Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Inside the Witer's Mind

MENTAL STATUS: "Defeated". I've finally given up on my bathroom wallpaper removal project. I'm out of my league--and I'm calling a handyman. TODAY.

My friend ripped out an article from a magazine (Not sure what magazine. Maybe Oprah?) for me to read about writers and their thoughts on writing. (Thank you!)

The article interviewed 6 novelists to talk about the art, the craft, the isolation, the listening, and the sheer termite-like determination of writing down a story.

Naturally, the topic interested me, but I found this article especially... motivating. Thus, I will share (and summarize) the highlights.

Q: Besides talent, what are the particular qualities it takes to be a novelist?

Walter Kirn: "Confidence then persistence. These traits sound similar. They aren't. Confidence is what politicians, seducers, and currency speculators have, but persistence is a quality found in termites. It's the blind drive to keep on working that persists after confidence breaks down."

Joshua Ferris: "It takes no particular human quality for one to become a novelist save this: the ability to endure long stretches of time at one's desk. Not even that: Short bursts of intense time at one's desk will do."

John Edgar Wideman: "Novelists must learn the skill of listening, practice listening as discipline and discovery."

Q: What's the best thing about being a writer?
Jeffrey Eugenides: "The best thing is also the worst thing. It's that, no matter how long you've been a it, you always start from scratch."

Mary Gaitskill: "The best thing about writing is being able to clearly express things in a way you can't express in conversation."

Some of these answers made me laugh. Especially the termite one. I sometimes feel like a termite--chewing and gnawing until I can eventually wear down an editor to the point when they'll finally say, "Okay! Fine! We'll print your dang book! Enough already! Just don't send us any more! Sheesh!"

Truthfully, I think I write because I can't help myself. Much like OCD or an addiction. I'm hooked and now I'm a word junkie.

But I think I'm trying to get published because I'm one stubborn woman. (Or a glutton for rejection.) LOL!

What about you? Why do you write?


MaryF said...

GREAT quotes! I can so relate.....

Chicki said...

Hey, I blogged on this today too! It's from the August issue of O Magazine. What I really liked was the excerpt from Walter Mosley's new book, especially since the book is only a little over 100 pages and costs $20.00!

I guess I started writing because I had these storylines in my head and they were plaguing me. When I began to put the ideas on paper, the characters started to come alive. It's so much fun, I HAVE to do it.