I often go into the New Zealand fiction section of the bookstore just to see if anyone I know has written anything, and a couple of days ago I noticed that someone I was briefly acquainted with at some point seems to have published something. It was a ‘novel’ about the last day of work for some guy before he moves on to a new job. It read a little bit like a script — the first two pages had nothing but conversation on them and to indicate pauses in the dialogue occasionally the writer used the line ‘Another pause.‘ He used that line three times on two pages.

In a not-at-all-unrelated tangent, I wonder if people just aren’t ambitious enough. Sure, it’s a nice idea — writing an entire novel about one guy’s last day at work. But who cares? It’s like saying “I’m going to hold a wedding dinner, and all I will serve is cheese on-toast”. Or “I will paint a landscape, and it will be nothing buy sky”. Or “I will sculpt a rock into a smaller rock”. There’s nothing wrong with rocks or the sky or cheese-on toast, but who cares?

I guess people aim for mediocrity because they’re confident that they can achieve it. Things like ‘original’ and ‘epic’ and ‘sublime’ — aren’t they only things that people who think too highly of themselves aim for? No! Let us be able to look into the eye of the world and say, “you may never think that I am a great person, but at least know that I also think that I am not”.

Incidentally, the guy who wrote that book also wrote ‘scripts’. Which have been made into ‘films’. I guess someone can be ambitious about achieving stuff while not being ambitious about the stuff being achieved.

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