(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction
January 14, 2012 § 21 Comments
Even for Dorothy Parker:
Tagged: Dorothy Parker, Writer's Block, wrong words
I feel enspired and descouraged. My own pile of discarded paper looks like limitless flash drives with far too many folders.
Little flash drives, not limitless.
Writing is easy!
As Steve Martin observes: “Writing is one of the most easy, pain-free, and happy ways to pass the time in all the arts. For example, right now I am sitting in my rose garden and typing on my new computer. Each rose represents a story, so I’m never at a loss for what to write. I just look deep into the heart of the rose and read its story and write it down through typing, which I enjoy anyway. I could be typing “kjfiu joewmv jiw” and would enjoy it as much as typing words that actually make sense. I simply relish the movement of my fingers on the keys. Sometimes, it is true, agony visits the head of a writer. At these moments, I stop writing and relax with a coffee at my favorite restaurant, knowing that words can be changed, rethought, fiddled with, and, of course, ultimately denied. Painters don’t have that luxury. If they go to a coffee shop, their paint dries into a hard mass.”
I suspect DP’s exasperation is more about completing an assignment by a deadline than about writing for enjoyment.
Did Dorothy Parker write any more telegrams? Because I smell a collection.
Oh, there’s nothing to it! You just sit at a… computer and bleed. (Might be paraphrasing someone else there.)
Ok, but in fairness… Dorothy is probably one of those annoying people who proclaims “It’s terrible! It’s terrible! I failed! I failed!” and ‘It’s’ amazing and dripping with genius and intrigue. Love her. Take me to the Algonquin please…
This is nice to see. Writing has been a slog lately.
Of course writing is difficult. Like any art. If it were easy where would the pride be in doing it well? And how could a writer expect to produce anything worthy of readers’ attention?
However, I also like Steve Martin’s analysis. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, why bother?
[…] Writing is Hard « BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog […]
As Richard Rodriguez says:
“I write things but I don’t write them. They write themselves.
All the metaphors that writers use imply that the writer is more
passive than active agent in all this: Holy Ghost, the muse, the graces….you are forced to just wait there like an idiot….”
That’s me: the idiot waiting, but with a helluva great cup of coffee!
Writing squeezes every creative thought out of the writer and if it doesn’t— you keep on going until it does. If you have the passion for it, it will come but don’t forget most people can’t sit down and just write whatever, they need to hone their craft through writing courses,writing groups and above all WRITING. Never despair and give up.
Thank you Dorothy Parker for giving voice to my feelings of exasperation and inadequacy.
And we remember her more for her poems and wisecracks and book reviews than for her short stories.
“There’s a hell of a distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth to it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.”
I’m with Chase…
Still, it’s good to see this despair. I think people think that wrtiers are as delighted with their work as other people often appear to be. It’s rarely the case.
[…] it’s hard out there for creative types. But it was ever the case, as you can see from this meek 1945 telegram from Dorothy Parker to her editor at Viking. “This is instead of telephoning because I can’t look you in […]
Writing isn’t hard. Just ask Barbie. Never heard her say anything about writing but she emphatically expressed, “Math is hard.” I wonder if math was a challenge to Dorothy.
Just a little personal comment to the author: Love, love, love your beef stew.
“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” –Gene Fowler
[…] the Brevity blog, is by Dorothy Parker, a writer of the early 20th […]
The writing process is all that and more: easy, hard, fun, infuriating, enlightening, hilarious. Were we to add editing and rewrite to the mix, well, there’d be no end to the ways in which it could be described. And coffee as the trusty sidekick throughout makes it that much more delicious.
However, DP’s telegram, complete with its spelling error, is just plain wonderful. Thank you for sharing.
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