as a writer were in generating material for the stage. That all changed when I retired from the theatre almost exactly a year ago. But for at least the foreseeable future, I want to keep writing and I want to engage with other writers in an atmosphere that allows me some feedback and collegiality without the somewhat incestuous closeness of working in the theatre, the fatuousness of Face Book, or the unabashedly public quality of my own blog. I had that blessed sense of working with like-minded and similarly dedicated colleagues the last time I was regularly noding on E2, and I’d like to see if I could have it again. It was here that I met IceOwl, Doyle, IWhoSawTheFace and BadMojo, after all.
It’s a selfish gambit. I understand that. But if I get it write, I might just be able to offer the E2 community something back.
I am, however, daunted by committing to writing 30 nodes in as many days. I’ve never worked that quickly here, though I did once filibuster a baby out of my wife’s belly by posting 500 words on every single day past her due date she went. (For the record: she went 14 days past due.)
Before even considering joining the Iron Noder Challenge, I had already pledged to myself to write 50,000 words in November. For the last year, I have been working a new writing discipline, in which I work an “On Month/Off Month” rotation, shooting for a high words goal in January, March, May, July, September and November, and then lying fallow in the other six months. I use these instead to either brainstorm creative ideas, touch up nearly finished work or do more in-depth revision. It could well be that joining the INC7 might help me hit my Novemeber words “nut”—my highest ever, I should note; but if it doesn’t, I will not hesitate to drop the noder challenge like a hot potato.
Here are some additional pros and cons I see:
- I need a kick in my pants.
- I’m already coming off a good deal of stress, and working on letting go of stuff, not taking more on.
- I’ll force me to write.
- I’m not sure it’s wise to further feed what already seems like it might be an addiction.
- It’ll force me to write about things I wouldn’t ordinarily.
- It will be stressful.
- It’ll force me to be less precious with my ideas.
- Being less precious with ideas isn’t always a good thing. Some ideas just ain’t ever gonna be worth the effort. (But the effort itself might be worth itself, if that makes sense.)
- It’s something new that I’ve never done.
- My corporate day-slaver is coming to an end soon, and November will be my last full month here before being shit-canned.
- It’ll force me to learn and re-learn a bunch of E2 Arcana that I’ve either forgotten or never knew.
- Wait. Is that a good or bad thing?
- It will, ideally, ingratiate me to powerful Gods.
- Just listen to me. “Powerful Gods?”
- It will earn me an abundance of utterly useless XP. (Utterly useless things are my specialty. Recall: I used to wright plays.)
- I will once again start to care about a system that never really mattered in the first place.
- Trying things I’m not sure I can do is just plain good for me.
- My obsessive-compulsiveness might drive me to complete the quest when better wisdom would be to just let it go.
- Everything2 strikes me as a hopeless cause and hopeless causes are my favorite.
So that’s what I’m thinking about as I weigh joining the challenge. I welcome your thoughts via msg on whether or not I should take the leap, and why.