Thursday, 11 March 2010

TYSIC: Week One Review

7 days into TYSIC. Only 3643 to go. One week ago, Mark challenged the TYSIC community to each achieve small but measurable progress in Week One. Have I done so? well, self-regulation is a tricksy little thing. To keep everything English and Above Board, I would like to welcome back impartial interviewer, Michael Owen, to clear things up.

MO: How have you done on your goals?

I'm glad your back, Michael. I missed you. I think I've done pretty well on my goals, in general. Thanks for asking.

MO: No problem. Have you made any progress on becoming published?

It feels silly to even talk about that goal yet, but I'm taking baby-steps towards it. I'm going to be in Phase 1 for the foreseeable future. Phase 1 is writing something that I consider 'good'. Anything after that is Phase 2 onwards. Getting other people to agree about the 'good' bit, etc.

MO: How's Phase 1 going then?

While I haven't actually written a thing... I'd say it's not going badly. I've been planning my novel, in a loose sense. There's an idea, and a rough structure, and a few details flitting about. Yes, flitting about.
It is, roughly, the story of an uneven friendship, that becomes more even. Experience has taught me that an idea can change beyond all recognition in the writing process, so I will say no more for fear of being future-contradicted. I may already have said too much... if the novel becomes a Sci-fi/Erotica crossover about a slightly glowing cow, that would make me a future-liar, right now.

MO: You were going to do some reading, too. And learn from it. Have you?

Whether I have learned from it is an impossible thing to assess. I have read regularly, and blogged about the experience. I find it difficult to be critical of what I read (that's the trouble with being interested in good books), but I'm paying more attention to myself reading than I used to.

MO: How about the letter-a-month?

That was a vague, stolen idea...

I thought it would be cool to write a letter a month. Then I thought about who I want to send letters to... once I ruled out friends I speak to anyway, and famous people who wouldn't read them (let alone reply to them), there wasn't much left in the idea.
Trying to link it into my main TYSIC, I thought about writing to a different author a month. But again, very few would reply, many wouldn't appreciate the effort, and they would wnd up being polite, praising, empty letters.

What's the main attraction of letter-writing? The great thing is you can say things you wouldn't normally say. There's something about filling a blank page with your thoughts that tickles the Introspection Trigger, and fondles the Brutal Honesty Nipple. That would never happen when writing to an author. It'd be embarassing.

Unless the author was... you know... dead. Deceased. No more.

If I wrote to dead authors, I'd get all the benefits of writing to someone, on a topic that fascinates me, without fear of self-censoring. In fact, as the recipient would never read the letter, it removes one half of the letter subjectivity. No longer does the thought 'what would A think about that? better say something different' pose a threat. 'What does A think about that? Doesn't matter, A is dead. Say what you like'.

So I'm going to write a letter to a different dead author each month, for ten years. I will post the letters on here, if I want to. But that will be an exercise completely separate from writing them, otherwise all that secondary subjectivity comes back, and I might as well write to YOU.

It started out as a vague, stolen idea. Now it is specific, and much more my own. It is still fairly nebulous in purpose, but I hope it will reveal itself in time.

MO: That's all fine and dandy. But when will you write these letters? You're one week into the first month already.

I will write a Dead Letter on the 20th of each month. I just chose that date out of skinny air... I'd like to link it in intelligently with TYISC (2010, 2020) but I'm not up to the task.


  1. I actually quite like the dead letter idea but I think you should try at least a couple of living authors. I was so nervous clicking send on my message to Chomsky and he replied within just a few hours.

  2. Be sure to include a lot of profanity in your letter to Hemingway. It's how he'd want it.

  3. Haha nice post mate.

    Thanks for the comment on my paper's blog. You are a gent.