Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Whining writers

Just yesterday I was thinking about how much fun it is to write: what a privilege, a luxury; how hilarious it is, that I actually get to do this thing. I laughed even more when I read Garrison Keillor's piece on Salon in which he takes a swipe at those who constantly remind us how deeply they suffer for their art:
I have had it with writers who talk about how painful and harrowing and exhausting and almost impossible it is for them to put words on paper and how they pace a hole in the carpet, anguish writ large on their marshmallow faces, and feel lucky to have written an entire sentence or two by the end of the day.
It's the purest form of arrogance: Lest you don't notice what a brilliant artist I am, let me tell you how I agonize over my work. To which I say: Get a job. Try teaching eighth-grade English, five classes a day, 35 kids in a class, from September to June, and then tell us about suffering.
The fact of the matter is that the people who struggle most with writing are drunks. They get hammered at night and in the morning their heads are full of pain and adverbs. Writing is hard for them, but so would golf be, or planting alfalfa, or assembling parts in a factory.

2 comments:

genevieve tucker said...

Hee Hee, that's terrific. Paul Jennings had some good things to say about writer's block in an interview several years ago - from what I remember, basically that it is a much used excuse for other things and is rarely real.
He might find Keillor's remarks a bit tough, but God, GK is a funny man.
Have you read 'The Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra' - it's in one of his collections, if I track it down I'll send you the details.
Lovely blog, Kelly.

Kelly G said...

Thanks.
No, I haven't read the Young Lutheran's Guide.
And am looking forward to seeing Altman's take on Home Prairie Companion (although ... Lindsay Lohan?)
Cheers.