Friday, June 11, 2010

More thoughts on writing & a brief road trip

John Kenneth Galbraith: economist and prolific writer

The myth of inspirational writing

John Kenneth Galbraith, in a piece entitled, "Writing, Typing, and Economics," wrote that aspiring writers must resist the fantasy that good writing can only be accomplished during moments of inspiration. He said:

"All writers know that on some golden mornings they are touched by the wand—are on intimate terms with poetry and cosmic truth. I have experienced those moments myself. Their lesson is simple: It's a total illusion. And the danger in the illusion is that you will wait for those moments. Such is the horror of having to face the typewriter that you will spend all your time waiting. I am persuaded that most writers, like most shoemakers, are about as good one day as the next (a point which Trollope made), hangovers apart. The difference is the result of euphoria, alcohol, or imagination. The meaning is that one had better go to his or her typewriter every morning and stay there regardless of the seeming result. It will be much the same."

Galbraith also emphasized the importance of revision. "Anyone who is not certifiably a Milton," he wrote, "had better assume that the first draft is a very primitive thing. The reason is simple: writing is difficult work."

This difficulty, he warned, is enough to drive many a writer to drink. He therefore advised against relying on alcohol as a crutch. "It is, quite literally, very sobering," he pointed out, "to reflect upon how many good American writers have been destroyed by this solace -- by the sauce. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner -- the list goes on and on."

He offered a rule of thumb: "Any writer who wants to do his best against a deadline should stick to Coca-Cola. If he doesn't have a deadline, he can risk Seven-Up."


Alone again & heading for Dakota

In a few hours, I will be on the road from Minnesota to South Dakota -- alone (again), I regret to report. The trip is only for a long weekend -- one-third for business, one- third for a change of pace, one-third for visiting family.

Most certainly, there will be some trigger time. I am taking two rifles and two handguns with me. I have not done any shooting since before departure for Europe last December, and am very much overdue.

Just possibly, I will head for town on Saturday night and find some action in a cowboy bar. I am not certain what I mean by "action" right now, since there are several kinds in which to engage, but, for the faint of heart, I will suggest that you search out such an establishment and discover for yourself what manner of action suits you best.

Be back next week ....

6 comments:

宥妃 said...

Judge not of men and things at first sight.............................................................

Anita said...

Calm water has the deepest ground

Anita said...

Why do keep all this weapons with you????????

Fram Actual said...

You ask a simple but a complex question, Anita. The simple answer is because weapons are part of my life. The complex answer would require sentences and paragraphs and pages to answer.

In response to a comment from a young lady who, several months ago, said a prince was not enough for her; she would only be satisfied with a king, I said that I would not want to be a king or even a prince, but would choose to be a knight. Weapons are part of a knight's job description. Hopefully, you will understand.

Thank you, for your presence here.

Anita said...

I feel war in you,but i dont know why..
You are very thrilling.Thanks for answering to my inner thoughts.

Fram Actual said...

Read the post that will be up tomorrow, Anita, on June 16. There also has been one since this post, on June 14.

My earliest ancestors in America arrived in the 1850s from Norway and Germany. Some of them took part in the American Civil War and the Plains Indian Wars, and I have had at least one ancestor take part in every American war since then, including myself.

It is part of life. No excuses, no thoughts. You belong to the times into which you are born.

Thank you, again, for your presence.

Something special ....