When a parent dies, a filing cabinet full of all the fascinating stuff also ceases to exist. I never imagined how hungry I’d be one day to look inside it.
For most digital-age writers, writing is rewriting. We grope, cut, block, paste, and twitch, panning for gold onscreen by deleting bucket-loads of crap. Our analogue ancestors had to polish every line mentally before hammering it out mechanically.
Only one-tenth of what you write will make it into your manuscript, but when you knock on the tenth…you’ll hear oaken solidity, not sawdust and glue.
Some gems from David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. It’s out in September. You should read it.
You try to maintain a modicum of normalcy. You try not to sleep in too late; you clean every inch of your apartment, even parts that haven’t seen daylight since you moved in. You pin the dog down and scrub her clean while she shivers and tries to get away, seemingly forgetting that you are bigger than she is; she is indifferent when you show her the dirty bath water. When all is quiet you reflect, on your age and place, and how they aren’t what you had in mind when you were 15 and the 30s seemed eons away, but you couldn’t wait—by then, you wouldn’t have to do what anyone else said you had to do; you wouldn’t have to go to school, you wouldn’t have to do chores, you wouldn’t have to hide in the bathroom for a little peace and quiet. And then that bathroom became your shoebox of an apartment, and it’s no longer your parents arguing that you overhear, but your neighbors having sex, and you stare at the dog while she sleeps and her snout twitches and her eyes flit back and forth, seeing whatever it is dogs see when they dream. It’s hard not to count the hours, not to focus your day according to the schedule of television programs you enjoy watching, or not wait for a friend to get off of work for the day so they can spend a few precious minutes with you, because those minutes make you feel human. You think—you know—it could be worse, but “worse” is different for everyone. So you get used to the weekday, daytime listlessness. You say you don’t envy all the workerbees schlepping to their offices and then back home, though secretly, you do. You plot, quietly. You wait and see.
Exactly. We should all have an hourly rate.
…who went on a tirade during a luncheon speech last week at BookExpo. “Amazon also, as you know, wants to control bookselling, book buying, and even book publishing, and that is a national tragedy—James Patterson, quoted in the New York Times.
I dislike James Patterson—the
infomercials commercials he does for his books freak me out—but I do agree with him in this regard. I was taught that competition was at the core of our economic system, so I’m not really clear on what Amazon is trying to do here. I mean…I am, but I think the mighty have farther to fall.
I find this interesting not only as a former and possibly future employee of the publishing industry, but also because I just saw this question on a job application. It was something like “Amazon is…” [ complete the sentence].
How can you answer that without either sounding like an asshole or an apologist?