A Novel Performance: Gabriela Denise Frank at the Seattle Public Library

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Each November, thousands of writers participate in National Novel Writing November (NaNoWriMo), attempting to write 50,000 words of a new work of fiction in 30 days. Art Projects grant Recipient Gabriela Denise Frank puts a twist on NaNoWriMo by creating a public space for her November novel writing, with support from the Seattle Public Library. We welcome her to the blog and invite you to participate in her upcoming project.

A Novel Performance

Are writers really introverts—or do we seek to shroud our craft in mystique?

Gabriela Denise Frank, photo courtesy of the artist.
Gabriela Denise Frank, photo courtesy of the artist.

Last fall, I came across a quote by John Green that piqued my attention: “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.” I had a strong reaction to this statement; as artists, why would we perpetuate isolationism?

While I have shy moments, I’m a sharer at heart. I didn’t grow up amongst writers, so I’ve spent my life searching for people with whom I could share this thing that I love to do in the privacy of my home with nary a soul around who will ask to read a rough draft. Say, wait a minute…

So, how can we as a creative community overcome our seemingly intrinsic sense of introversion? A Novel Performance was born from wrestling with the desire for transparency and connection. After all, who am I to sling barbs if I’m not risking anything? A public installation gave my quest both an edge and a spotlight that I couldn’t retreat from, and National Novel Writing Month seemed like the perfect driver. Thanks to support from 4Culture and Seattle Public Library, the project found funding and a home. As November 1 approaches, the secretive introvert in me is quivering, but the extrovert is excited. Will people understand what I’m trying to do? Can I actually write 50,000 words with everyone watching?

Ultimately, I hope to move the needle from wherever it’s set. I’d love to see both new and seasoned writers stop by, not just to work, but to engage in conversation. Maybe I’ll end up with a first draft of my first novel—and I’ll feel confident talking about my work for the first time in my life. One thing I do know: if we show up to support each other, magic will happen.

Installation Dates
Nov. 1 to Nov. 30
Central Library, Level 3
1000 Fourth Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Weekly Conversations with Gabriela
Mondays from 5 to 6 pm
Chocolati Café, Level 3

For hours and more information visit: www.gabrieladenisefrank.com

Gabriela Denise Frank, A Novel Performance, stanchion. Courtesy of the artist.
Gabriela Denise Frank, A Novel Performance, stanchion. Courtesy of the artist.