KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz Jägerstätter

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Writers Write about Writers

Garrison Keillor has a terrific essay about writers. (H/T to Summa Mamas for the link)

The fact of the matter is that the people who struggle most with writing are drunks. They get hammered at night and in the morning their heads are full of pain and adverbs. Writing is hard for them, but so would golf be, or planting alfalfa, or assembling parts in a factory.

The biggest whiners are the writers who get prizes and fellowships for writing stuff that's painful to read, and so they accumulate long résumés and few readers and wind up teaching in universities where they inflict their gloomy pretensions on the young. Writers who write for a living don't complain about the difficulty of it. It does nothing for the reader to know you went through 14 drafts of a book, so why mention it…

Clarity is hard. Honesty can be hard. Comedy is always chancy, but then so is profundity. Sometimes one winds up as the other. Illness is, of course, to be avoided, and also megamalls and meetings involving vice presidents. But writing is not painful, no more so than a round of golf.


Oh but English teachers love to know the pain the writers felt as they concocted their collection of symbolism and metaphors. Many an English teacher has tried to convince me of the greatness of James Joyce’s Ulysses. I know the experts think it is the greatest book ever written. The truth of the matter is it is unreadable. When I wrote my analysis of Ulysses for my college English class I had to concentrate on an aspect that was illustrated in the first three chapters because I just couldn't read any more than that.

I left the world of medicine and now try my hand at writing. I hope my writing is never the delight of English teachers. I don’t want my work to require layer after layer of analysis. Maybe my reader will pause and ponder an idea for a moment. Maybe my reader will laugh or cry. Maybe there will be an epiphany as a new perspective crystallizes. Hopefully, my words transmit faith, hope, humor and wisdom. I write no clandestine messages. I am trying to write truth.

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