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A lot

Oh, well. I've been bad about writing the past couple of days, but I feel the need to do some now. I did some journalling this morning on my work computer, saved it to my hard drive but then did not upload as I intended. Nothing I can't repeat. In a nutshell, it snowed some today and I need to write more.

There are a number of reasons for this latter thought. First, it's something I say often. Second, in Chris Baty's No Plot? No Problem! he talks of how he and his friends might have aspired to be writers, but they never sat down and did any writing, waiting for divine inspiration to strike from the heavens. Of course, the problem with that method is that the Muse needs to be drawn out and urged rather than waited for. She's a bitch that way. Baty says it much better than I.

Of course, some of this spool of thought derives from the book I'm currently reading, Garrison Keillor's Love Me. It's a wonderful novel about a writer who has all he needs, including the love of a lifetime, in Minnesota and, upon writing a bestselling novel, abandons it all to journey to NYC to work at the New Yorker. In other words, it's about 2 things I care deeply about these days, i.e., love and writing. I'm pleasantly surprised by Keillor's disdain for the NY literary establishment, although I'm not sure why. Perhaps not so surprised by the disdain as much as its depth. It's a very funny book, full of Keillor's resonant voice. But, anyway, the protagonist spends a chapter playing golf and drinking too much with the editor of the New Yorker in which the editor has some wonderful lines about writing. I can't resist copying them here:

"Writers like to think that writing is like Arctic exploration or flying the Atlantic solo but actually it's more like golf. You've got to go out and do it every day and live by the results. You can brood over it but in the end you've got to take the club out of the bag and take your swing. You hit the ball to where it wants to go, a series of eighteen small steel cups recessed in turf, on a course that others have traversed before you. You are not the first. You accomplish this by practicing an elegant economy you learned from others and therby overcoming your damn self-consciousness which trips you up every time. . . . Guys who spend a lifetime lining up a four-foot putt, reading the bent of the grass, the wind, the planets, checking out the geologic formations below, and then they tap the ball and it rolls eighteen feet into a mud puddle."

Related to some of my inferior ramblings, the editor comments, "Every writer I know is on a winding mountain road in the fog. Some try to deaden their fear with bourbon and wind up confused about their capabilities, like a sumo wrestler trying to run the 440 low hurdles. Or they wind up as preachers pandering to high-minded dipshits. The Betterment of Man is the worst motive for writing. It's the worst. Better to write out of sheer cussedness and heave a cherry bomb into the ladies' latrine and make them all jump out of their camisoles than climb into the pulpit and pontificate about the meaning of it all.

"John O'Hara had it about right. The purest motivation for a writer is to earn a pile of money. Which of course makes you the target of envy and you wind up with gobs of spit on your shoes and you don't win the Pulitzer and critics lowball you for the rest of your life. But what the hell."

There's another section in which the editor refers to the protagonist's writing as "girlish," by which he means self-conscious, written in a way to impress other writers.

Ahhhh. Sorry to write so much about it, but I'm enamored of Keillor's writing and thoughts. Keillor says a lot of things I've been thinking, but he puts words together far better than I.

In other reading related news, I finished the Lawrence Block mystery I mentioned previously. It was a fun, fluffy mystery with a couple of nice twists, but pretty forgettable. I enjoyed it, though, and will likely pick up another of Block's books in the future when I just want a simple mystery.

As far as work, as I said, I did some writing. I also spent a lot of time "observing" (that's what it is until next week) the reference desk. Of course, it was quiet most of the afternoon. The fire alarm went off around 2 and I think many students took the opportunity to bolt. So it was quiet. So I sat at the desk with Jane, the most senior librarian there, whose specialty is foreign and international law. We talked about the sad state of American politics, education, and news media. A very erudite conversation, with references to 1984 and Brave New World, as well as the Daily Show and the Onion. She pointed me to a wonderful site that compiles newspaper web sites from around the world.

Have I mentioned that I love being a librarian?

Books read 2005: 12


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2005 03:21 am (UTC)
Evidently, I need to recommend more writers to you. :)
Mar. 11th, 2005 03:49 am (UTC)
The Specialists is still waiting for you.

Lawrence Block's masterwork of post-Vietnam crime-fighting.



Mar. 13th, 2005 04:03 pm (UTC)
No Plot? No Problem! . . . yes, I've been reading that too. Sometime a few months from now I'm going to take his challenge and attempt to write a novel in a month. I'm going to urge you and cc_wolff to join me. Not yet, though. This is just your advance warning.
Mar. 13th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
We can actually do the challenge in November when the web site and forums and everything is up. I'm looking forward to it.
Mar. 14th, 2005 02:41 am (UTC)
I didn't know they were putting up a web site and forums. Cool!
Mar. 14th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
Yes, indeed. I've been a member for a couple of years, but I've never finished it. Here's the link: http://www.nanowrimo.org/

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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