Atticus Finch famously advised his hot-headed daughter that you never really know someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. And while both un-hygenic and impractical, it’s still a great code for living. I also find it useful as a writer. Not only in terms of learning to empathize with characters whom you mightContinue reading “The Virtues of Walking in Different Shoes”
“Writer’s Block” implies to me that I’m driving along and I’ve hit a wall. It feels somehow visceral and violent. That’s different from simply getting stuck because you’ve run out of gas. One’s a collision, the other’s a petering out. One is a – you get the point.
Hemingway said you should write your story, and then take all of the “best” lines out. Would we like F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Toni Morrison, or James Baldwin half as much if they took our their best lines?
Writing a new type of fiction after you’ve dedicated years honing another might be the bast thing for you, although maybe not your reader
She was unquestionably a GREAT writer. So, then, what is that special quality that separates the good, even the gifted writers, from those who works will be read 50 and even 100 years from now. Didion felt quite sure – and was happy to talk openly about it – that quality is ruthlessness. She was, with admirable frankness, unambiguous about expressing this idea. She referred to writing as an “act of aggression,” and added, “there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.”
“HOW HARD IT IS TO BE SIMPLE!” – VINCENT VAN GOGH, IN A LETTER TO HIS BROTHER, THEO I start with this quote not merely to lend my post an unearned credibility by associating it with the sentiments of a genius, but because I find it an amazingly true insight into creativity and, ugh, I’llContinue reading “ONE OF THE MANY REASONS I’M NOT INVITED TO A LOT OF PARTIES”
one of the really freeing things about nonfiction for me is that I can say “I don’t know. I don’t remember.” I love that. I value honesty a lot, which is I think what allows me to bypass that “I don’t want people to know this” filter, so the ability to admit that I’m not sure if X happened in Y way or Z way is really more about honesty than my stoner memory.
There is no magical formula.
“I’m learning to have confidence that, though I’m a firm believer of not stopping to getting in your own way when things are humming, it’s OK to try to recognize when that hum diminishes, and to have faith that it will come back when its ready to.”
In my experience, there’s a lot you have control over as a writer. That’s the craft part. But the inspiration, the sudden urge to take a Kierkergaardian leap of faith, isn’t a part I really understand intellectually. And not only am I OK with that, I’m grateful for it. This way, unlike almost everything else in my life, I can’t get in my own way.