The World’s Most Average Number

Perhaps I shall secretly tattoo the number 64531 somewhere on my body. 64531 is a postal code for a rural part of coastal Sweden; a passenger train in Dehli, India; the numeric ID of a binding protein gene in the Norway rat; a statute in California governing something related to cattle agriculture (I didn’t read the whole thing because California legal mumbo jumbo); the player number of professional disk golfer Kyle Lancaster; a chemical compound found in certain fungi; and a part number for the stainless steel grill of Dodge trucks, among other things. That’s just on page one of my Google search.

Why am I telling you about this seemingly random number? Because Aldous Huxley’s famous science fiction novel of dystopian anxiety, Brave New World, is sixty four thousand five hundred thirty one words long. This factoid is important because sixty four thousand words is the average length of all novels ever written in the history of humans and Huxley got closer to than benchmark of mediocrity than any other writer. Huxley was unintentionally (and yet also epically) average. I also wish to be epically (though more intentionally) average, I have decided that the book I’m writing should aim for this middling word count goal. I think it’s doable. I’m at twenty one thousand right now—nearly a third of the way there already! I only need to be two-thirds more average to achieve mediocrity. My calculations may be a bit off. Math is hard.

So, I am continuing to write and develop ideas for my book, while keeping a close eye on the word count tally, while also continuously writing five new (and totally original, not stolen at all!) blogs each week. I haven’t counted, but it’s possible I have completely exceeded the magic number with my collective blogging. Of course, it would not be a coherent narrative so it doesn’t really matter. (My individual blogs sometimes struggle with coherent narratives within their measly 600 word ramblings.) What matters is that I keep working on the book until I get to where I want to be. Sometimes people even read the words that I’m writing. That’s always nice. I think I’m the only one counting words. Everyone else seems content to just read them.

So, as I endeavor to be average I think about the example of Aldous Huxley (and the mighty Dodge Ram) and try to remember that being the greatest does not mean I have to be as big as Texas or as long as the Nile. I can accept that my work can be middling and still be good. I mean, sure, Any Rand’s Atlas Shrugged weighted in at a hefty 565223 but that doesn’t make it a better book than Brave New World, does it. (No, no it doesn’t.) Also, Rand estimated her text at 645000 words, making one wonder if she was the single-handedly responsible for the deception about whether size matters. (Note to self: Never pass up an opportunity to take pot shots at Ayn Rand.)

In summation, it’s fine if some folks want to aspire to be the greatest of the greats: good for them if they want to become actors like Sir Lawrence Olivier; I’ll be satisfied putting a paper bag over my head and calling myself Shia LaBeouf. He’s still famous, right?

In case you were wondering, this blog is 575 words long, including this sentence. That's pretty average.