Sunday, 25 November 2012

Grinding to a halt - or not

NaNoWriMo, in which i have not participate this year, is about to end.  I decided to bookend it with two videos.  The first is here:

The second will appear tomorrow morning, and that's what this entry's really about.

I was thinking about the nature of this blog this morning, after this entry on publicising blogs.  It has changed from a place to stick rants to a place to stick ranting videos.  As she points out, you can make a blog private, but as i also point out, i have pen and paper for that.  So why is this here?  I suppose that question is more about cause than reason.

The main reason this has been here in the past is that i wanted to give people the option not to see my rants.  In order to remove that annoyance, i've done what i sometimes do on Facebook - created a place where i can rant away to my heart's content safe in the knowledge that it will never be read.  The questions arise, however, of why this is public, and why this is not a piece of paper. if it isn't.  The answer is that, like my wife, i am afflicted with hyperlexia.

As i sit here doodling on this keyboard, Liz sits behind me at the table with a hand possessed by a demon, writing poetry and the like in a notebook, which is a considerably saner approach than mine.  My own approach is to sit here in a stupor with both hands incessantly clattering the plastic, and it's simply easier to do that on a blog than on paper because paper needs to be bought, we often run out of pens, i sometimes break pens - it's a time-honoured tradition that, actually, going back to the early '70s - and i have to get up and find a wad of paper and a working bic, or make some ink for the quill.  Hence this blog.

Now you could be forgiven for asking why i can't just not write.  Sadly this is unfeasible.  I write anyway, in one way or another.  The result of stopping this blog would be me posting walls of text on other bits of the web and wallpapers of text on this house.  It won't stop.

This is called hypergraphia.  It's a recognised condition.  I see it as something like having a sebaceous cyst or an abscess, incessantly producing a secretion or exudate which i proceed to smear over all available surfaces like some kind of dirty protest, except it's not a protest so much as a compulsion.  It's got to go somewhere.

So is it a problem?  Well, yes.  One of the issues is that just as i cannot evaluate anything else, i cannot evaluate what i write.  I err on the side of caution by assuming it's all rubbish.  I certainly hope it is.  If it isn't, it confers some kind of responsibility on me to filter out the crap, and i probably have more important things to do in my life.

One thing it isn't is an illness.  It's one of the several things which is a sign that i have abnormal temporal lobes, along with my paraphilia and religiousness.  However, abnormal is not the same as pathological, and it's tempting to seek identity and absolve oneself of responsibility through medicalisation.  Therefore i eschew this route - it lets me off the hook too easily.  What i am in fact doing here is wasting my time, and since all i would do if i switched activities would be to waste my time in a different way i don't feel bad about that.  Actually i do, but - well, i still feel the compulsion.

Back to NaNoWriMo.  NaNoWriMo is, as i have said, an annual novel-writing activity which takes place in November each year where authors seek to write a book in a month.  Said book aims to have something like five or six myriad words - i can't recall the exact figure.  I did it last year or the year before, and obviously i found it easy.  Or rather, i found it fiendishly difficult, but for the opposite reasons than you might expect.  It is hugely difficult for me to write only 60 000 words in a month.  As a result, i proposed NaNoNOWriMo, which is the attempt to shorten one's output by 60 000 words.  More specifically, and i think this has morphed a bit from the original notion, you take something you've written and you make it sixty thousand words shorter.  This seems to be a much more laudable aim than lengthening it.  Douglas Adams was good at this, which is why he missed deadlines - he was polishing and honing his text, which usually made it shorter.  Also, i think it was Mark Twain who once apologised for the length of something he wrote because he hadn't had time to make it short.

As it happens, although i'm not taking part in NaNoWriMo, it is the case that i will self-publish a book on 30th November, namely 'Here Be Dragons'.  I'm not happy with it but the deadline is 30th November 2012, so i have to publish it then.  Apart from problems with the text, it hasn't got enough illustrations, which is a bit of a problem for a picture book.  Nonetheless, the deadline is when it is and unlike Douglas Adams i do not miss deadlines, so unfortunately that seems to be it.  I urge "you all", oh spambots, not to buy it.  There will be another one along in a minute which will be much better.

Oh, and here's today's video, which is a God one so probably best ignored too: