Friday, January 28, 2011

An unexpected kick in the pants (in a good way).

Why is it, I ask myself, that I was able to finish this novel as opposed to the two novels I previously started but was unable to finish? The answer is undoubtedly more complex than I can fully articulate. But one major reason is I was told to do it.

Someone I knew in high school once suggested to me that everyone must have one good novel in them. Though I doubt Mr. Marty Hergert even recalls uttering that notion, it really stuck with me. Similarly when a colleague of mine from the literature depart during my undergraduate degree asked if I thought I would still be writing in ten years, I took the question to heart. Now, nearly twenty years later I am a little proud that I am still trying.

Just about a year ago I went to a panel discussion upon which a novelist I know was one of the participants. I was happy to see her and when the event was over we spent a little time catching-up. She suggested we should meet for coffee.

A few weeks later we met over lunch in Printer's Row, Chicago. The lunch chat ended up taking several hours in which we discussed a lot of things: her travels and adventures in publishing, our latest projects, academics and future plans. As we sat in a neighborhood park before saying our goodbyes she told me I needed to write a novel. This was something I already knew, but it seemed so daunting.

As I drove away that day I thought back to what Marty had said to me, to what my classmate had asked and I realized I had the time and ability to write a novel. I had no excuses left.

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