Mario Villalobos

Let’s Go

As a reaction to yesterday’s entry, I read Don Quixote as much as I could, fitting in reading times during the little breaks of my day. I was able to get farther into the book than usual, and I’m really grateful for that because I’m really close to finishing the first part of this really good novel. Don Quixote, the book, is hilarious, and Don Quixote, the character, is amazing. He’s committed to becoming a great knight-errant, and he’s doing all he can to be one. How many of us can say that about anything in our lives?

Last year, I wrote a short story for the Sycamore Review Wabash Prize for Fiction. I thought the story I wrote was pretty good, but it was declined. I had to pay a submission fee to enter, which also paid for a year’s subscription to their literary journal. A few months ago they sent my first journal from my subscription, which I haven’t gone through, and today, I received my second journal. The first one didn’t have last year’s fiction prize winners, which is why I haven’t read through it yet, but the second journal does have last year’s short story winner and finalists, which I’m eager to read soon. These entries were considered good enough for publication, so there has to be something there that I can learn from.

Tomorrow I should get two more books containing short stories. A big reason why I read so much Don Quixote today was because I wanted to quickly start these two books. I don’t think I’ve ever tried reading two fiction books at the same time — other than the time in 2011 when I read a Shakespeare play a week along with whatever book I was reading — but I’m considering doing that and incorporating it into my routine somehow. I’m thinking of a morning reading and a nightly reading or something like that. I won’t know until I figure it out, naturally.

I also bought Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and the revised version of Getting Things Done a little over a week ago. I also want to get started on these books soon, plus I’m building a substantial list of fiction books I want to buy that will help me become a better reader, and in turn, a better writer.

I’ve never been so focused on one thing in my entire life. My goal is to be a better writer, and I’m trying everything I know how to be that. I don’t consider these entries a reflection of my skill and talent because I truly believe writing is rewriting, and I don’t do that with my blog entries. Instead, my blog is a place where I get to think aloud, and I think it’s been that since the beginning. It’s where I try to keep myself accountable, write out what I’m thinking, and document the progress I’m making as a writer and a human being. I used to feel so guilty that my entries weren’t that good, but I’m glad they weren’t. They shouldn’t have been.

What I need to do, and what I’m doing, is to focus on my literary fiction, whatever that means. That, again, means reading and writing as best as I can. Lets do this.