Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So. Here’s the thing. When I was in college I had this boyfriend. He was a philosopher type and was a little obsessed with Nineteenth Century Transcendentalism. Of course Walden was his bible. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy being in a relationship with a philosopher, he was always pondering and then wanting me to ponder and be all brilliant with him and, well, I’m not. Brilliant I mean.

So one time he looked at me and told me he’d figured me out. Like I was this very deep and profound puzzle, which—as I’ve said before—I’m not. I’m shallow. Simple and shallow. Really. Anyway, when I asked him what he meant he said, “You’re chapter eight.” And then he stopped, like I was supposed to know what that meant. So I picked up Walden and read chapter eight, which is called “The Village.”

So here’s the deal. Thoreau went to the woods to ‘live deliberately,’ you know, suck out the marrow of life and live isolated and independent on his little plot with his little house and his paper weight (another chapter that would bore you) and his rows of green beans. Well the truth was, he didn’t. He went to the village, which was Concord, everyday. That’s right everyday!

So I guess old Thoreau was a social guy after all. And I suppose my boyfriend was right. I’m a village kind of girl. I like people. I like community. I thrive on conversation and support and friendship.

Which is why being a writer is hard sometimes. It’s a solitary life.

And that, my friends, is why I’m doing NaNo. I’m drawn to it by my sense of community. I know, for a month, I will be participating in an absurd undertaking. But at least I’m being absurd with thousands of other crazy villagers. Our writing village.

And everyday, as I finish my word count, I’ll step out of my little cottage on Walden pond, take a deep breath of woodsy air, suck out the marrow of life, snap a green bean into my mouth and saunter to Concord. My little writing village. And we’ll gossip about writer’s block and plot and characters and story arc and failure.

And then we’ll ‘sail from some bright village parlor’ and make for our ‘snug harbor in the woods’ ready for the next day with a ‘merry crew of thoughts.’

And when we’re done we’ll get t-shirts and book bags and a button for our blog. And we’ll say, ‘We did it. We survived.’ Because, you see, it’s better to survive or fail with each other than alone.

So. Are you doing NaNo?


  1. BOYS LIKE THAT EXIST??? Boys who quote Thoreau to you and compare people to chapters of WALDEN POND?

    *obviously does not know the right kind of boys*


    Yes, this is entirely why I do NaNo. TWO BOYS AT MY SCHOOL ARE DOING IT WITH ME THIS YEAR. And I mean that entirely innocently.

    Ahem. I'm very rambly this morning.

    I love writer communities. When's WIFYR, again?

  2. This guy sounds like a character from a novel for sure.

    And I want a nanowrimo hoodie, personally.

  3. Great post. I'm trying to imagine a boyfriend telling me I'm ch. 8 of anything. What an interesting relationship. And-I had no idea Walden went to The Village every day.

    Glad I'm going to be part of your village this next month.