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November 1, 2011

A Litany for November
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:42 AM * 73 comments

I always think the Feast of All Saints is the perfect day to start NaNoWriMo. Because saints are the guys who’ve arrived, the ones who started just like everyone else and made it big. They’re the ones to look to for inspiration, whose fellowship it is the goal to join.

Isaac Asimov of the Sense of Wonder, inspire us
Arthur C. Clarke of Hopeful Futures, inspire us
Robert A. Heinlein of the Self-Reliant Heroes, inspire us
Ursula K. Le Guin of the Quiet Truths, inspire us
Roger Zelazny of the Myth Made Real, inspire us
H.P. Lovecraft of the Lurking Dread, inspire us
Neil Gaiman, whose gods walk among us, inspire us

(And tomorrow is the Feast of All Souls, the day to meditate upon readers.)

Comments on A Litany for November:
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 03:21 AM:

Dia de Todos los Santos. Time to send the monsters back to sleep.

#2 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 03:26 AM:

Here I am in the lobby of a downtown Boulder hotel, playing host to a midnight write-in that an amazing 20+ people attended on a Monday night. I just finished my first scene, putting me at about 2300 words before November is two hours in -- woo-hoo! Then, safely ahead of schedule, I checked Twitter and saw this post.

This is beautiful. You turned a ritual from my Catholic childhood into something freshly meaningful to me today, even more so 'cause I'm freshly home from World Fantasy and still feeling that warm fuzzy feeling of SF/F as community. And there you go, totally making me tear up in front of the whole night-owl contingent of the Boulder region.

Thank you.

(@NaNoBoulder is me, by the way, in my capacity as Boulder ML.)

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 03:30 AM:

Walter M. Miller, help us to be patient with this fallen world.

Terry Carr, give us insight when we read.

James White, pray for us.

#4 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 04:33 AM:

Pratchett, be clever and smart, and remind us that writing is fun. Inspire us.

#5 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 06:09 AM:

J R R Tolkien, teach us to build worlds out of words.
Tanith Lee, teach us to blaze them ib stained light.
Eric Frank Russell, teach us to ply our pens lightly.
Patricia McKillip, teach us the severity of craft and bounty of spirit that is the portion of poets.

#6 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 06:29 AM:

Philip K. Dick, teach us to hallucinate.

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 07:12 AM:

John Brunner, remind us of the truth behind the story.

#8 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 07:15 AM:

Elizabeth Zimmermann, remind us that, like garter stitch, even the plainest writing can be art.

#9 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 07:28 AM:

John Norman, teach us what to avoid.

#10 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 07:32 AM:

Me @ 5: Spillchucker, teach me tw read twice before posting.

#11 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 08:58 AM:

E.R. Eddison, teach us not to be afraid to go over the top, not just from time to time but for whole books.

#12 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:05 AM:

rea #9, surely that should be "John Norman, lead us to Tarnation"?

#13 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:56 AM:

Lois McMaster Bujold, teach us that love is important, but not the only thing.

#14 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:57 AM:

#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden :

If the sleep of reason engenders monsters, what does the sleep of monsters engender?

#15 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:01 AM:

Gray Woodland: "teach us to blaze them in stained light" is a phrase of beauty and truth.

Lois McMaster Bujold, teach us to fill our worlds, not just with characters, but with people.

#16 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:18 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz@14: I'm going to say "rhyme".

#17 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:31 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 14: Reason - until with strange aeons, dead dreamers rise again.

#18 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 11:28 AM:

I can't get this into the format, but Heinlein knew that the world was full of interesting details, and that those details gave clues about more than themselves. May this inspire us.

#19 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 11:59 AM:

Jane Yolen, patron of young wonder, inspire us.

#20 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 12:09 PM:

Ray Bradbury of the lyrical prose, inspire us

#21 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 12:47 PM:

Clifford Simak, for being what I expected him to be from his stories...

#22 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 12:49 PM:

Steven Brust, help me make my protagonist sympathetic, no matter how big a jerk he is.

Lois McMaster Bujold, remind us that everyone in the universe has to be making a living somehow.

#23 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Connie Willis, for still being excited when she's awarded yet another Hugo.

#24 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Olaf Stapledon, teach us to fill the biggest canvases.

Robert Sheckley, guide us through absurdity to truth.

Jack Williamson, inspire us to reinvent our work to remain fresh as the world changes.

Barry Hughart, show us how to find new stories outside our own traditions.

#25 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Guy Gavriel Kay, help me to weave the disparate strands of my stories into a solid emotional core

Jo Walton, teach me better to inclue

#26 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 03:48 PM:

By the way, just as not all saints are known to Rome, so are not all great writers known to the New York Times bestseller list. What we become when we are our truest selves, as saints or as writers, may not involve stained glass windows or Hugos.

#27 ::: john who is icognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Robert Kirkman, write stories of superheroes with things actually at stake.
Steven Moffat, make time wibble and wobble, turn causation on its head, and complicate things just enough.

#28 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 04:10 PM:

Connie Willis, teach us that no level of accomplishment justifies looking down on others, and that at the core of wisdom there is humor, and at the core of humor there is wisdom.

#29 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Samuel R. Delany, world-shaper with detail, inspire us.

(I am loving this thread.)

#30 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Peter S. Beagle, master of gentle wonder and magical creatures, teach me to follow my unicorn no matter what shape she takes.

#31 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Neal Stephenson to remind us that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

#32 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Norton Juster, master of all things linear and circular, inspire us

#33 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 05:32 PM:

Alan Lomax of Folkloric Tradition, remind us.

#34 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 06:13 PM:

@Teresa @1: You knew just what I needed to hear, today. For reasons of my own, I thank you.

#35 ::: Lillian Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 08:06 PM:

H.P. Lovecraft, master of eldritch horror, help us to remember that less is more.

Steven King, master of mass-produced horror, help us to remember that less is ALWAYS more.

#36 ::: Annette ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:06 PM:

Zenna Henderson of the Love of all People, Whatever Their Origins, inspire us.

#37 ::: Ingrid ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:47 PM:

Larry Niven, of the Everyman, and how his story can be more fascinating than that of princes, inspire us.

#38 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:05 PM:

I have a dear friend in Lawrence who did himself up proper yesterday for his classes. He teaches science fiction and creative writing.

http://mckitterick.livejournal.com/693391.html

wonderous inspiration

#39 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:15 PM:

Diane Duane, teach us to write prose that sings using only ordinary words.

#40 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:29 PM:

Jack Kerouac of the manic typing session, inspire us

#41 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 11:21 PM:

Nancy Lebowitz at #14:
Hobgoblins of little minds.

#42 ::: Jean Lamb ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 11:27 PM:

Andre Norton, gather your children at your feet.

#43 ::: Jean Lamb ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 11:30 PM:

Suzette Haden Elgin, bring the wisdom of the mountain folk to us.

#44 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 01:17 AM:

Joanna Russ, never let us forget the strength and grace that is our common heritage.

Alice Sheldon, show us ourselves in the mirror of other creatures.

#45 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 05:43 AM:

Jack Vance, show us that the journey is the thing itself.

#46 ::: L. Baird ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Lloyd Alexander, who taught us that lying bards are the truest friends, that there is glory in horseshoes, pride in pig-keeping, and grief in kingship, inspire us.

#47 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 02:01 PM:

Anonymous writers, bards and scribes, who shared stories not for their own glory, but because the stories themselves mattered most, inspire us.

#48 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 07:31 PM:

Tim Powers, of faith in the fantastic, possessor of the strongest research-fu, inspire us.

#49 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 12:49 AM:

John Myers Myers guide us to drink from the Hippocrene.

#50 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 02:53 AM:

I would have come up with something more like:

Roger Zelazny, who mercilessly dissected human nature, protect us from those who would emulate your protagonists...

(I'm not sure "myth made real" would have occured to me, though I think I see where it's coming from. That's really interesting. I wonder if it would change my read on any of his books.)

#51 ::: bartkid ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 10:35 AM:

Harlan and Barry N., both who stole the sun to light the night inspire us

#52 ::: Madeley ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 11:11 AM:

Kirby of the Power Cosmic, inspire us.

#53 ::: Pere ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 11:24 AM:

John M. Ford, master of the line that led down a rabbit hole of reference and inference, teach us to find le mot juste...just when we need it most.

Inspire us.

#54 ::: ACW ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 02:22 PM:

Harper Lee and Gertrude Friedberg, who showed us that even a writer with just one novel in them should definitely just write it ... inspire us.

#55 ::: Jordin ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 02:49 PM:

Poul Anderson, of chivalry among the stars, inspire us

Madeleine L'Engle, of the power of love against evil, inspire us

Spider Robinson, of shared joy and grief, inspire us

#56 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 11:47 AM:

John Varley, who knoweth that people are people regardless of their form or gender, inspire us

Katherine Kurtz, who knoweth that faith lends strength to the actions that are meaningful, inspire us

Diana Wynne Jones, who knoweth that magic surrounds us, do we but look, inspire us

Kim Stanley Robinson, who knoweth that Man must grow and change, yet remains ever human, inspire us

#57 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Is anyone else hearing the plainchant in their heads?

#58 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 12:15 AM:

Hal Clement, who showed us the wonders of worlds inspire us

B. Durbin, of course!

#59 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 03:10 AM:

William Moulton Marston, who gently mythologized a different sexuality, inspire us

Alan Moore, who took a puzzle's pieces and built an entirely new - and better - picture, inspire us

Gary Gygax, who gave us rules to tell each other stories with, inspire us

Edward Everett Smith, whose plotlines grew beyond the universe, inspire us

#60 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 08:36 AM:

oh dear. I hope I didn't kill the chant.

--Dave

#61 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 09:11 AM:

William Morris, bring us bolshiness and beauty.
Lord Dunsany, bring us to the fields we never knew.
Hope Mirrlees, bring them home to us.

#62 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:50 AM:

James Horner, whose music made the Enterprise boldly go once more, inspire us.

John Williams, who captured a universe in sound, inspire us.

Tom Smith, who can parody anything in 20 seconds or less, inspire us.

#63 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 12:06 PM:

David DeLaney @59, I think you have conflated E(dward). E(lmer). Smith with Edward Everett Horton. A strange idea to think of him narrating Fractured Fairy Tales....

#64 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 06:32 PM:

Raymond Chandler, walk the mean streets without being mean, and inspire us.

Rod Serling, from the dimension of mind, inspire us.

#65 ::: jecibel ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 03:11 PM:

Jo Clayton, of the Souls of the Worlds, inspire us.

#66 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 07:22 PM:

A new tool for breaking writer's block: It rewards you with a kitten picture for every 100 words.

#67 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 10:01 PM:

Professor Quinn's ship was a trim blue small-crew freighter. The name, according to the computer at the docking gate, was Expression of Gratitude to the Capital City of My Homeland.

"Expression of Gratitude to the Capital City of My Homeland?" said Lyndy. "The name's larger than the ship is!"

"There's a story there," said Professor Quinn. "But I'm not going to tell you if you're going to be like that about it."

"Oh, go on," said Lyndy. "With a name like that, this is clearly a NaNoWriMo draft. Lengthy anecdotes are a cheap way to bump up the word count."

***

(I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. But if my brain is going to keep handing me ship names like that, maybe I should.)

#68 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 10:20 PM:

Paul, I always wanted to write a story where there are two ships called the Newton and the Maxwell. Ultimately it turns out that the Newton is really the Newton's Apple, and the main character guesses that the Maxwell is the Maxwell's Equation.

"Oh, no," replies his counterpart. "It's the Maxwell's Silver Hammer."

#69 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 10:23 PM:

Or Maxwell's Demon....

#70 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 10:31 PM:

Instead of Equation, yeah.

#71 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 11:50 PM:

David Harmon, that is certainly nicer than Write or Die. I was afraid it might translate your text into LOLcat, but it doesn't.

#72 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2011, 11:07 AM:

Paul A. #67: Actually, that ship name sounds like a machine translation, from a language where the original name was two words.

#73 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2011, 10:22 AM:

David @ #72:

A perceptive comment; it did actually begin as two words, before I decided that was too bald and started monkeying with it.

(I was half-asleep at the time, which goes some way to explaining not only why it turned out like it did, but why I apparently failed to recall that the ship in question has a perfectly good name already.)

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