Thursday, November 6, 2014

Writing a Glunk

OK. I may have mentioned this in my blogging once before, but when I was a child I was very disturbed by a particular Dr Suess book. I think it was in The Sneetches and other stories. It was a story about a boy's little sister who used to sit and think little fluffy things into existence every night after dinner. Then one night she thinks up a Glunk and of course the idea is way too big for her and causes terror and mayhem and it is up to the little boy to 'unthunk the Glunk'.  Now little Sally only ever thinks up fluffy things after dinner.

This story disturbed me, even when I was seven.  I was already involved in thinking up Glunks. I was reaching for books way too age-inappropriate for a seven year old. By the time I was ten I fell in love with Peter Otoole playing Lawrence of Arabia and insisted on reading The Seven Pillars of Wisdom with its bible thin pages and interminable recounting of one military push after another. I had no idea what I was reading but I pushed on anyway. I was so proud of myself when, after several months of slogging, I had finished the book. I even really loved some paragraphs and underlined them. I still have my copy of the book.

I did not want to be stuck thinking fluffy things after dinner. I wanted to over-reach.

Somehow I have found my safe-unsafe boundaries.  I know what I am comfortable writing and I stick to small contemporary stories with a manageable cast. I still over-reach but it is always about the concepts and not the parameters of the story.

I have an idea for a novel. It is a big novel. It requires lots of research. It is historical. It is about politics and cultural cringe and all the things that I am ignorant of.

I am really afraid to start this book but it won't let go of my head. It has a hook in me.  I am afraid that it is too big for me. I am afraid I will fail trying to write it.

Still, I was never satisfied with little Sally's parameters.  I suppose you can't get your teeth into the fruit unless you pick it first. I am reaching up into the tree for the forbidden apple. I have my Glunk in my sights. I am afraid I am going to start this impossible project. Frightened. Hesitant. Starting now.

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