A colleague asked me today if I’d finished the Great American Novel yet and I replied with a smile, “No, but I’m working on it.”
In recent months I’ve learned to sit with things; new concepts, old concepts, random thoughts and feelings. Sit with them to ‘see’ the source or clear up the idea in my mind. Understanding the origins of things in me is very important to me.
What would the Great American Novel look like, read like? What would the story between the covers be about? What would the cover look like? Almost everyone knows, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Of course, we also do that very thing every time we browse the stacks of our favorite bookstore (if they’re still there) or we search our favorite book site, library or seller. The covers are there for our perusal. How boring would it be if just the text appeared on the page or the covers on the shelves were all white with black letter, black with white lettering, purple with yellow letter. (You get the picture, eh!)
Still the Great American Novel seems likes a grand task. Big shoes to fill as they say. My favorite stories are mysteries and crime novels. I live for the good guys to win over the bad guys. I am an urban western at heart, but I don’t know that this is content for Great. It might be for American, though some very good westerns, mysteries and crime novels come from places outside of America. So really, what is the story and have I presumed to write it?
Books selling millions of copies in a flash might be considered great by some as profits for dreamers (aka writers) twinkle like stars in the night sky. Just like the stars, burning out over time, I find myself wondering about the nuances of such a distinction, Great American Novel, Great African-American, to whom am I appealing? Who is my reader?
Hmmm! The link would like this: The Great American Novel written by Michelle Hampton. (But of course, it doesn’t go anywhere right now since I haven’t written it yet.)
But I can see the stars twinkling. How about that for the cover, stars twinkling around the title and my name?