Provoking the dread
For me, the end of October is always slightly tinged with dread -- provoked not by Halloween spooks, not even by election season, but by the advent of something called NaNoWriMo. If those syllables are nothing but babble to you, then I salute you. They stand for National Novel Writing Month.
[. . .]
The purpose of NaNoWriMo seems laudable enough. Above all, it fosters the habit of writing every single day, the closest thing to a universally prescribed strategy for eventually producing a book. NaNoWriMo spurs aspiring authors to conquer their inner critics and blow past blocks. Only by producing really, really bad first drafts can many writers move on to the practice that results in decent work: revision.
[. . .]
I am not the first person to point out that "writing a lot of crap" doesn't sound like a particularly fruitful way to spend an entire month, even if it is November. And from rumblings in the Twitterverse, it's clear that NaNoWriMo winners frequently ignore official advice about the importance of revision; editors and agents are already flinching in anticipation of the slapdash manuscripts they'll shortly receive.
[. . .]
Why does giving yourself permission to write a lot of crap so often seem to segue into the insistence that other people read it? [. . .] But even if every one of these 30-day novelists prudently slipped his or her manuscript into a drawer, all the time, energy and resources that go into the enterprise strike me as misplaced.
[. . .]
It was yet another depressing sign that the cultural spaces once dedicated to the selfless art of reading are being taken over by the narcissistic commerce of writing. And an astonishing number of individuals who want to do the former will confess to never doing the latter.
[. . .]
This is not to say that I don't hope that more novels will be written, particularly by the two dozen-odd authors whose new books I invariably snatch up with a suppressed squeal of excitement. [. . .] But I'm confident those novels would still get written even if NaNoWriMo should vanish from the earth.
Yet while there's no shortage of good novels out there, there is a shortage of readers for these books. (Laura Miller, “Better yet, DON’T write that novel,” Salon, 2 Nov. 2010)
Re: “And from rumblings in the Twitterverse, it's clear that NaNoWriMo winners frequently ignore official advice about the importance of revision; editors and agents are already flinching in anticipation of the slapdash manuscripts they'll shortly receive.”
This to me is the problem. Potentially, if every child was born into a challenging, nurturing, uber-literate environment (and what are we as a species fighting for, if not that), we could have a whole population efforting to write their first novel some November-on, and they'd all smack of unmistakable promise -- and given the evidence of such good work, we'd force ourselves beyond the appealing workableness of the idea that there is never more than a near curriculum-containing number of true artists out there, and get to work figuring out how the most appropriate readers of a work do end up finding that particular work from amongst the ridiculous treasure-horde of excess (if you only had twenty readers of your work, if they were all Shelleys, Coleridges, or Alcotts, would you care?).
But since in actuality few do the editing, the refinement, the being-fair-to-their-own-material, to their own potential ability to articulate best (or at least better) what they want to say, you do have the sense that few amongst them actually are literate, really appreciate what literacy has to offer you OVER dopamine-rush excitements in whatever form -- whether hurried novel-writing, or losing some two hundred pounds of fat (and gaining a taut mind that thereafter only thinks of muscle) to urgent use of the treadmill -- and I think it is fair game here for Laura to insist on their trying-out a measured bit of library book light-lifting instead.
Too bad, though, because there is a more interesting conversation to be had here, one that would challenge literate writers to appreciate that given all that they now tend to do when they edit, they might be at the point where their work would benefit more than it loses from being loosed out of grasp before the second-glance can reconvene and reconsider.
You work that superior dance, church lady.
How do you survive existing among such lesser beings?
Re: "You work that superior dance, church lady.
How do you survive existing among such lesser beings?"
After our conversation / essential agreement on "Almost Famous," my sense was we were more the same than different. Still, I included way too many "works" in my first post, and am too humble-feeling now to orient on your most-any-other-time fair question.
This is a harder issue to just agree on than you might think, though. Unlike Laura, I find what we get most of from our "best" writers is agreeable, well-written work, that should still ultimately launch us into tirades out of it being at bottom too nice, too safe, too much in accord, too much of what literature is not supposed to be about, but doesn't because we have enough sense of our current fragility, that there are, unfortunately, possibilities out there whose consideration we know would rock us silly, to go anywhere near broaching the issue. So I think it is convenient for these writers, or for literate reviewers like Laura, that there are maybe no massings out there right now (for me, Stewart and Colbert included) properly identified as both populist AND sane, because the truth of this fact is so informed by generous lending-to and earnest experience of, that almost any counter is too accurately sized up as ignorant or gross-appetite-inhibition born to do anything but the preferred: abate self-doubts, and root current preferences more trenchedly in place.
Right now at least, I do not trust earnest, mass efforts. It is the aristocratic "take," and such can be cruelly intended and completely misinformed, but right now individualism, a fully-formed personality, is in the path of aggressive, swarming, insistent group-think / impulse, and I despise when those who ought to know better praise the inclinations of those who would eat them up. Other times, it could well be democratic, generous, and open: ranging, wild, Louisianan sniper-fire that makes mincemeat of ordered British regimentation. But not now.
@Patrick Mc... Halston
Patrick: "But since in actuality few do the editing, the refinement, the being-fair-to-their-own-material..."
Serious question: How do you know the ratio of people who are self-critical and realistic to those who are self-congratulatory and delusional?
Patrick: "...few amongst them actually are literate, really appreciate what literacy has to offer you OVER dopamine-rush excitements in whatever form -- whether hurried novel-writing..."
A regimented writing exercise might be many things, but a generator of dopamine-rush excitement is not one of them. Writing eight pages of text per day, even lousy text, still requires a degree of patience, focus and frustration. The way you describe it, the writer is sitting there merrily typing away, going "Wooo hooo! I'm making literature here!" and then collapsing into a misguided heap of euphoria.
Patrick: "I think it is fair-game here for Laura to insist on their trying-out a measured bit of library-book light-lifting instead."
Again with the Fallacy of Mutual Exclusivity. There is no reason why a person could not both participate in NNWM and also devote time and effort to reading more. (Obviously that person would be strapped for time if he tried to do both in November, but you get my drift.) (Xrandadu Hutman, response to post))
Re: "Serious question: How do you know the ratio of people who are self-critical and realistic to those who are self-congratulatory and delusional?"
Okay. Honestly. Laura's comment that few in fact do the editing that they all ostensibly agree is required, is a big tip-off. Also, I don't believe we are going through a time when any collective effort that would principally appeal to the self-critical and realistic, is going to reach mass form. Franzen frowned on Oprah, for good reason; she is still too much sensation. As mentioned in my post to softdog, I am thinking of Stewart and Colbert's massing-for-sanity as well.
Re: "A regimented writing exercise might be many things, but a generator of dopamine-rush excitement is not one of them. Writing eight pages of text per day, even lousy text, still requires a degree of patience, focus and frustration. The way you describe it, the writer is sitting there merrily typing away, going "Wooo hooo! I'm making literature here!" and then collapsing into a misguided heap of euphoria."
Well, there is some play here. But, yeah, I considered this point before I wrote, but still wrote what I wrote because it smacked more true than false. Pretty much the entirety of a year-long war can be (largely, essentially) irrational, primarily dopamine-fueled and sustained, despite the pin-point shot amidst the errant-fire, the frequent intermissions, the thereafter General's talk of strategy and tactics; a one-month slog at a novel is a stretch beyond the evening blur, but to me, still readily potentially mostly rush. Barbarians used to raid bare-chested, mostly drunk, sacrificing themselves to their foes; they were coordinated enough to master running, charging, and axe-slicing, but they went about their albeit-somewhat-coordinated business in poor fashion for victory. I know I'm not convincing you with this, but it's what comes to mind.
Re: "Again with the Fallacy of Mutual Exclusivity. There is no reason why a person could not both participate in NNWM and also devote time and effort to reading more. (Obviously that person would be strapped for time if he tried to do both in November, but you get my drift.)"
But Laura is saying that something about (the coloring of) this movement attracts people who in the end DON'T do both, and it may be true that something of the selling of this movement actually further UPRAISES those intent on exhaling themselves all over the rest of us, and DISCOURAGES, wicked step sister-like pushes away, those into self-recalibration and interested, respectful, other-attendance.
Do You Really Believe, @Patrick....
... that people who try to write a novel during NaNoWiMo really need Laura Miller, or you, to "insist" that they "[try] out a measured bit of library-book light-lifting instead"?
I just don't know who it is you people are talking to. I've never met anybody involved in this activity who wasn't also an avid reader. Maybe not during November - but are they really cheating the literary world if they don't read other people's book EVERY month of their lives?
This is a way for people to try out writing, rather than just thinking about it. There are, of course, other ways to try out writing - but this is a way that a bunch of people seem to enjoy and get something out of. I have no idea why "real writers" like you and Laura Miller feel the need to denigrate the effort, much less "insist" (!) that they do something else instead.
People enjoying themselves, engaging with the written word, having a sense of accomplishment, maybe getting past some of their blocks - what a disaster for Real Literature! (Spectrum Rider)
A whole novel in a single month, is like a plateful of hotdogs stuffed into your mouth. If you market book writing as if you're appealing to the carnival-accomplishment taste of the Doritos crowd, then I think you should expect for the discerning to shy away, and creatures of appetite to be all over it!
Like I said, massings can afford safety, and be all about wonderful productivity and shared fun. A multiplication of but not really different from the group games that lead Mary Shelley to write "Frankenstein," and inspired her for the first time to actually feel fully individuated and self-determined. My experience of groups right now suggests this isn't much the time for this kind of thing, that just hearing of collective enterprise should spur on individualists to take on the mass. Laura I think is intent to take them on -- she wants them to improve. This makes her different from many of the cruelly and truly snobbish (e.g. most movie critics who went after fan-boys of "Inception"), who would produce in their own mind a land full of stupids even if no such constituted the actual lay of the land.
She's Saying It, @Patrick
"But Laura is saying that something about (the coloring of) this movement attracts people who in the end DON'T do both, and it may be true that something of the selling of this movement actually further UPRAISES those intent on exhaling themselves all over the rest of us, and DISCOURAGES, Cinderalla-like pushes away, those into self-recalibration and interested, respectful, other-attendence."
Yes, she's saying it. Based on the NNWM people I've know, I don't believe it. Why do you?
It seems to be an opinion shared by "real" writers and "real" editors, but not by the folks on the ground here. I think it's sheer snobbishness. Those foolish jerks who THINK they can write a novel - they simply MUST be spoiling it for the rest of us! (Spectrum Rider)
"we could have a whole population efforting to write their first novel"
I'll read your criticism when your literacy and writing skills improve to the point that it's beyond babbling incoherence.
And "efforting?" SERIOUSLY??? (Discoursarian)
Patrick: "Laura is saying that something about (the coloring of) this movement attracts people who in the end DON'T do both, and it may be true that something of the selling of this movement actually further UPRAISES those intent on exhaling themselves all over the rest of us, and DISCOURAGES, Cinderalla-like pushes away, those into self-recalibration and interested, respectful, other-attendence."
I realize that's what Laura is saying; what I don't see is any proof of it. Upraises how? Discourages how? The way I see it, if people are encouraged to write, and to connect with each other over their writing, then a likely by-product is that they will also be reading each other's works. I would also think that the experience of writing a whole novel would bring a fresh perspective to the act of reading.
I just don't understand the very idea of Laura Miller knocking what is essentially a program to encourage people's imaginations and creativity. She's supposed to be a person with an appreciation for the act of creativity, yet here she is taking a dump on those who would have the gall to participate in the creative process. It seems entirely wrongheaded to me, and I feel like it is, in itself, an article gimmick (the idea being that more people will click on a negative story than a positive one) rather than a genuine sentiment.
Like I said, imagine a film lover telling people they're foolish for participating in the 48-Hour Film Project.
Or imagine a music critic scoffing at a program that encourages bands to write and record songs, because the critic thinks "The last thing the world needs is another album" and "A lot of those bands probably won't do the hard work of remixing their recordings." (Xrandadu Hutman)
Re: "Like I said, imagine a film lover telling people they're foolish for participating in the 48-Hour Film Project.
Or imagine a music critic scoffing at a program that encourages bands to write and record songs, because the critic thinks "The last thing the world needs is another album" and "A lot of those bands probably won't do the hard work of remixing their recordings."
I do not believe that Laura is telling people to desist mostly because she sighs that the last thing the world needs is yet another novel-writer; she does so because she believes / senses / knows that the last thing these would-be novelists need is another avenue to extend their indulgent selves. Rather, if they are up to the truly considerable and self-and-other-benefiting enterprise, she believes they should first broaden their range through the compare-and-contrast of literature, become more self-aware, profound, interesting, and then launch at us -- at whatever speed -- something perhaps unrefined but obviously considerable that might take us aback, drives us some place unfamiliar most everyone interesting will at least consider exploring.
If I was noting from 48-Hour Film Projects that the produced work is not really working to deepen film-makers, and in fact was cooperating in making thin novices feel that their high from manic self-exertion / enterprise and "I made a film!" exhilaration, also really comes from their having demonstrated that they are such quick-learners, so foruitously constituted, that they have moved beyond the patient, slow learning ostensibly necessarily required for true accomplishment, then I would alert them to the fact that Deweyite "learning through action" true wisdom is clearly failing, at least for them, that they're going to have to learn to appreciate extending themselves on turf that will provide them with less pleasing, more confounding, resistance. If I noticed otherwise, that these projects were working not just to extend their abilities but deepen what they have to offer, then I might even discourage them from too much attendance to what others have come up with, and attack those who would school down their efforts through calls for a more disciplined, restrained, approach.
Patrick McEvoy-Halston: "I do not believe that Laura is telling people to desist mostly because she sighs that the last thing the world needs is yet another novel-writer..."
That is explicitly what she said. In any case, I'm not sure what is to be benefited from doing guesswork as to Laura Miller's motives.
Patrick: "she does so because she believes / senses / knows that the last thing these would-be novelists need is another avenue to extend their indulgent selves."
Another avenue in addition to what? Are there a bunch of other write-a-novel-in-a-month programs out there?
Patrick: "she believes they should first broaden their range through the compare-and-contrast of literature"
I see you're doubling down on the Fallacy of Mutual Exclusivity.
Patrick: "If I was noting from 48-Hour Film Projects that the produced work is not really working to deepen film-makers"
The point of the project, nor of the NNWM, is about the creative process. The NNWM program materials make it very clear that for the purposes of this exercise, they favor quantity over quality. Obviously, the NNWM creators know full well the limitations that come with that approach, and, let me repeat this for about the fifth time: They aren't claiming people are going to end up with ready-to-publish works.
Patrick: "...and in fact was cooperating in making thin-novices feel that their high...also really comes from their having demonstrated that they are such quick-learners, so foruitously constituted, that they have moved beyond the patient, slow learning ostensibly necessarily required for true accomplishment..."
Wow, you really labored to come up with that mashed-potatoes pile of assumptions, didn't you? That's practically a miniature Devil's Tower of Worst Case Scenario.
Sorry, but with everybody making hot dog metaphors, I can't help but join in with some potatoes. (Xrandadu Hutman)
I bet you had to walk to school in snow up to your chest, uphill, both ways, too!
Eh, different people are different. Anyone who doesn't understand that is not human enough to be the kind of writer I would want to read. Some people need a push, or a challenge, or some way to turn off those nagging voices in their heads.
Whatever works. NaNoWriMo works for some.
To you, and Laura and Patrick - get over yourselves. You're not that special. (khalleron)
You believe it's hard to get writing, and that NaNoWriMo is about challenging, prompting, cajoling / aggravating people to finally get doing what they've always wanted to do. It's a much-needed / appreciated agitant, not some facile enabler: it's actually working to bring people a bit closer to where Laura would hope they become, and it could only be out of still-haughty ignorance that some good person like her could disparage it. Some of us see the situation differently, sense the movement is somehow mostly about gathering, aggrandizing, authoratizing mass "preferences" (your brave extension is for us a sighted effort of significant overlay we are no so stupid as to dismiss), and hope some people out there in some credible position to do so will insist on doing the soon truly dangerous but intrinsically kind / hopeful, and prompt, aggravate, members of the forming assemble so that it settles less readily / assuredly into something that would block from consideration what is clear-seeing, en potentia -- sane.
When Stephanie Zacharek insisted in her review of "Inception" that Nolan is no Hitchcock, she wasn't just being smug; she was trying to be fair to her informed sense of what is truly right, and be helpful. She sensed the encroachment, the false substitution, and knew it was ultimately instigated out of a need to do the required to block from view authorities that still "stand" that complicate efforts towards uncontested group-think, that could disturb one or another from trance, and played to whatever part exists in those who are succumbing that has been drawn previously to what she has to say, in hopes of keeping that much more sanity "in play."
Laura is doing the same thing here. If you like what Laura has to say before this, please know for sure that if she met more of you, caught better sight of how much you actually do read, actually participated in the event, and read more of your produced work, she wouldn't think any different. You honestly think you want to "acquaint" her, but don't realize just how much you would rather more have her succumb. (The instant Laura stood amongst you, you'd know the issue is how to break her -- she will not cooperate, "friend.") We know you're about the modest, the smallest pretense, claiming only the tiniest of space and most modest portion of our time, but we sense something in the nature of the time we live in that tells us you're actually already probably at some level aware you're going to be carried along to trample all over us. You think elites like Laura are the ones with power -- and right now you'd prefer to never think different -- but power now really belongs in those who would abstain from being interesting and would orient the elite to be less true counter and more an assumed part of the story. The most sane and good "about town," won't go down without a fight, for both your and our sakes. Franzen obliged Oprah, and "Freedom" was his proof of submission; his friend, Laura, liked his book but was irked by its terminating capitulation, and stands still, trying to not let you down.
Oh, did I hit a nerve?
I love puncturing pomposity, it's my fourth or fifth favorite pastime.
- - - - -
As a published writer, NaNoWriMo interested me. I have previously only written poetry, and if there's anything that sells fewer copies than fiction, it's poetry. In fact, fewer poetry books are actually read, purchased, or stolen than any other genre. I applaud anyone who picks up a book of poetry and actually reads it. (Windebygirl)
Everyone's entitled to an opinion
I'm am an independent author who'd never written anything longer than a short story before learning of NaNoWriMo back in 2007. (Gldrummond)
Respectfully, you missed the point
I found your piece and read it thoughtfully. I completely understand your point of view and agree that you make some fine points when speaking in generalities.
However, NaNoWriMo's contribution to art and letters is not about the hundred thousand participants who never finish their novel. Nor is it about the thousands more who fail to properly set the first draft aside, move on to another project to reinforce the habit of writing each day, and later return to the initial manuscript for an honest and thorough rewrite. NaNoWriMo, in my opinion, isn't even entirely for the hundreds of writers who *will* follow the proper steps, perform the due diligence and just fall short on the talent curve.
NaNoWriMo, in my opinion, is for two kinds of people: buried treasures and lifelong readers eager to try their hand at creating what they have so voraciously consumed. (Statesboro blues)
It was about two weeks when I read Andrew O'Herir's (a writer whom I've enjoyed a great deal) review of the newly-released "Secretariat".
Between the gratuitous references to "burning crosses", etcetera?...I reacted by writing a letter (the tone of which was a mix of irritation and disappointment) in which I basically asked why in the world O'Herir was suddenly writing such transparently "click inducing" (as in most of the bait offered by "Broadsheet") crap.
It just occurred to me (and, yes, Otherwise-Unengaged Me has come back, this morning, to this letter thread)...Oh?..has someone told Miller (whose work has always been duly appreciated, without raising any sort of ruckus) that she needs to write something that GETS MORE CLICKS!!!!!!
I think it was just last week that I wondered why she was suddenly (and this is a cheap, obvious gimmick that's simply become all-too-common on Salon) asking "What fictional characters would YOU equip with modern technology?....WRITE IN AND TELL US WHAT YOU WOULD DO!!!!!!! We'll look forward to seeing your responses on Salon.com!!!!!".
I read that (and I've obviously paraphrased it) and was instantly reminded of the recent time when I heard that a previously very-fine program produced by our local NPR affiliate was going to be IMPROVED (!) by adding "listener call-in, requests, and audience INTERACTION!!!!". (David Terry, aka Dterrydraw)
What a cow!
You are an arrogant (insert ugly word of your choice).
You don't sell well and perhaps you need to read something along the type of books you write: Article Writing for Dummies. (Anya Khan)
You're entitled to your opinion...
But we all know what opinion's and diapers have in common.... And well here's mine...(rasplundjr)
You are missing the point of NaNoWriMo
I think you misunderstand both the purpose of NaNoWriMo and the novel writing process.
NaNoWriMo does not claim that you will have a *publishable* novel by the end of the month, nor does it claim that you should send your NaNo novel off to agents. NaNo is about getting words down on paper. I had to write 3,000 pages of crap to get to my 324-page (published by Simon & Schuster) novel. (Dorothy hearst)
Poor woman wasn't a winner.
I suspect Ms. Miller attempted NaNoWriMo and failed. No one could possibly be this worked up over something that others do for fun without having personal experience with it. Lol (BlueBKLYN)
Another published novelist here -- in about 10 countries, with fiction nominated for major awards and, to top it off, a Ph.D. and publications in VOGUE, NY TIMES, and many other prestigious markets. Am I good enough to address you, Ms. Miller? (Greeneyedkzin)
more than just writing
I have always loved reading Laura Miller's defense of readers, and as someone who works in publishing I understand the "don't flood the market with schlock you were encouraged to write badly" message. But I think this time she's missed the mark by focusing on what NaNoWriMo sometimes produces (overeager novelists unwilling to revise) instead of what the process provides. (meganlyn)
When someone's shown she no longer need be considered
Well, the whole spectrum has shown up to inform Laura she doesn't know what she's talking about. Not just spurned participants, that is, but well-published authors who've never tried the thing, as well as editors who know slush-pile better than Laura does -- even of picky-picky literary journals. Heck, even the voice of all that is generous, patient, allowing, reluctant, restrained, thoughtful and considering -- David "draw" Terry -- has decided he must show up to let Laura know she's maybe having a bit of an off-day with this one. David does all his modesty and fairness in a way which probably makes more than just me feel as if he's being wide-stanced into a corner while listening to this most 'greeable of personages, but, overall, we're still though, comfortably all-agreed: Laura is so beyond-all-evidence off on this thing it may not even be unfair to start considering if she IS actually lessening into a witch, an isolated cretin whose crime, though, is not just ignorance but greedy jealousy, who figures some score that no other than she is aware of will be settled if she collects together some large share of clicks from out of other people's misery.
But is it possible for representatives of every position to "convene," representing the entirety of everything at-all possible to be considered, and yet for it still to amount to a collective assembled to keep out anything dissonant that does exist and that would provoke it out of a drama it's drifting into and that JUST MUST be lived out? Well, yes, it is. During the Great Depression, for instance. For a few years at the commencement there were pot-shots taken at the struggling / trying, but very soon everyone was agreed -- the astonishingly literate and completely illiterate, the earnest and wise-cracking: all -- that the people are as they are being presented here, decent "folk" with no pretensions, giving it their best shot, doing the intrinsically American and just trying to make something more of themselves and of their lives, and only the hugest ass would know them different. The few people who "objected," who argued, no, these people are shrunk, lacking in sustenance, personality -- requiring not a voice at the table but some beginning of a differentiated voice at-all worth hearing -- hardly existed, and when present, hardly known, gaining larger recognition only 30-years on, after the war, with the beginning of a new era-long period where everything that was known for sure could finally be seen in a different light, and be reevaluated.
As Morris Dickstein recently said of Nathaniel West, who saw in the folk simply still the "drained-out" mass, he "would paint their fury with respect, appreciating its awful, anarchic power and aware that they had it in them to destroy civilization." Laura IS civitas. If people like her succumb, soften their stance, see your point-of-view and try in the future to be fairer to you, it's going to naught but prescribed agreement the rest of the way on. If this isn't your thing, you're going to have to learn to take solace with that maybe subsequent generation who might better recall you, while you're removed from today's hot-seat back to the corner playing solitaire.
The 60s, or 30s?
One final admission. The 1960s was not a time for restrained, discerning readers (maybe not even for readers, so much more was it into rock 'n roll, community life, and your own take); it was more about letting out the previously contained / denied, the irrational, the not-tried-out, than it was about the 2nd, 3rd, 4th careful re-edit. The old T. S. Eliotian trinity of irony, ambiguity, paradox was being challenged by a favoring of spirit and appetite, and the old guard could only lament how even their best pupils were drifting away from "profound and carefully organized" writing toward the "hopped-up" and way-too-insufficiently considered (Dickstein, "Gates of Eden"). And it wasn't as it is now an elite Brooklyn/Berkeley control, but funneling out of every variant nobody corner of the land. Any piece, however inarticulate, that spoke your truth, was better than the mountain-castle of learned but repressed naysayers, hiding. You had at least begun, whereas their whole effort was about telling people not to.
And the 60s was the best decade known to wo/man.
So if you think NaMoWrMo is mostly about recognizing, encouraging, developing the at-least possibly beautiful that is so often contained by intolerant, self-protecting elites -- your creativity, for instance -- look back to the 60s: you've got ammo on your side that might balk back arguments that you're not reading enough, or that you're not reading the right type, or that you may be reading the right type but not in the right way, without any recourse to proof of contra; for all the same was said of even the intellectuals of the 60s, and who now looks to Trilling as Ginsberg's master/better?
But if we're heading into another 30s / 40s, then understand that you aren't going to prove true Romantics, together, urging on your own voice / creativity, but a gobbling, intolerant horde -- the most profoundly societal-inhibiting / repressive / scolding / all-determining force; the soon-to-be-in Laura's ostensible place -- and you'll be making sure that the few people like she who is not dismayed, find no respected vehicle for their voice to be heard.