18 December 2011

As thinking people and as humans

The tributes have been flowing and as someone who has only cracked the surface of one of his books, I wasn't sure what to say until I found this quote.
[W]e have the same job we always had, to say, as thinking people and as humans, that there are no final solutions, there is no absolute truth, there is no supreme leader, there is no totalitarian solution that says that if you will just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you will simply abandon your critical faculties, a world of idiotic bliss can be yours. 
I am nowhere near his level but the older I get the more I am convinced that we have to think, we have to use our noggins, we have to resist the allure (and the lie) of safety in materialism, the bliss of ignorance, and anything resembling dogma.

Norm at normblog has links to a variety of tributes.

RIP Christopher Hitchens.

Source: Hitchens' acceptance speech of the Atheist Alliance of America's Richard Dawkins Award, reprinted in the Observer.

07 December 2011

For What It's Worth

I have now told several colleagues that I am writing a novel. I never really did this before, talk about my "alternative world" to the professional one. But I don't see the point anymore of the separation. The two spheres don't compete. In point of fact they rather balance each other out.

In an interview with the Guardian, Siddhartha Mukherjee said he wrote The Emperor of All Maladies
 in 15-minute bursts, snatched from scrag ends of his working day. "But the book was also a conversation going on in my head," he quickly adds, "so I'd write after thinking for five hours."

I appreciate that. A little every day is my motto. (See Sustainably Creative for more about that.) I am trying to stick to a minimum daily of word count production of 270, 5 days a week. Any more is a bonus; any less is not something to beat myself up about because if I can't do the 270 there is usually a very good reason. I have reached my goal for the first month of this project -- the draft is now at 10,000 words. 

Talking about writing when you don't have an agent, a publisher, a contract or really know anything about it feels kind of pathetic, close to cringe-making. I feel all too aware that there are a lot of people around who like the sound of, who like being able to say, they are writing a novel. I don't want to become one of those or create that impression. I'm blogging about this for no good reason at all. I've decided to see if I can do this thing and it's in my nature to document the process. It may well end in tears or go up in smoke, who the hell knows.