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cool! ...wait, what? 
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Post cool! ...wait, what?
okay, so i was doing nanowrimo, but i quit, but i still get the motivational email. and then i saw that i got one from lemmony snicket and i was all "OMG SQUUUUUEEEEE I MUST READ IT!!!!" and i did. it went like this.
Dear Cohort,

Struggling with your novel? Paralyzed by the fear that it's nowhere near good enough? Feeling caught in a trap of your own devising? You should probably give up.

For one thing, writing is a dying form. One reads of this every day. Every magazine and newspaper, every hardcover and paperback, every website and most walls near the freeway trumpet the news that nobody reads anymore, and everyone has read these statements and felt their powerful effects. The authors of all those articles and editorials, all those manifestos and essays, all those exclamations and eulogies - what would they say if they knew you were writing something? They would urge you, in bold-faced print, to stop.

Clearly, the future is moving us proudly and zippily away from the written word, so writing a novel is actually interfering with the natural progress of modern society. It is old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy, a relic of a time when people took artistic expression seriously and found solace in a good story told well. We are in the process of disentangling ourselves from that kind of peace of mind, so it is rude for you to hinder the world by insisting on adhering to the beloved paradigms of the past. It is like sitting in a gondola, listening to the water carry you across the water, while everyone else is zooming over you in jetpacks, belching smoke into the sky. Stop it, is what the jet-packers would say to you. Stop it this instant, you in that beautiful craft of intricately-carved wood that is giving you such a pleasant journey.

Besides, there are already plenty of novels. There is no need for a new one. One could devote one's entire life to reading the work of Henry James, for instance, and never touch another novel by any other author, and never be hungry for anything else, the way one could live on nothing but multivitamin tablets and pureed root vegetables and never find oneself craving wild mushroom soup or linguini with clam sauce or a plain roasted chicken with lemon-zested dandelion greens or strong black coffee or a perfectly ripe peach or chips and salsa or caramel ice cream on top of poppyseed cake or smoked salmon with capers or aged goat cheese or a gin gimlet or some other startling item sprung from the imagination of some unknown cook. In fact, think of the world of literature as an enormous meal, and your novel as some small piddling ingredient - the drawn butter, for example, served next to a large, boiled lobster. Who wants that? If it were brought to the table, surely most people would ask that it be removed post-haste.

Even if you insisted on finishing your novel, what for? Novels sit unpublished, or published but unsold, or sold but unread, or read but unreread, lonely on shelves and in drawers and under the legs of wobbly tables. They are like seashells on the beach. Not enough people marvel over them. They pick them up and put them down. Even your friends and associates will never appreciate your novel the way you want them to. In fact, there are likely just a handful of readers out in the world who are perfect for your book, who will take it to heart and feel its mighty ripples throughout their lives, and you will likely never meet them, at least under the proper circumstances. So who cares? Think of that secret favorite book of yours - not the one you tell people you like best, but that book so good that you refuse to share it with people because they'd never understand it. Perhaps it's not even a whole book, just a tiny portion that you'll never forget as long as you live. Nobody knows you feel this way about that tiny portion of literature, so what does it matter? The author of that small bright thing, that treasured whisper deep in your heart, never should have bothered.

Of course, it may well be that you are writing not for some perfect reader someplace, but for yourself, and that is the biggest folly of them all, because it will not work. You will not be happy all of the time. Unlike most things that most people make, your novel will not be perfect. It may well be considerably less than one-fourth perfect, and this will frustrate you and sadden you. This is why you should stop. Most people are not writing novels which is why there is so little frustration and sadness in the world, particularly as we zoom on past the novel in our smoky jet packs soon to be equipped with pureed food. The next time you find yourself in a group of people, stop and think to yourself, probably no one here is writing a novel. This is why everyone is so content, here at this bus stop or in line at the supermarket or standing around this baggage carousel or sitting around in this doctor's waiting room or in seventh grade or in Johannesburg. Give up your n ovel, and join the crowd. Think of all the things you could do with your time instead of participating in a noble and storied art form. There are things in your cupboards that likely need to be moved around.

In short, quit. Writing a novel is a tiny candle in a dark, swirling world. It brings light and warmth and hope to the lucky few who, against insufferable odds and despite a juggernaut of irritations, find themselves in the right place to hold it. Blow it out, so our eyes will not be drawn to its power. Extinguish it so we can get some sleep. I plan to quit writing novels myself, sometime in the next hundred years.

--Lemony Snicket

first of all, best motivational email ever. which means i need to stop liking things that arent meant to be liked.

second of all, as i kept reading it, i was expecting it to stop being demotivational and suddenly be all motivational, but it didnt, except i think maybe the very last sentence, where he says that despite the fact that writing is stupid, he wont stop doing it.

so anyway, i was wondering, what is the purpose of this email? is it meant to be motivational, and if yes, how so?
i dun get it. :|

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:43 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
Look, he's trying to discourage you, but infuriate you in the end by saying that he will write until he dies. He's saying that you should give up, if you truly are not worth it, and let others who have already written much keep writing...He's just letting you know that if you're not interested in what you're doing, why are you doing it? If you're doing it so that others will read it, would you be happy to know that you would just be an insignificant figure in the face of the Earth? If you're doing it for the fun of it, then why make more things unread? If you're doing it for your friends, why do you listen to them if you don't like what they tell you to do?

My response, if I were to do it, is that I truly don't care. Of course I already know these things, but who cares? Even if I do it of my own accord, I made at least one person suffer by making him read a story. Or maybe I made another person happy by writing that story. Who knows? He's also telling you that this is not a good medium in order to excel in what you know best. Explore outside, look at other works, look at them, then go to your computer or pen and pencil, and write your heart out, and write, and write, and write, for it is your heart which is being placed out in that story. Just remember that the only ones who are ever going to read your stories are literate people, unless you help others to learn how to read.

I should probably show this to my Comp. 2 teacher...hmm...

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:16 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
dalonewolf25 wrote:
Look, he's trying to discourage you, but infuriate you in the end by saying that he will write until he dies. He's saying that you should give up, if you truly are not worth it, and let others who have already written much keep writing...He's just letting you know that if you're not interested in what you're doing, why are you doing it? If you're doing it so that others will read it, would you be happy to know that you would just be an insignificant figure in the face of the Earth? If you're doing it for the fun of it, then why make more things unread? If you're doing it for your friends, why do you listen to them if you don't like what they tell you to do?

My response, if I were to do it, is that I truly don't care. Of course I already know these things, but who cares? Even if I do it of my own accord, I made at least one person suffer by making him read a story. Or maybe I made another person happy by writing that story. Who knows? He's also telling you that this is not a good medium in order to excel in what you know best. Explore outside, look at other works, look at them, then go to your computer or pen and pencil, and write your heart out, and write, and write, and write, for it is your heart which is being placed out in that story. Just remember that the only ones who are ever going to read your stories are literate people, unless you help others to learn how to read.

I should probably show this to my Comp. 2 teacher...hmm...

ummm... ok.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:21 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
Actually, I've looked underneath the underneath, and I think that Snicket WANTS you to keep writing. He's just using his skills in wit and humor to his advantage. I mean, look at just how he describes the peaceful beauty of the gondola to the fast, ugly jetpack, mocking modern sensibilities about which way to live is more important to people now. I remember a similar use of satirical wit from C.S. Lewis.

I am very sure that he thinks you should keep writing. :)


Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:58 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
naylorfan90 wrote:
Actually, I've looked underneath the underneath, and I think that Snicket WANTS you to keep writing. He's just using his skills in wit and humor to his advantage. I mean, look at just how he describes the peaceful beauty of the gondola to the fast, ugly jetpack, mocking modern sensibilities about which way to live is more important to people now. I remember a similar use of satirical wit from C.S. Lewis.

I am very sure that he thinks you should keep writing. :)

ah, well that makes sense. that's in his style to do that.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:02 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
My friend the whole thing is a mix of extreme sarcasm and an attemt to antagonize you. By pointing out the futility in your endevor he is hopeing that you will become angry and continue inorder to, if nothing else, prove him wrong, somewhat like reverse psychology....

But that is just my thought on the matter and it does seem to fit...

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:26 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
well, i didnt think that he would purposefully attempt to deter anyone from writing, but i just barely failed to see what he was doing. but such facetious writing is a very lemmony snicket thing to do, so i think i got it now. thank ya.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:29 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
Yes he does have that kind of a character to him.... Glad I could help in some way.....

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:31 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
Reverse psychology?

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Last edited by Spargo on Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:34 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
I have said it before and I will say it again I cannot spell.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:37 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
Ah sorry I didn't see it, ignore me

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:38 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
Silly me, what I was trying to say through all my ranting was that it was all reverse psychology, but meh. The writers up above have better ways of conveying this idea. E|;D

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:11 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
can i use your hat?

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:12 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
Sure, why not?

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:14 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
I read that beautifully composed letter, then I read the comments, Then I read it again. I do not see what you are talking about. I saw no reverse psychology, no antagonizing, nothing of that sort. In fact, all I saw was pure motivation in what he wrote. Maybe, I am looking at something different, or maybe I am looking too far into this, but that is my two cents, and I will defend my reasoning if need be.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:52 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
?

the entire letter is written as if he was asked to tell the audience why they should give up.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:54 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
Copper, you have an anyliticall mind. You see the reverse psycology without realising that it is there because your mind has already looked past the face value of the letter and anylised the contense... I have a friend that does this to my work all the time, I believe that it is helpful yet it restricts subtelty...

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:10 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
You're looking at it too literally. He contradicts himself at every turn, and his reasons for quitting are absurd and meant to be taken in the reverse of what is said. Just look at his examples:

-The authors of all those articles and editorials, all those manifestos and essays, all those exclamations and eulogies - what would they say if they knew you were writing something? They would urge you, in bold-faced print, to stop.
Would they really say to stop? I think that they would encourage you. They do what they do because they love it, and just because it is dying means nothing.


- Look at the imagery in the second paragraph. He uses the example of the gondola to give you the idea that progress isn't always the best thing for society. You shouldn't stop because it is a decaying art form. Artistic expression is eternal. Choose the more enjoyable form instead of the fastest. Okay, I cannot express this point right now, so just forget it. It makes no sense in my head, and I am not expressing it right.

- The third paragraph uses the imagery of food to convey the message that people prefer variety, and get bored of the same things. Don't stop because their are already so many novels out there. Your novel will have it's own flavor, pardon the pun. It will be a small ingredient that adds to the cacophony of the dish that is the world of literature.

- I think that the fourth paragraph is self-explanatory. The last part especially, since it points out your own personal favorite. You shouldn't focus on how many people will read it or if it will get published. You should focus on the possibility that it could affect someone deeply. That last sentence explains his point beautifully.

-The last real paragraph is best explained in the first sentence, since it is if you are writing for yourself. You may get frustrated or saddened by the process of writing, but it is worth it in the end. He points out the absurdity of thinking that that is a good reason to quit. People get sad and frustrated all the time, and everything created has flaws. The world is full of frustration and sadness, and you will get frustrated or sad again, so don't quit just because of that. You will be a better person for it in the end. I think this sentence sums it up best:
Give up your n ovel, and join the crowd. Think of all the things you could do with your time instead of participating in a noble and storied art form. There are things in your cupboards that likely need to be moved around.


-The last little bit is awesome. He is saying that writing a novel is a powerful thing. It is a flickering candle that not only lights the soul of the reader who takes it to heart, but also the one who wrote it. He wants you to finish writing your novel.


I am horrible at my thoughts, so I apologize for how this came out. If only I was a writer I could tell you better what this means. All I can really say is that you need to look, not at the words, but at the context of the letter as a whole. It could be considered reverse psychology, but that would mean that he wanted you to take the letter at face value, and I don't think that was his intention at all. :x I really hope you get what I'm trying to say in this jumbled mess. Sorry for the rant.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:50 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
That is what I am looking at my friend, I am a writer so I got the essence of this passage the first time I looked at it and I agree with you compleetly. What you just decribed IS reverse psycology, or at least a version of it common in his writing style....

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:56 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
hmm...
*thinks about this*
i think i get what your saying, and if i do, then thats probably something he'd do to. in any case, if i read it more carefully, id have picked up on that. but yeah, that makes sense.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:01 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
You are beginning to see the light! try not to stair at it to long, it can damage the eyes....

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:09 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
It's a parody of the reasons people don't write.

"Nobody will like it." "I'm not any good." "People don't read books anymore."

I think the point's been made and there's really no reason to keep whacking this (by now) quite deceased horse. Also, there is a tone of condescension afoot in some recent replies, please do your best to tamp it down.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:22 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
actually, diss, you can go ahead and kill this thread.

Moderator Edit: Thread Closed at Originator's Request.

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:29 pm
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Post Re: cool! ...wait, what?
I do apologise if I came across as condesending. it was unintentional I assure you. I am sorry... :(

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Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:37 pm
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