Saturday, October 28, 2006

Is this a challenge I see before me?

I opened my door today to find a gleaming metal hand lying in the middle of the doormat. At first I thought it must have been severed from the arm of a robot. I don’t know many robots, but I suppose that this particular one could have been a light-fingered android from an automatonic society that practices Sharia law. Why it had been caught and punished on my front door was beyond me, but you can never be too sure these days.

So I picked up the hand, to get a closer view. Were the fingers electronic or hydraulic? Was it controlled by fiber-optic or wires? A brief inspection showed that it was in fact a shell. It was hollow on the inside, like a mitten or a glove. This was not a robotic hand at all. It was actually a glove made of steel. A gauntlet. And I had picked it up.

The trouble with picking up a gauntlet, even accidentally, is that once you have one in your hands, you can’t really put it back down again. It just isn’t done. So I had no choice but to determine what the challenge associated with the gauntlet might be. And the challenge is this.

Now, your ordinary man on the street might rightly think that writing a novel in 30 days is a crazy idea. But for me it is more than that. You see, I’m dyslexic. And not just a little bit dyslexic, either. I am absolutely completely fucking hopeless dyslexic. When driving, I don’t allow people to give me right or left directions, because it creates a traffic hazard the 50% of the time I turn the wrong way. It took me four goes and five years to pass my Australian car driving test as a result (the motorcycle test, which has no verbal instructions, was a cakewalk, even in a 4 degree mid-winter downpour).

Needless to say, writing my PhD thesis was a bit traumatic. It was worse than getting knocked off my motorcycle by a speeding Subaru. It was worse than getting interrogated on the Guyana/Brazil border by PolĂ­cia Federal who thought I was smuggling drugs (silly cops- geologists smuggle diamonds and gold, not drugs). But I’m getting a little bit tired of being afraid of words.

The best way to conquer a fear is to confront it. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. It made me try to write complete paragraphs that were not spastic incoherencies. But I think I’ve gotten to the point where dipping a toe in the lake three times a week isn’t doing much for me anymore. I need to sink or swim.

If you’re scared of heights, jump out of an airplane without a parachute. If you’re scared of water, paddle a kayak over Niagra falls. If you’re scared of complete sentences, write a novel. In thirty days. If anyone wants to scrape me off the rocks at the end of the month, there’s a spatula in the kitchen.

1 comment:

Jul said...

I'm Zurika on the nanowrimo website. Let's be buddies! Not that I have a clue what that entails - won't we be too busy writing to have friends?

Before we start, I should probably come up with something resembling a plot, huh?