My Bright Angels & Familiars series, as you may have noticed, has been delayed. Largely because of the holidays, but also because of the first book I’m reading on my new Nook. None other than, wait for it, Moby Dick.
I’ve never read Moby Dick. Why? Because it has hung on the periphery of my need-to-read list for, like, ever and I’ve never picked it up because I’ve been afraid of it? Why? I’m not sure. Because it’s long? Because it’s Great Art? Because it’s full of metaphors and stuff? Because if I don’t “appreciate” it I’ll be a philistine?
I’m not sure exactly, but the result is the same: I’ve been too intimidated to pick it up.
And guess what?
I love it! I can hardly put it down! It’s got lolzy jokes! And I haven’t even got on a whaling ship yet!
And yeah yeah sure: I can easily see why it’s a big deal — I already have half a dozen papers I could write (though I’m sure they’re already written — I don’t know anything about Moby Dick scholarship).
Why do we forget that writers write to be read? That they want people to like their books so they (readers) will buy their books so they (the writers) can keep stocked with quills and coffee and wifi. Sure, there are some people (I’m looking at you, James Joyce, and you, worshippers of James Joyce) who think being difficult is a virtue, but this is not normal. Writers write to be read. Even Great American Novels like Moby Dick and Huck Finn were meant to be read.
This line of thinking brought be back to the Mormon Lit Blitz, of which we have written a bit. When the contest was first announced, I was thinking we would be better off spending this effort on getting people to read things like Bright Angels & Familiars. But now I realize their method makes sense.
Most people don’t seem to believe a worthy MoLit exists. And those who are aware of it feel a bit towards it as I did towards Moby Dick (or still do towards, say, The Giant Joshua).
So one-thousand word entries (rules) are pretty brilliant. Who can be intimidated by four pages?
Because all that needs to be done, as I’m learning, is just to get someone started.
Call me Ishmael.