Message from My Igloo

6 Nov

So I’m sitting in front of the keyboard, shivering and needing to use the facilities, but just can’t make myself go out into the cold to do it–meaning leave my office and face the world’s distractions.


The facilities are out the door to the rear

Yes, folks. It’s NaNoWriMo time. And I’m working on a novel that’s been in the works for twenty years. But it wasn’t until just recently that I had a handle on the tone I wanted to set. Enter from stage left: Dan Chaon.

You know how sometimes another writer’s work speaks to you so strongly, it feels like you’ve inhabited their body? Or maybe they’ve taken over yours? So much so, that it becomes an out-of-body experience.

I’ve been reading Chaon’s collection of short stories, Stay Awake, again, as inspiration. For good or evil, he is my mentor.

I will be steeping myself in the rest of his work this month, Among the Missing (National Book Award Finalist), You Remind Me of Me, and Await Your Reply. Let’s hope some of his mojo rubs off on me.

Hope you all are keeping toasty by the fire… 


or in the case of those down under, enjoying the beginnings of summer.

20 Responses to “Message from My Igloo”

  1. Carrie Rubin November 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Congratulations on finding someone who sparks your own mojo and creativity. Good luck!

  2. FictionFan November 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Don’t forget to eat lots of chocolate – got to keep your strength up! Good luck! 🙂

    • Jilanne Hoffmann November 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      Thanks! I can’t do the full-on, dark chocolate yummy stuff because of the Meniere’s problem, but I’ve stocked the igloo with chocolate pudding. Next best thing. 😮

  3. Kate is November 7, 2013 at 4:24 am #

    Summer has arrived early. Thank you for returning it. I worry every year you might decide to keep it.
    Congrats on getting the feel of this novel you’ve been brewing. Yes, I do understanding the inspiration from another. Keep at it.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann November 7, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Thanks, Kate! Think of the change of seasons as a game of slo-mo tennis between the northern and southern hemispheres.

      Now, back to writing….

  4. heylookawriterfellow November 7, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    Good luck with NaNo, my friend.

    As for me. I am in the thick of PiBo.

    I am also taking a very active role in ShSaGiThLiMyLiDeOnIt (Shill “Sarah Gives Thanks” Like My Life Depends On It).

  5. Call of the Siren November 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    There’s something really exciting about finding a book/author that serves as a mentor/inspiration. I can see why you’ve connected with Chaon, in light of your previous post about him, Jil. Mine’s been William Styron, which is good and bad. I wish you well, my friend!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann November 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

      Thanks, Nick! I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read Styron. What is the good and the bad? Is there any ugly? 😮 Sorry…

  6. Letizia November 10, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    A writer’s igloo – I love it! write away, girl!!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann November 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      Thanks, Letizia! I’m behind on my word count. Have had many family and work-related distractions. Stay tuned….will try to catch up in the coming weeks.

      • Letizia November 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

        Family and work- always seem to get in the way, don’t they? 😉

  7. 4amWriter November 13, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Ooh, that fire looks so inviting. I wish I had a fireplace in my home that I could curl next to and write. Glad you found some writing inspiration. Keep it up!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann November 13, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      Struggling. Struggling. Lots of family-related “trauma” that is taking up much of my NaNo writing time. Discouraged. Trying to make headway. Thanks for the cheer!

  8. Lady Fancifull December 19, 2013 at 2:36 am #

    Hey Jilanne – that you for your heads up last month on Chaon. I bought Stay Awake, am nearing the end (only 2 more stories to go) and, oh, how fine this collection is. Sneakily, snakily, difficult to grasp but his writing and his characters insidiously burrow under the skin!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann December 19, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Oh, I’m so glad you’re enjoying them! I think one of the interesting things about his books is that his characters are so often mysteries to themselves. Watching them try to figure out the world and their lives is fascinating and sometimes excruciatingly painful.

      • Lady Fancifull December 19, 2013 at 9:52 am #

        An excellent way of putting things – mysteries to themselves. I think that is what gives them reality – who, after all, knows themselves, through and through, and does not at times experience themselves like a stranger. He has left me puzzling the ‘I’ of me!


  1. Dan Chaon – Stay Awake | Lady Fancifull - December 23, 2013

    […] Chaon, a Cleveland writer, was strongly recommended to me, by fellow blogger and writer Jilanne Hoffmann, who was spot on both in her enthusiasm for Chaon, and the sense I would also appreciate his rather […]

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