Yesterday marked the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, as well as No Shave November, but for now I’ll stick with manufacturing fictional characters and writing page after page about their exploits from a third-person perspective, exposing their private thoughts to a public audience. Even though it may seem like the sort of behavior for which people are sent to solitary confinement or given special medication, writing fiction is more a religious devotion than a hobby. As a devoted English Major, I participate in this yearly ritual. Like a monk, I lock myself up in a room for hours and hours, tormenting my psyche until I produce a sufficient amount of words. After that, I sleep for a few hours until the sun comes up, and I return to that room again for another day’s word count. It may result in mental anguish, but if I chalk it up to religion, I might find an afterlife in a dusty library with my fellow writers, occasionally resurrected when somebody opens up a book with my name on it and allows me to tell a story from the beyond the grave. Wish me luck.