The thing for someone just starting off [in writing] is to write. You need to have limber fingers, whether you write with your fingers or you type on your laptop, but you need to have a limber mind and you need to be able to write without judging what you've written, at least right away, and without editing right away.
Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground - you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it's going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.
There's a kind of radar that you get, after years of being talked about and made fun of by other people. You can almost smell it when it's about to happen, can recognize instantly the sound of a hushed voice, lowered just enough to make whatever is said okay. I had only been in colby for a few weeks. But i had not forgotten.
A man who has decided upon self-destruction is far removed from mundane affairs, and to sit down and write his will would be, at that moment, an act just as absurd as winding up ones watch, since together with the man, the whole world is destroyed; the last letter is instantly reduced to dust and, with it, all the postmen; and like smoke, vanishes the estate bequeathed to a nonexistent progeny.
I think it just has to do with getting older and getting better at what it was i was doing, and that i could take something small and kind of take my time with it. I think actually what that has to do with is i quit drinking. Before that i told myself i could only drink if i was - if i was writing, i had to be drinking. So i was on a timer, because eventually you get too drunk to write.
Nowadays theologians aren't quite so straightforward as paley. They don't point to complex living mechanisms and say that they are self-evidently designed by a creator, just like a watch. But there is a tendency to point to them and say 'it is impossible to believe' that such complexity, or such perfection, could have evolved by natural selection. Whenever i read such a remark, i always feel like writing 'speak for yourself' in the margin.
Write about winter in the summer. Describe norway as ibsen did, from a desk in italy; describe dublin as james joyce did, from a desk in paris. Willa cather wrote her prairie novels in new york city; mark twain wrote huckleberry finn in hartford, connecticut. Recently, scholars learned that walt whitman rarely left his room.