Motto of the Day: No Fear


I’m 75 or so pages into this monster, and guess what? I still haven’t bombed Pearl Harbor. I think my main character is getting bored, thinking, “Uhm, I thought that with NaNoWriMo around to kick your ass into gear, we can finally get around to starting the damn war. So. Is that ever going to happen, or is the novel going to end up being My Dinner With Catherine at the Cathay?”

I think the fear of starting something as massive as the bombing of Pearl Harbor — such a defining moment in world history — is holding me back from just diving into it. The incident holds such monumental significance in my head — drilled into me by years and years of American History, Japanese History, and World History, not to mention my own residence in Japan for a few years — that tackling it seems nothing short of daunting.

What I like about my story, of course, and one of the main things that attracted me to the story in the first place, is the view of the war from the civilian side. I so rarely see any books or films about the Pacific War told from the point of view of anyone other than the soldiers or military officers directly engaged in combat. And yet millions and millions of people on both sides of the conflict were killed, beginning from the time of Japan’s invasion of Manchuria all the way until they surrendered post-Nagasaki. I’ve always been far more interested in the stories of ordinary people caught in the fires of war; in this one alone, millions of individual stories await to be told.

Pearl Harbor was a military and diplomatic failure of the greatest magnitude, and yet how did it affect the average person? Obviously it was unbelievably traumatic, but for a lot of civilians what came afterward was much, much worse. Unlike the actual bombing itself, which people far away only read about in newspapers and heard on the radio, the war unfolded in a terrifying, violent way for a great many people in their cities, homes and neighborhoods, where you would never dream that such unspeakable evil could ever happen. And yet it did, and sometimes it was inflicted by people whom you once trusted and loved.

I wonder how I’m going to translate the intimate nature of war for civilians caught unexpectedly in the center of all the horror and bloodshed. I guess that’s why Pearl Harbor is still long in coming, although I’m at least now at the point where the actual event is less than 24 hours away. And I’ll admit that I really like lingering over this dinner I’m writing about at the famed Cathay Restaurant in Singapore. I suppose it’s just me still fascinated with the fin de siecle mood of prewar Singapore, before all hell broke loose. Time enough to worry about the bloodshed in the morning.


11 thoughts on “Motto of the Day: No Fear

  1. Wowie, Marjorie! Congratulations on your <>superduper<> word count today! I’ll have a great one for today, too — I’m not quite done, though; I’m taking a little break before I get back to it. But this has been one heck of a great Saturday for us writers! 🙂I admire you for tacking such a multi-faceted subject — I agree with you, there are too few views, stories, of the war told from the point of view of civilians, and those voices are so important. And the Pearl Harbor bombing was so momentous, so pivotal, so it seems natural that you would want to explore your characters’ paths in your story before they reach that point. Best of luck — your story sounds challenging and so very fascinating!

  2. Ha, I must need glasses — congrats on your superduper word count from <>yesterday<>, and I hope NaNo is going well for you today, too, my friend!ARGH, the NaNo site has been down all day. I hope it comes back up soon!

  3. Ate Marj!!waaahhh!!One question lang po..about dun sa nano.. Do I really need to write a novel? As in novel talaga ate?! di ko pa siya nasisimulan kasi I don’t even know when and how to start..Buti pa kayo ng writing buddy mo andami na naisulat.. Keep it up cousin!and good luck din sa’kin..nagmamahal,aizelle

  4. TL,Thank you! Yeah, the weekends are actually my tougher times because that’s when all I want to do is spend time with the hubby, ya know? That’s why I think I want to try and work in the middle of the night, as you do. Thanks for the vote of confidence! I’m looking forward to tackling the book again tonight. I think last night was just weird too. I have some deadlines I need to meet, and that’s been a little distracting. Working in the middle of the night, hunched over my keyboard, should help me to focus.Cheers,Marjorie

  5. Aizelle,Hello! Of course dapat sumulat ka ng novel. ‘Wag kang mag-alala, though, kasi the whole point of the exercise is to just <>write<>. ‘Wag mo nang isipin na “Hindi ko kaya,” “Hindi ako marunong magsulat nang novel,” etc. Basta magsimula ka na lang. Magisip ka nang unang sentence mo…basta kahit anong unang maiisip nang utak mo. don’t think about it too much — just whatever comes to mind first. Tapos ituloy mo na lang ang pag-sulat mo. Huwag mo nang payagan na i-criticize nang utak mo ang sinusulat mo…just keep writing! So try it. <>TONIGHT<>. Tapos sulat mo uli ako and tell me how you’re doing, okay? Promise? love,Ate Marj

  6. Ok magsisimula na po ako.. Katabi ko now si Ate Glaiza.. Magkasama po kami dito sa bahay. Gagawa muna ako ng list of characters then mag-iisip ng concept para tuloy-tuloy na.. Hi daw po sabi ni ate..ahhhh..this is it!!!cute,aizelle

  7. Hi, Aizelle! Kumusta naman ikaw, Glaiza??? Okay, remember, basta <>magsimula ka na<>, okay? Huwag mo nang isipin masyado kung maganda ang sinusulat mo, basta sulat ka na lang. Make it at least 1,500 words/day. Huwag kang magalala, hindi naman mahirap abutin yan, lalo na na hindi ka naman nagtatrabaho, ha? Di ba sabi mo konti lang namang tao ang pumupunta sa tindahan mo? 😉Anyway, basta kailangan na bukas ire-report mo sa ‘kin na nakasulat ka ng at least 1,500 words. At tandaan mo na na hindi ka magi-improve kung hindi ka magpractice. So just write and write and write, and trust me: you <>will<> get better. Just write!!!love,Ate Marj

  8. Kakaalis lang ate ni Ate Glaiza.Pero I can see na she’s doing fine.Eto nga’t pareho kaming tumataba.Uwi po sila Naujan tomorrow or the day after tomorrow pa.Nasa pang 800 na ata ako.. Tuloy-tuloy na sana kaya lang bigla dumating si jazzmine dito kaya bigla ako nawala sa concentration ko..Nakikita mo ba ate yung ginagawa kong novel? Or yung word count lang po yung nakikita sa nano?! haaaayyyyyy.. good luck sa’kin!love,aizelle

  9. Aizelle,Yeah! Nabasa ko yung excerpt mo sa NaNoWriMo profile mo! Wow, great start talaga! Obviously na interesting yung story mo; gusto ko ngang tuloy-tuloy basahin, eh, it’s that good. Kaya kailangan na tuluyin mo, ha, at ‘wag kang tumigil. I like na very passionate obviously ikaw sa kuwento mo — yan ang #1 requirement para maging interesting yung story, na ang sinusulat mo ay passionate.Huwag mong kalimutan na idagdag mo and word count mo sa profile mo, ha? Click on “Edit Profile,” tapos scroll down under Author Info and update your word count everyday.Mahilig ka bang magbasa ng young adult novels? Di ba marami nang nagpa-publish nang ganyan diyan sa ‘pinas? Malay mo, baka maging author ka diyan!Sige, sulat ka uli, ha?love,Ate Marj

  10. waaaahhhh..bakit yung sa’yo ate di ko nakikita?! nakakahiya.. balak ko pa namang baguhin yun dahil pangit daw sabi ni ate…haaayyy!eh kanina walang connection, ngayon lang ulit bumalik.. anyway,pumunta po dito si ate glaiza kanina.. nagpa2send ng pictures via email kay tita jo.. yung mga natapos dun sa bahay. nga pala ate, mahilig ka pala sa bossa ever nova music!hahahaha.. may cd ako bibigay sa’yo.. the question is pa’no ko mabibigay sa’yo yun?!kz you’re like a thousand miles away..ya know!hanggang sa muli!love,aizelle

  11. Hi, Aizelle! Salamat sa CD, ha? Hintayin mo na lang si Tita Jo mo — pupunta ata siya sa Pilipinas mga April o May, so siya na lang ang magpapadala. Anyway, remember, huwag kang makinig sa kahit kanino tungkol sa story mo, ha? As a matter of fact huwag mo na lang ipakita kahit kanino para hindi ka mawalan kaagad ng confidence. Basta magsulat ka na lang. Mage-edit na lang tayo sa December o January. love,Ate Marj

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