Monday, September 30, 2002

Don’t Listen to the Man Behind the Curtain

As I cruise around the Internet a lot, I ran across this op/ed piece by Joseph Epstein:

Think You Have a Book in You? Think Again from September 28, 2002 in the NY Times.

It began, “According to a recent survey, 81 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them รณ and that they should write it. As the author of 14 books, with a 15th to be published next spring, I’d like to use this space to do what I can to discourage them.”

It seems that his reason for discouraging us is that the books we write may not be very good. And that it’s a time consuming process. And that it sometimes makes you feel a little muddled, or even bad at some point.

Yeah, some of us write from vanity, to get love, to gain acceptance, to put forth our own political agendas ... I could go on and on. But is it really his place to tell anyone not to write a book if they’re writing it for the wrong reason?

Which would bring me to the reason for writing my book.

I guess I’m writing to get love, belong to a community, advance my political agenda, to be able to call myself a novelist (I figured I oughta finish another before I really call myself that) ... what Mr. Epstein did not do was tell us why his books would be superior to one of my hastily written, stream-of-consciousness fictive works.

I could be peeved at his diatribe, but mostly after reading the piece, I was left thinking ... this wasn’t a very good essay. It’s all over the place. I’m not sure what the point was, if it was supposed to be funny, it wasn’t. If it was supposed to be serious, it wasn’t. In all reality, the only thing it succeeded in was some sort of odd irony. He complained that people who think they can write a book don’t write very well, and here he’s written poorly about that.

No, I’m not dissuaded by Mr. I’ve-Been-Published-14-Times. I’m gonna be published too.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:55 pm     NaNoWriMo

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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.