Published Authors

A place for budding and experienced authors to share ideas about publishing and marketing books
 
HomeHome  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log in  Featured MembersFeatured Members  ArticlesArticles  

Share | 
 

 Writing as Bad Manners

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Malcolm
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 1504
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : Georgia

PostSubject: Writing as Bad Manners   Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:00 am

If you search the Internet for writing
quotations, sooner or later you'll find this one from Fran Lebowitz: "Your
life story would not make a good book. Don't even try."

When Lebowitz wrote that typically jaded and/or satirical comment, she was
writing about manners, that is, what should or should not be done to remain
within the confines of acceptable behavior.

Since Lebowitz believes--with a lot of justification, I believe--that most of
us don't have any talent, she concludes that it's unseemly for us to try to paint
or write. The urge to do so will pass, she says, if we'll just eat something
sweet.

Within the context of her essay on manners (collected with other essays from
the 1970s in The Fran Lebowitz Reader), this quote that's quoted by so
many people makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, the quote most often appears
out of context where it morphs into a smug, elitist battering ram against young
and unknown writers. That is to say: if you're not already famous, don't
bother.

Should psychiatrist Eric Berne choose to come back from the dead and write a
new edition of his popular 1967 bestseller "Games People Play," he would
find fertile fields of game playing material in the writing profession. No
doubt, one game of note would be: I'm a Writer, You're a Wannabee.

Even those without any training as analysts would suspect game playing whenever
they saw the game's catch phrase "Your life story would not make a good
book. Don't even try."

Those who presume they are squeaky clean presume everyone else (who has the bad
manners to presume to write) is unwashed. Many reviewers and critics delight in
showing how bad the purported unwashed are; in fact, I think some reviewers
search for the worst of the worst, for it makes such wonderful fodder for snide
reviews designed to show that they (the reviewers) are among the best of the
best.

Goodness knows, agents, teachers, publishers, and writing coaches have seen
more than their fair share of drivel. Yet, when I read some of the advice for
prospective writers that comes from those who shower early and often, I
think--and I know it's wrong to say this--that they absolutely adore the
drivel. When they see it, they can once again see a definitive separation
between the washed and the unwashed.Their positions and their jobs are secure!

As a psychic with only a 37.5% level of accuracy, I can read their minds, those
who pontificate about the sins of the unwashed and other wannabees: "By
the grace of God, I wasn't born on the wrong side of the tracks like those
scum." Such feelings, of course, lead to game playing with a vengeance,
that is, making sure the unwashed are exposed before anyone mistakes them for
people of talent or prospective talent that is--presumably--too dangerous to
nurture.

When you see a reviewer, critic, agent, publisher or coach sharpening his or
her claws, you know that s/he's afraid, afraid you might be gaining, getting
better, taking time to bother yourself through a phase of bad manners until
your star shines in the heavens with your talent.

Whenever you hear somebody quoting Lebowitz, it's probably best to run like
hell. They might be playing games rather than making jokes.

from Writer's Notebook
Back to top Go down
http://www.conjurewomanscat.com
alj
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 9633
Registration date : 2008-12-05
Age : 74
Location : San Antonio

PostSubject: Re: Writing as Bad Manners   Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:15 am

Wow, I really liked that one, Malcolm.

It reminds me, again, of that old Kristofferson song, "Everybody's Gotta Have Somebody to Look Down On."

The image of fear being the reason for our sharpening of our respective claws is a vivid one.

Ann
Back to top Go down
http://www.annjoiner.com
Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 10354
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 78
Location : Germany

PostSubject: Re: Writing as Bad Manners   Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:29 am

Good post, Malcolm.
Back to top Go down
Malcolm
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 1504
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : Georgia

PostSubject: Re: Writing as Bad Manners   Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:39 pm

Yes, Ann, that song would really add some ambiance to the post.

Thanks, Abe.

Malcolm
Back to top Go down
http://www.conjurewomanscat.com
Al Stevens
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

PostSubject: Re: Writing as Bad Manners   Sat May 15, 2010 10:07 am

A lesson to be learned from Charled Kuralt's writings is that even the most pedestrian of stories becomes a good story when it is well-written. He made common places and ordinary people quite special. He made you want to be there with them instead of whatever common place you were in with whatever ordinary people you were with.

Russell Baker's "Growing Up" is a good example of an unremarkable life turned into a remarkable autobiography.
Back to top Go down
http://alstevens.blogspot.com
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Writing as Bad Manners   

Back to top Go down
 
Writing as Bad Manners
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Published Authors :: Authors and Books :: Authors-
Jump to: