But what's it mean...
First Appeared in Burnt Toast#10, 1992
It's a confusing business being a writer. For 51 1/2 weeks of the year, you sit quietly alone in your suburban study staring at a blank computer screen and wondering why the top row of keys on the keyboard reads QWERTYUIOP instead of STARTWRITINGYOULAZYBASTARDTHEMORTGAGEISDUENEXTWEEK.
It's a thousand pages, give or take a few
If you really like it you can have the rights
Why do I find it so hard to write the next line?
I love being a writer. It's the paperwork I can't stand.
The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no measure or limit to this fever of writing; everyone must be an author, some for some kind of vanity to acquire celebrity and raise a name, others for the sake of lucre or gain.
The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in shock-proof shit-detector.
Use good English: I don't mean clear English, of course, I mean the sort of English like Hemingway's, which acknowledges that the language is so rich in verbs that you don't need adverbs. My friend George Stern, who writes for the Literary Review, reckons that you can even do without adjectives. After a few fumblings with the Concise Oxford, any reviewer will treat you with respect.
What no wife of a writer can understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window.
This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
Every writer, without exception, is a masochist, a sadist, a peeping Tom, an exhibitionist, a narcissist, an 'injustice collector' and a 'depressed person constantly haunted by fear of unproductivity'.
A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope big enough for a manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation for the editor.
There's a million things in this world I can't do. Can't fix a leaky faucet. Can't roller-skate or make an F-Chord on the guitar that sounds like anything but shit. I have tried twice to be married and couldn't do it either time. But if you want me to take you away, to scare you or involve you or make you cry or grin, yeah. I can. I can bring it to you and keep bringing it until you holler uncle. I am able. I CAN.
I don't want to fictionalize myself. Writing may be masturbatory, but God forbid it should be an act of autocannibalism.
"I've never killed anybody. Except in stories."
Writing is easy; all you have to do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.
With twenty-six soldiers of lead I will conquer the world.
They fill their pens from your vital juices -- sucking up your experience -- then smear it wantonly across the walls of these crumbling asylums called books.
You're quite right, this is not a list of quotes about the Tom Baker era. Anyone who can provide such a list is welcome to write in. Meanwhile, I hope you forgive an alternate topic, close to my heart.
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