Thursday, October 23, 2008

I won't quote the whole book...

Although I'm tempted to put more than a few paragraphs from Annie Dillard's The Writing Life in blockquotes. I'll stop at one:

The written word is weak. Many people prefer life to it. Life gets your blood going, and it smells good. Writing is mere writing, literature is mere. It appeals only to the subtlest senses--the imagination's vision, and the imagination's hearing--and the moral sense, and the intellect. This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else. the reader's ear must adjust down from loud life to the subtle, imaginary sounds of the written word. An ordinary reader picking up a book can't yet hear a thing; it will take half an hour to pick up the writing's modulations, its ups and downs and louds and softs.
Annie Dillard gets it, far better than I do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Excuses, excuses

Stewie, from Family Guy:

How you uh, how you comin' on that novel you're working on? Huh? Gotta a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Gotta, gotta nice litte story you're working on there? Your big novel you've been working on for 3 years? Huh? Gotta, gotta compelling protaganist? Yeah? Gotta obstacle for him to overcome? Huh? Gotta story brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? (voice getting higher pitched) Yea, talking about that 3 years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah? (voice returns to normal) No, no, you deserve some time off. 
Sometimes I think we're too clever for our own good. Most comedies are awful and unfunny because we've heard it all before.  It becomes very tiring. Family Guy may be self-referential at times, but it's much smarter about it and therefore hilarious.

One more quote:

[riding a circus elephant
Peter Griffin: Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change. 
It's funny because it's true.

Anyway, I'm procrastinating.