Brevity’s Writing Process Blog Tour (with Bar Napkins)
August 28, 2014 § 10 Comments
Brevity editor Dinty W. Moore was invited to participate in the MY WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR by Thaddeus Gunn, a truly remarkable individual (ask him sometime about Kurt Cobain’s ashes) who also happens to be a kick-ass writer, and author of essays such as “My Life With The Bat Children” and “Slapstick.” Thaddeus was invited by Lauren Westerfield, newly-minted Assistant Essays editor at The Rumpus, Beyond that, the lineage isn’t sure, though we do know (from an authority) that Abraham begat Isaac and Isaac begat Jacob and Jacob begat Judas and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar.
Dinty’s answers to the four Blog Tour questions follow below, and his nominations come after that:
1) What are you working on?
I’m finishing revisions on a book, Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy: A Writing Guide of Sorts, or, Curious Meditations on Life, Love, Cannibals, and the Imminent Polar Bear Apocalypse, to be published in 2015 from Random House/Ten Speed. Among the odd things about this book is that one of the chapters is an essay written entirely on cocktail napkins – written in a bar, in fact – and the Ten Speed editors want revisions, so I have to go back to that bar (poor me), steal more napkins, and revise. I am also working on a new essay, about how our sinuses work and why they produce so much awful goop. Sounds fascinating, eh?
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Um, bar napkins?
3) Why do you write what you do?
Partly, because certain things fascinate me and writing about a subject is a way for me to explore my fascination and expand my understanding. Partly, especially in the work that I do that is classified (or could be classified, if someone were so inclined) as humor, I write to amuse myself. I hope that I amuse others as well. I also had a screwed-up childhood, which is nothing unique, but every screwed-up childhood is screwed-up slightly differently, so I write about mine and try to assess the ongoing damage.
4) How does your writing process work?
I am a stubborn writer, and that is the only reason I’ve survived and published stuff. I write horrible first drafts, disappointing second drafts, third drafts that show little promise, and fourth drafts that whisper “kill me, kill me” in a strange, squeaky voice. But I don’t kill them. I keep revising, until some glimmer of an interesting phrase, or idea, or image, starts to raise out of the pile of incoherent words.
My Nominations for the next leg of the BLOG TOUR:
I’ve nominated two dumb guys and two smart women, even though I’m only supposed to nominate three people. Read below and my reasoning will become crystal clear:
Bill Roorbach and Dave Gessner are so stupid it takes two of them to run one blog, Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour. Set aside for a moment the fact that Bill is the author of nine books, has won both the Flannery O’Connor Prize and O. Henry Prize, and is about to embark on a nationwide book tour for his newest, The Remedy for Love, or that Dave is also author of nine books, including The Tarball Chronicles, winner of numerous awards, including the Association for Study of Literature and the Environment’s award for best book of creative writing in 2011 and 2012, the truth is these two guys are pretty much the Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers of literary nonfiction. Neither can operate a digital camera, so their blog author photos are hand-drawn by Gessner. How lame is that?
Eva Langston blogs at In the Garden of Eva. She has published prose and poetry in a wide array of outstanding literary journals, recently landed an agent to sell her first novel, and in addition to writing, tutors Ukrainian students by Skype, designs match curriculum for teachers, and practices a lot of yoga.
Sonya Huber, another smart blogger, has published two outstanding books of creative nonfiction, Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir and Opa Nobody, as well as a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers. She teaches in the Department of English at Fairfield University and once made me laugh a lot in front of Joe “Fredo Corleone” Mackall.