Friday, October 29, 2010

Taking a Moment

Getting ready to participate in National Novel Writing Month, in which writers from all over the world participate in a great adventure, writing 50,000 words in 30 days, the month of November.  This is not going to turn out great literature.  Perhaps some work that could become something great or truly wonderful, but generally it's an exercise to get people writing.

One of my favorite writers is John Steinbeck (1902-1968) who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.  His acceptance speech is a favorite of mine and I was re-reading it recently.  It's a good reminder of what literature can achieve.  I am sharing here a couple of excerpts from his speech to inspire us all who attempt to write "the great American novel."

Literature was not promulgated by a pale and emasculated critical priesthood singing their litanies in empty churches - nor is it a game for the cloistered elect, the tinhorn mendicants of low calorie despair.

Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it, and it has not changed except to become more needed.
 ... the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry in defeat - for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally-flags of hope and of emulation.

I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man, has no dedication nor any membership in literature.

Enjoy the NaNoWriMo experience, if you're participating, and if not pick up a good book and take pleasure in the written word.

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