Thursday, October 13, 2005

On Writing

So many of us want to write, feel like we have something to say, but simply lack the internal discipline to do it. We do it sporadically, and in the deadness of time- less and less. The world is full of good men and women who set out to "write the great American novel" or whatever, but somehow just never got around to it. Life is so daily.

Some of the greatest of writers, for example Charles Dickens, have solved the problem with the time honored device: a deadline. For X years Dickens turned out his masterpieces, year after year until finally Our Mutual Friend, his last and best. Dickens was about as undisciplined as the next person, but he achieved the discipline he needed by the simple device of serialization: he was paid episode by episode until his masterpieces reached their conclusion. As time went on his books got larger, with more episodes-- more money!

Well friends, this is what we've hit on with what we're doing here: the compulsion to blog is a daily affair. Unlike ordinary writing blogging is half writing/reading and half talking. Our writing addresses two groups-- the great unwashed public and our intimate (blogging) friends.

Now half the population are compulsive talkers. I can go to Walmart, sit on the 'mourner's bench (where men wait for their wives) and show the slightest interest and someone will fill my ear as long as I can stand it, or I can give him back word for word if that's my taste.

Dickens undoubtedly was a complusive talker (like me, that is). His words flow so spontaneously alternating with equal facility between the utterly trivial and the profoundly meaningful. In fact he can clothe his most trivial remarks with an underlying kernel of true significance. Now that's writing!

3 comments:

Matt said...

Larry, I had to chuckle when I read this post because I have spent many hours on these benches and sometimes conversation does help the time to pass more pleasantly.
So, when can we expect your life story to be written? It seems like you might have an interesting story to tell.
I started to write my story at the age of 63. It took me two and a half years to write and publish the 372 pages that contain my life thus far.
I didn’t seriously entertain the thought of writing my story until a cousin sent me a copy of our family genealogy he had just completed. His report included a history of our people and most interesting, it included the English translation from German of our grandfather’s daily journal from September 15 to November 2, 1944 – the time of our flight from Romania to escape the onslaught of the Russians to becoming refugees in another land.
I had not been aware that Grandfather had written a daily account of our flight nor that he gave it to my cousin for later translation and he almost forgot about it. I felt as though I had just received a wonderful gift from the past.
Analyzing our family lineage back to the 1630s and reading the historical account of how our ancestors came to Kleinbetschkerek, the town I was born in, was fascinating. Reading Grandfather’s personal account of our flight stirred memories still within me. I now realized I had a story to share.
For anyone interested in reading excerpts of my book go to
The River of My Life

Larry said...

Matt: You asked for it!!! "So, when can we expect your life story to be written? It seems like you might have an interesting story to tell."

Yes, I did the same thing long ago. Now at close to 80 I'm going over the whole thing again in two blogs that you're cordially invited to peruse. Look at my profile for them.

Larry said...

yes