Monday, March 8, 2010

Between grass and hay they say.

It's 14 degrees Celsius outside and I'm spending the day indoors, healing a lower back injury from gym exercise. I can barely bend down.
It's just another weird occurrence in my life, out of many that have happened recently. But the thing is, I'm not too stressed. I've been through multiple back/leg injuries before, what I was doing wasn't too strenuous (although it was a rookie mistake - a combination of inadequate stretching and too much weight), it was nice out yesterday as well and I got a taste of it...I should be fine by Friday. I'm feeling better than yesterday evening, already on the come-up. It's good, it's good.

But rather than attempt to create a segue (lazy) I'd like to discuss some advice from authors I've read recently.

Virginia Woolf said that writing should not consist of expressing one's frustrations.

Alex Haley said that in order to be successful one should want to write, not want to be a writer.

Lorrie Moore said in How to be a Writer that one should try to be anything else, first of all.

Out of these three imprints of advice, I can relate to Haley's the most. I've seen it before, people who want to make money or be famous based on a book they want to write. I won't lie, I've entertained these thoughts as well but they don't comprise my drive to write. Money and fame are only by-products of creating a substantial work of art; they aren't the overall goal. If I write a book which ultimately makes me enough money to live on, I won't quit writing thinking that I've accomplished my 'goal'. Which I'm sure people would scoff at based on my youth and the fact that I'm already immodestly billing myself as a novelist, but it's the truth...

I don't necessarily agree with Woolf but she makes a good case regarding quality in literature. Writing for therapeutic release is a very healthy practice, and I do agree that other people should be exposed to it, but to an extent. I always think of the divide between writing something and publishing something - what causes someone to take the publishing step. If you honestly believe that people will benefit from reading your work, and you believe it's original and well-written enough to create a mark in literature, and you care about the state of literature itself and not just how you can profit off of it, then I would say it stands a chance...
In my life, I was always attached to literature. I always had a talent and appreciation for it. I read constantly, often books that weren't targeted towards my particular demographic. A small memory I have is of a science fair I attended when I was twelve - there was a girl there my age with an exhibit as well, and she was reading The Partner by John Grisham, which I was also reading at the time. It surprised me and I wanted to tell her but didn't.

My life has been saturated with literature. Which brings me to Moore's point. Although reading and writing have been staples of my life I still haven't been born and bred for a writing career, like say politicians or princes and how they know from a young age where their lives are going to lead. But at the same time I don't see how aiming for a writing career is ill-advised. I think Moore's advice is controversial because it places a limit on how people should understand the writing world. It might sound naïve to say but I've had many small jobs before, all not involving writing - does this mean I'm exempt of Moore's advice?
She could mean that I have to have initial career plans not involving writing at all, and writing should strike me at any given moment (I might be exempt of this possibility as well - I started taking Environmental Studies in my first year of university). Does it mean that I should have a career I've spent years on while writing on the side, finally reading for my chance to shine (which is a strong possibility for me as well)? Maybe I should check out the entire book, right?

I'm talking about myself too much.

It's spring, when a young man's fancy turns to love. I never liked the word 'fancy'. And I've always wanted a girl's love no matter what season it was. Maybe restricting myself to conventional 'parameters' like the aforementioned would increase my chances of finding love, because it's what people expect...

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