Susan Speaks/Booking Through Thursday: The Great American Novel


This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks what we think of as the Great American Novel (or, if you’re not American or thinking about American novels, to replace American with the country/region of your choice).

I’m sure that this wasn’t the intended answer, but after yesterday’s Thursday Thirteen, in which I saw a record number of hits here at the Meet and Greet, and in which I saw my name pop up over and over on your lists, I’m sort of feeling my oats and thinking that, in all our minds at least, Trevor’s Song fits that bill.

Even though none of you have read it. Yet.

After all, you guys have awarded me with three Thinking Blogger awards (from Milan, Amy, and Robin) and now two Rockin’ Wench Blogger awards (Rhian and Red). You come back day after day, week after week, to check in on the adventures of Trevor, the rest of the band, and the fringe characters like Pam and Chelle — and the new Roadie Poet, who’ll be back soon.

I’m honored. I’m flattered. I’m watching my dreams come true, and you guys are helping to fuel that.

I’ve got a few surprises related to all this, but you’ll have to wait until later this weekend from them (Yes, I’m still recovering from the Fourth. YOU try sleeping in the middle of the Science Center’s exhibits and tell me how well YOU fare).

Let me just say, for now, thank you. Keep on helping me spread the word and build up Trevor’s fan base; the more of you there are on board with me, the better. You guys inspire me and motivate me.

And when it comes to writing a great novel, isn’t all about inspiration and motivation?



  1. karen!

    July 6, 2007 10:15 am

    Rock on!

  2. Foster Dogs

    July 6, 2007 11:20 am

    Neat blog! Here via Michele’s.

  3. Devon Ellington

    July 6, 2007 11:40 am

    Yes, because inspiration can’t come to fruition without motivation.

  4. julia

    July 6, 2007 11:47 am

    If you’re still recovering from the 4th, does that mean it was a great time? And it’s always fun to read a ‘Susan Speaks’ post.BR/BR/As for a Great American novel, I think it should embody the traits of America as a nation through the characters and storyline. Not that I’m any great authority or anything (my reading list is quite miniscule compared to many) but I do believe I’ll suggest Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.BR/BR/For a great Canadian novel, why not Fifth Business by Robertson Davies? A biting satire filled with magical realism and astute observations of society (what can be more Canadian than that?) this could get you hooked on a magnificent author.

  5. Susan Helene Gottfried

    July 6, 2007 1:19 pm

    Yes, the Fourth was that much fun. Or it’s that hard to share an air mattress with someone who’s 100 pounds more than you…BR/BR/I haven’t read enough Canadian lit (knowing it was Canadian lit) to be able to say, Julia. Therefore, I shall read. BR/BR/I actually wasn’t going to answer this question until I thought of the dodge; I’m not big on squeezing such a broad spectrum of people into such a tiny categorization. But that’s me and I’m weird.

  6. Rene

    July 6, 2007 2:10 pm

    I’m definitely not trying to write the great American novel myself, I’m far too shallow for that. BR/BR/For me, the novel which truly presents the American experience along with its hopes and dreams is John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.” At least I admire his view of California’s history.

  7. Rhetorically Sterculian

    July 6, 2007 2:14 pm

    The Great American Novel?BR/Johnathan Livingstone Seagull

  8. Red Garnier

    July 6, 2007 3:58 pm

    Susan I am so happy to know we help inspire you (though I’m sure you need no prodding, lol!) I adore your blog and definitely keep coming back for more. Without reading, and just by knowing you, I am sure Trevor’s Song is the Great American Novel!! =) Keep on being inspired, creative, and do keep on sharing it with us!

  9. Mr. Althouse

    July 6, 2007 5:07 pm

    It certainly is about inspiration and motivation and for me, it often comes at the most unexpected and often inconvenient time. I wrote about it at 4 a.m. this morning, I know!BR/BR/Michele sent me,BR/BR/Mike

  10. Rhetorically Sterculian

    July 6, 2007 5:17 pm

    Michele sent me too!BR/BR/Michele Malkin.

  11. craziequeen

    July 6, 2007 5:28 pm

    Hi Susan,BR/BR/I was always under the impression that creation of anything was 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration…..BR/BR/Looks like you have lots of 1%s….BR/BR/Michele sent me to say ‘Keep it up, Susan! We’re all behind you!’BR/BR/cq

  12. Tanya (for GreenStone Media)

    July 6, 2007 6:07 pm

    Hey, that’s really great! 🙂 I have some pretty inspirational people around me, too!BR/BR/Stopping by to say hello, and Michele sent me today!BR/BR/Cheers!

  13. Rashenbo

    July 6, 2007 6:40 pm

    You know what one of the good thing’s about falling off the face of the world is? When you are able to come back down, you’ve got this feeling of freshness simply because you haven’t been thinking about what you were away from. I’ve not thought about writing for a couple of months and now I’m feeling the burn again, Motivation has got to be one of the most important factors 🙂

  14. Rhetorically Sterculian

    July 6, 2007 6:54 pm

    Ms. Coulter told me to stay awy though.BR/You being a Librul and all.

  15. Susan Helene Gottfried

    July 6, 2007 7:00 pm

    I’m a liberal? BR/BR/Funny. I thought I was a woman who writes about rock stars and the people who orbit them.

  16. littlebirdblue

    July 6, 2007 7:52 pm

    II’m not big on squeezing such a broad spectrum of people into such a tiny categorization. But that’s me and I’m weird./IBR/BR/So right, Susan.BR/I don’t believe in the myth of the Great American Novel, either. Hubris, to think any single piece of work could speak for an entire nation of individualists. Hubris, and the worst sort of egotism.

  17. Amy Ruttan

    July 6, 2007 9:03 pm

    EXACTLY! So right! I just think your characters are so fleshed out and real. Very three dimensional. They feel like real people.BR/BR/You rock Susan!!

  18. Seeley deBorn

    July 6, 2007 9:45 pm

    Great Canadian Novel? No thanks, they’re usually boring.BR/BR/I’m aiming for a half decent novella right now.

  19. Carmi

    July 6, 2007 11:28 pm

    “And when it comes to writing a great novel, isn’t all about inspiration and motivation?”BR/BR/It sure is. I can write because I am surrounded by folks who inspire me, who love me, and who encourage me to shoot for the moon and the stars. I wouldn’t be half the writer I am today if not for them.

  20. MommyBa

    July 7, 2007 1:46 am

    I agree that inspiration does a lot of wonders :)BR/BR/Happy weekend!

  21. OpenChannel

    July 7, 2007 2:09 am

    Thanks for cruising into my blog, thought I’d do the same. Great idea and a unique marketing tool.BR/BR/I read you bio and laughed because we have some similarities… both knowing at the age of 6 that we were writers.BR/BR/My husband worked in the music industry for 15 years, he’s got real life stories that I think would make a great book. BR/BR/Being the huge Metallica fan that you are, I’m assuming you’ve seen the documentary ISome Kind of Monster/I? I haven’t seen it yet, but he highly recommends it.

  22. spyscribbler

    July 7, 2007 9:14 am

    Well, what do you expect? You’re the coolest! 😉

  23. Susan Helene Gottfried

    July 7, 2007 9:46 am

    I expect a seven-figure book deal, spy, with such response that I get multiple print runs! (okay, I’ll be happy with a smaller advance but those multiple print runs)BR/BR/Me, cool? I don’t feel cool. Or is that the secret to being cool?

  24. Rhetorically Sterculian

    July 7, 2007 10:10 am

    “….I thought I was a woman who writes about rock stars and the people who orbit them…..”BR/BR/Really?BR/BR/A Geologist specialising in petrology and an astrophysicist specialising in celestial mechanics?BR/All in one girl?BR/That’s hot!BR/BR/Nerd me baby,BR/Nerd me real good!

  25. Carmi

    July 8, 2007 7:06 pm

    Your words speak to the fires that live within anyone who writes. It has to come from somewhere, and it needs fuel to ultimately come to fruition.BR/BR/Your blog, with its literary spirit of paying it forward, helps immensely.

  26. Susan Helene Gottfried

    July 8, 2007 8:23 pm

    *sigh*BR/BR/MorahMommy is a lucky woman, Carmi…

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