Friday, June 05, 2009

Think About Writing

I think about writing more than I write. Today walking Sassy in the pouring rain, like a bucket on your head, I mused, Why not get some special writer clothes? Those cute little sweat suits that they sell at Coldwater Creek? I picture myself in one of the soft light brown outfits, hunching over keyboard, lucid limpid insightful prose pouring forth. One of my memoir teachers--the kind that goes to bread loaf or sugar loaf or wherever they go--had a son who wears special writing socks. Yow. I have a vision of bright striped ones; let's get some of those!

In fact, my writing clothes tend to be whatever I can fit into--e.g., pajama bottoms and a tattered sweater.

Then I think, I really should organize my space. Pat Schneider (see list below) has special objects she spreads around her desk: lovely rocks and candles and things. I look around my own office and see piles of what Denny used to complain of, my "papers": plus, instruction books, jelly jar labels, messy messy manuscript, and a number of Bibles, Hebrew dictionaries, bulging files with names like "Queries and Bios," "Writer Guidelines," "Futility of Existence"; you get the idea.

I love to read about writing, too:
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
On Writer's Block by Victoria Nelson
Writing Alone and With Others by Pat Schneider
The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick
and many more... works by Tillie Olsen, Brenda Uehlen, Rita Mae Brown, Sara Paretsky, Margaret Atwood, Joanna Trollope...
They're all good!

And the How-To's:
Freelance Writing: Breaking In Without Selling Out by Marcia Yudkin
Write the Perfect Book Proposal, Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine Herman
Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write by Elizabeth Lyon
Writer's Market, Writer's Handbook, Writer's Magazine

The how-to list reminds me of Denny's narrator Lionel Goldfish, purveyor of success books:

"Be a Selling Sensation"
"How to Make a Million by 40"
"How to Move Ahead Fast in Your Office"
"How to Make a Million by 50"

This fictional codger confesses in the intro to "How To Beat the System" (by Denison Andrews, Permanent Press, LI, NY, 1987)
"After the gold has been removed, I sold the public a tour of the empty mine for $8.95." Writers, beware!

My daughter Winifred quoted me a line from T.S. Eliot when someone remarked "Most editors are failed writers." Eliot responded, "Well, so are most writers!"

I don't think changing my clothes or fixing up "a room of my own" will help progress--they will become more procrastination tools. There are other far scarier things I need to change. Stay tuned.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do I ever identify!! My favorite is thinking up excuses for why I'm not writing! Can a person who has never really written anything beyond A papers in college and personal letters back when that was our only medium...suffer writer's block? Time is running out! It's now or never! I must write!

9:02 AM  

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