Sunday, April 24, 2011

scribble scribble scribble

So, the story goes something like this. After finishing his first volume of the Decline, Edward Gibbon gives the Duke of Gloucester a copy of it. When he finishes the second volume, and presents him with a copy of that one as well, the duke replies "Another damned, thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr. Gibbon?!"

And why am I sharing this? Well, aside from still deluding myself into thinking I'm actually going to finish that work one day--but dammit I will! I just keep getting distracted. It's not that I can't get into it. Hell, Gibbon's prose is a delight to read. No, it's that damned Oliphant Smeaton! Why did I have to get the Modern Library version, with that little sniveling twerp editing it? And having to endure him putting his own annoying, footnotes into it? And right alongside Gibbon's footnotes! You cannot choose to ignore the footnotes, because Gibbon puts some of his best lines in them. But you never know "whose" footnote you will accessing when you go to one. And when you go to one, and then find it is just Smeaton taking a jab at Gibbon (Gibbon was mistaken on this point....Gibbon errs here...), it's annoying as hell! The little bug! I've got to find another copy of it, there's just no getting around it.

Okay, where was I? Ah yes, it's not about the book, but about the duke's snide remark. And how I so wished that could be applied to me. I have such a hard time trying to keep at my writing. I'll have stretches where I get going pretty well, but all too soon, nothing.

The best time for me to write is in the mornings. Early morning. But the latest little ploy I have found is telling myself I should really be using that time to go to the gym. And I really do need to lose some weight, you know. And when else am I going to do it? But do I actually go to the gym? No, I end up doing neither. Result: still fat and no words.

But at least I think I know why I keep defeating myself. As long as I just fantasize about it, I can be the most brilliant and sought-after writer on the planet. My prose is so creative and groundbreaking, everyone who opens one of my books is amazed at my skills. And how many interviews have I done in my head? So many that Terry Gross and I have become good friends, and periodically meet for drinks. Cosmopolitans. I bet she drinks cosmopolitans.

The hard truth I am presented with, is when I actually sit down and start to write, all of those flowing lines aren't there. In my fantasy world, I'm a wonderful writer. In the real world, I'm just a hack.


  1. What you need is to relax with some library puzzles:

    Terry Gross wouldn't ask the right questions in real life anyway. And she ends every sentence with a question mark?

  2. Oh I don't know, that is one of the most erudite pieces on doing bugger all I have ever read!