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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Listening

     I like going to author readings. I think of it as part of my work, and make an effort to attend them whenever I get the chance. Fortunately I live in a town that brings in some wonderful writers. Earlier this week I went to hear Salman Rushdie speak. He read from his memoir, Joseph Anton, which I haven't read yet. I look forward to reading it and will since I was forced to buy the book in order to attend the reading. He is an engaging, and of course, interesting speaker. Actually knows how to charm a crowd.
     A couple of the most memorable things he said were that his grandfather taught him that "nothing is off limits", a rather essential philosophy for a writer to embrace. Yet as with most matters related to good writing, sounds much simpler than it actually is.
     Two other things he said stuck with me because they were about fears, and I have the very same fears as Mr. Rushdie. Well, not on being executed, but these:
     He said if he didn't write about his life "it would destroy me". I know that feeling well. He also confided that his greatest fear is "writing bad books". I worry about that too, no one wants to write bad books. I find that the former fear overrides the latter, and maybe that is the way it has to be.
      Last night I went to hear a writer at my local indie bookstore. A writer I have met before, and whose career I admire, Joyce Maynard. She read from Labor Day and talked a lot about how she saw it as a movie even when she was writing the first draft. It was most interesting to hear her talk about applying the sense of sight to writing; visualizing scene and action. She gave me something new to think about, and I'm off to think about it right now...

Is charm part of the creative process? Both of these successful writers exude it.

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