Tatten reflects on a writing month
by Lex Thomas
If you don’t have the ambition yourself to write a novel — preferably a best seller — you probably know someone that does. As a writer, not only do I harbor this ambition myself, but I have constantly thrust upon me peo¬ple that do. In fact,”I’m writing a book,” is one of the most com-mon comments I hear, once people know that I’m a writer and editor. They gravitate as if I can somehow imbue the magic that makes a novel appear.
The fact is that writing is hard work. Whether it’s a factual opus as brief as a letter to the editor or a full-fledged expose, or a work of fiction ranging from a short story to a multi-
part novel, the work is grueling. It demands blood. It will shorten your life.
A few of us experienced this during this year’s Na-tional Novel Writing Month event, popularly dubbed NalloWriMo. The concept behind NalloWriMo is that you write 50,000 words during the month of Novem-ber. Why November is beyond the scope of this article. NalloWriMo could just as easily be applied to any month, although 31-day months give a slight advan-tage. Let’s not even talk about February.
In Sterling, we are fortunate to have a library staff and Board of Trustees that are enthusiastically committed to the creative endeavors of writers in town and through¬out the region. LibraryTrustee Ray Tatten was thinking about how to incorporate NalloWriMo into Conant
Public Library’s roster, when Director Pat Campbell
asked him to spearhead the program. „
Not only did Tatten coordinate “write-in” gatherings for the six local participants, but he was the only one to complete the project within the month.
In fact, he clocked 50,600 words in just 21 days. He believes that coordinating the event was the major reason he completed it. But he also came into it with a story in mind, which he says is a key to success.
“1 had a story that had been percolating in my mind for 35 years;’ he says “I really wanted to tell the story, and NalloWriMo was the perfect vehicle.’
Tatten’s story was inspired by a historical o marker off of Route 62 in Lancaster corn-
memorating the location where a -16-year-
old boy was taken captive by Indians dur-
ing the early 1700s. The boy and two adult men were transported to Canada, but instead of killing them, the Indians ransomed them to the French gov-ernor in Canada. The captives, members of the Sawyer