May 25th 2012
I think it was Eudora Welty who said that if you can come up with any good reason not to write, then you should follow that urge. Because a lot of nonsense and romanticism has been fostered around "The Writing Life." There are books by that name encouraging the failing author or the stuck poet. Following Hemingway's lead, the modern author is prone to think that these things can only be endured by heavy drinking. If you're Ernest Hemingway or Hunter Thompson, you think you have to blow your brains out. But stuff and nonsense - I don't even believe in writer's block. If you have something to say, then say it, and if you don't then choose something else. More literary masturbation we don't need. Find some other way to relieve yourself. This might sound harsh, but the so-called writing life is no picnic. If you mean business, you have to be head strong and you have to believe that what you have to say is worth its space in print. People aren't going to like you if you have this attitude, but all writers have it. Some are just better at concealing it. Why do we write, those of us who choose this way to fill our spare time? We write because we have to. It's a sort of working psychosis, and, as Jung said, if you have a psychosis that works, leave it alone. It's not a question of, "Oh, I'd like to write a novel, but I think I'll go for a bike ride." It's a question of keeping your sanity. If you don't write today, things will begin to teeter. If you like to live in the grips of that kind of obsession, then writing might be for you.
The black hole that is my publisher spoke this week. It spake and saith, "I give you your notes. Six pages. Eight points. Have it in by the end of June." It didn't actually speak like that, because my editor at Simon and Schuster is a nice lady. She said, "Don't fall off your chair, but here at last are the notes." I have waited for these for close to four months. Here's the time-frame: The book was accepted in November; I signed the contract in January and got my editorial notes in May. My book will come out summer of 2013 I'm not complaining. It is the way of publishing. You have to hurry up and wait.
Here's my quote for the day by Andre Dubus: "I really think that if there's any one enemy to human creaivity, especially creative writing, it's self-consciousness."