Thursday, September 15, 2005

Come to find out, I'm right on track.

From On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner:

Like any other kind of intelligence, the storyteller's is partly natural, partly trained. It is composed of several qualities, most of which, in normal people, are signs of either immaturity or incivility: wit (a tendency to make irreverent connections); obstinancy and a tendency towards churlishness (a refusal to believe what all sensible people know is true); childishness (an apparent lack of mental focus and serious life purpose, a fondness for daydreaming and telling pointless lies, a lack of proper respect, mischieviousness, and unseemly propensity for crying over nothing); a marked tendency toward oral or anal fixation or both (the oral manifested by excessive eating, drinking, smoking, and chattering; the anal by nervous cleanliness and neatness coupled with a weird fascination with dirty jokes); remarkable powers of eidetic recall, or visual memory (a usual feature of early adolescence and mental retardation); a strange admixture of shameless playfulness and embarrasing earnestness, the latter often heightened by irrationaly intense feelings for or against religion; patience like a cat's; a criminal streak of cunning; psychological instability; recklessness, impulsiveness, and improvidence; and finally, an inexplicable and incurable addiction to stories, written or oral, bad or good. Not all writers have exactly these same virtues, of course. Occasionally one finds one who is not abnormally improvident.

4 comments:

Trixie said...

after reading this, i checked the weather and was relieved to see it will be raining for the next 3-5 days. ahhhhh! nothing to do but read (and write) and listen to the cowmoo.

Nora said...

I'm really loving this book. It makes writing a novel seem like a completely sensible --if not inevitable -- thing to do.

If'n you've got the right stuff, that is.

Trixie said...

or the write stuff? eh? eh? heh heh

Nora said...

Har.