Friday, June 24, 2011

I finished rereading Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, and all I can say is that if you ever find yourself in need of a book that (1) doesn't oblige you to overthink your connection to it or to anything else and (2) doesn't make you feel wicked for wasting your earthly hours on crap mystery novels, read this one.

Next on the recovery-literature docket: Trollope's Orley Farm . . . so long as all the pages don't start falling out, which is a definite possibility. Here's hoping that when I get back from the Frost Place I'll have rediscovered my ambitions and be able to return to the Pennsylvania project.

Now, as comic relief, I offer you the headline of an advertisement in the New York Review of Books:

"Discover How to Write about Anything"

Apparently, by way of these very expensive recorded lectures I can learn "how the unique styles and characteristics of fiction, essay, poetry, drama, and autobiography can inform [my] voice." Also, the professor assures me "that writing should always feel like an enjoyable process of self-discovery."

I tell you: there ought to be a law against perky defamations of the artistic endeavor. Maybe we could have warning labels, like on cigarette packages. Warning: Looking at this painting may make you feel worse than you did before you arrived the museum. Warning: Writing a good poem will in all likelihood leave you empty and slightly ill. Warning: Do not believe you will conquer the elusive, insurmountable aggravations of photographic printing. Warning: You'll never be as great a novelist as Dickens.


Julia Munroe Martin said...

Sigh. The end of the imagined warning about never being as great as Dickens may have done me in this morning.

Dawn Potter said...

Also, don't write while driving heavy machinery. I forgot that one.