"[My relationships were] like I was in these movies where the script was only half-written. When I’d get to the end of this half-script, the other actors wanted me to ad lib. But I had never gotten the hang of that. That’s why these movies were always box-office failures. Six of them in the past twenty years. I always blew the lines." ~ from my horrible first novel "Learn How To Pretend." (unpublished)(obviously)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Richard Bausch on BEING a Writer

"You have what most every one else has: some means, shelter, good food, happy things to do, movies, books, television shows, sports, music, friends, family; you have all that--and this, the writing. This is extra, and important, and very, very fortunate. And if you can do it at all, you are morally obligated to pursue it; it is not an indulgence, it's what you're SUPPOSED to be doing.
And of course it is tremendously difficult to do well because you have to wend through the thickets of your own being to get to the heart of things--you have to reach that place where you are past your own conscious knowledge; in fact you have get to where you surpass yourself, in a way eradicate yourself--let go of everything you think you think and everything you think you know, and all your personal baggage, and all the matters that show you in the best light. You have to do what Robert Penn Warren said: go naked into the dark, the unfamiliar, even the terrifying. Go in without any attitudes or opinions to shield you, and bring forth the experience itself, the very thing itself, which always feels like a surprise, because you have let go all those comfortable assumptions and expectations; and if you can do that, if you can be faithful to it, then you can recover the direct gaze of the child you were, by simply trying to be clear.
Good writing, it seems to me, always involves a shedding of the SELF as one knows it and has developed the long habit of seeing it. Contrary to how it is usually perceived, even by those trying so hard to do it, there is nothing remotely selfish about it. This is not to say it is charity, although in its way, if it is any good, it partakes of charity; this is not to say it is altruistic, either. It is simply a form of necessary sloughing off of the daily grasping and pulling of the self. So get to work, friends. There's only so much time to shake off the dust of worry and doubt and all those petty blindnesses we call adulthood."

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