Tuesday, October 04, 2005

So Long and Thanks for all the Intimidation

I am currently reading, well, let's be honest, listening to Douglas Adams' last book The Salmon of Doubt. It is a collection of prefaces, introductions, newspaper columns, and various other random musings that were left in the depths of his hard drive after his far too early death in 2001. I am only 1/6th of the way into the book, and am enjoying it immensely, albeit with a huge side order of melancholy. It fascinates me that his more conversational pieces sounds exactly like the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. No, not the series, the actualy entries in the guide. It seems rather strange, yet also totally apt that the truest representations of his thought and speech patterns come from relative non sequiters. There is, however, one small problem. Listening to Adams' words can be incredibly inspirational to a guy like me who fancies himself as someone quite capable of writing a book someday, if he can only come up with the right story to tell. I hear the clever, Adamsian cadences and bizarre juxtapositions and I think, 'my god, I can do that too!' But then, the eponymous fish wriggles its way into my consciousness and whispers, 'but not as well.' This is a struggle I have faced all my life. I have little tolerance for bad literature, and have long since abandoned my youthful vow that a book begun is a book finished. Nowadays if I'm not enjoying a book, I stop reading it. The upside of this is that I tend only to read what I consider to be exceptional writing. The downside of that is that it often leaves me feeling like a Little League pitcher practicing with Sammy Sosa.

I don't really know if there is a real point to this, merely an observation, put out there so that I can't allow it to slip quietly and ignored into the tar-pits of my subconscious. Maybe if I can wrestle this particular demon into submission, I might just get that damned book started. And hopefully an unwritten book started, will be an unwritten book...written.



pikaresque said...

Okay now Marius.
What the F**k have you got to lose really?
All in favor of Marius getting off the creative/literary crapper..
say "aye".
Did you hear that?
Well, my point is it really doesn't matter what we say...it matters what you have to say.
So when your muse bops you on the head...go f**king write will you?

jeff said...

You're missing the forest for the trees. Worthly novels aren't born as Athena from Zeus' head. You yourself just pointed out how much of Adams' work was non-sequitur stream-of-consciousness. Perhaps you could just write a little something every day or two to build your chops. As a matter of fact you could look into something the kids today call a "blog". Maybe you could start your own "blog".

I remember a passage Adams' editor or publisher(I can't recall which) told about how Adams was only really productive when she was there in the living room. Adams' treated writing like performance art, and he needed an immediate, trusted audience.

On the topic of having an editor, I'm not sure you're remembering that quality work goes through a taxing series of rewrites. Just write a big pile o' crap, and make it brilliant one page at a time.

I assert that Douglas Adams influenced me more than any other author. It is a compliment to him to look upon his words and feel unworthy. Maybe I should get a "blog" and work up my own chops, eh?

Anonymous said...

Yeah! What THEY said! I appear to have no original thoughts of my own tonight . . .but that's okay.

I've been practising my writing on chops on several short stories I've written (and have gotten positive response on, so far). And that may be all I have in me. . . tons of little short stories. I'd love to write a novel, but keep searching deep inside and I don't "see" it there. But the short stories are the same as the way I eat ~ little snacks at frequent intervals. Works for me.

Rosebuckle said...

From someone who doesn't like to write at all (but loves to read), I have to say, "Are you crazy? Why do you think people come here, to exercise their eyes?

Then again, most of us have trouble seeing our own strengths.

Just write & don't worry about it.