Reader's Exchange

Yes, Yoda, there is a "try"

Those Texas Book Festival planners are geniuses.  Imagine not only producing a weekend of superb literary presentations but also conjuring up October weather that feels like October? 

I, however, am not brilliant and consequently found myself at TBF with 25 precious minutes available for reading--and no book.  The advance copy of Amity Gaige's Schroder intended for that purpose was left basking in the gloom of the parking garage.

At least I'd arrived early for this speaker and secured an auditorium seat fronting the upper section.  Unearthing paper and pen, I spent the interval savoring the novelty of leg room and generating character names for my book.  National Novel Writing Month begins this week; thank goodness I finally have the skeleton (how appropriate) of a plot.

The story line involves a couple dozen individuals--people resembling the array of citizenry streaming into that very location, I realized.  Inventorying the audience, I cast my novel by identifying types like those in the story and engineering monikers to suit each one's persona.

If you were present, you could end up in my fictional creation (sort of), but no one would ever know.  Besides, if this NaNoWriMo result achieves the quality of last year's effort, I'll hit "delete" and vaporize it as soon the word count is verified.  Having learned much from the previous experience, I'm striving for a standard above "no one should ever see this". Yoda reads Aim high: that's my motto.                                      

Contently scribbling notes for a tale not fated to enrich humankind, I'd awaited a presentation by David Shapard, creator of annotated Jane Austen novels.  Shapard contended that Jane Austen could be the greatest English-language novelist ever.  Was it symmetry, balance, or irony provoking that auditorium to simultaneously host evidence of the best and the worst in fiction?

Shapard also noted-- supporting his "greatest" assertion--that critics' esteem for Austen's work has (remarkably) not fluctuated over time.  And I mentally applauded Shapard's assertion that Austen's "good" characters are not dull.  Having earlier quoted a couple of snarky one-liners mined from Austen's correspondence, Shapard conjectured that Austen characters were sometimes allowed to publicly overstep and later repent, much in the way that the author herself may have.  Goodness, Shapard maintains, was "an achievement".

En route to the next venue amid readers, authors, event organizers--achievers all--I considered why NaNoWriMo authors sign on for a grueling month-long writing assignment practically guaranteed to engender a document that's, er, flawed.   The reason:  success can follow only the act of putting oneself out there and awaiting the consequences.

And if the result seems a universe away from Jane Austen?  Well, NaNo is an achievement in itself.   At least, you'll have proven Yoda wrong.

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