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 No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...

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Malcolm
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PostSubject: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:01 pm

James Joyce was feeling down, out and disillusioned when he wrote "no pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no inclination" in a letter to his brother in December 1906.

This is a dangerous state for an author to be in.

The Orlando rapper and slam poet STRAT was in this state when he took his own life almost a month ago. About 150 people from the Orlando arts community came to his memorial service and spoke of him and his work in glowing terms. From the dangerous state he was in, he had not shared their opinion.

Perhaps he had neither the passion nor the arrogance necessary for an artist to survive in a world that is kind only to the super stars. The poisonous cult of celebrity obscures to us most of the people working in theatre and film. The hype surrounding bestselling authors obscures to us most of the people who are writing books.

Obscurity, perhaps, is one of a writer's worst enemies. This is not to say that those of us who write need to be rich and famous. But we do need an audience, people who are willing to pay to read or hear our work and then ask us for more.

I am too passionate and arrogant to commit suicide, though I'm certain there's somewhat of a death wish hidden within the psyche of every writer, for the better the work, the more of the self that's invested in its success. The work becomes too dear for indifference.

When STRAT was young, he was so full of promise. He died young and never lost his promise. I wish my nephew had known that and been more arrogant about his chances of success by any definition that suited him.

-
From Writer's Notebook
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:39 am

Hope springs eternal, they say, and without hope one has difficulty sustaining the will to live. Sad but true, in my opinion.
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:17 am

That hopeless feeling seems to feed on itself, Zada. Once it's out of control, it takes some pretty huge positive things to get a person back on track sometimes.

Malcolm
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Susan MacTabert
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:43 pm

Years ago I came across Jung's, "The artist's life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts, for two forces are at war within him--on the one hand the commom human longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life, and on the other a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire." and; "There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire." I've kept them taped up over my desk along with other words of insight, understanding and kinship. Not to long ago I found Jung's "Psychology and Literature" from which the quote was taken and it is well worth the read for any writer.
Thanks for sharing, Malcolm.
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:52 pm

Stephen King, in his book On Writing, told this amusing anecdote about James Joyce:

A friend came to visit (James) one day and found the great man sprawled across his writing desk in a posture of utter despair.

"James, what's wrong?" the friend asked. "Is it the work?"

Joyce indicated assent without even raising his head to look at the friend. Of course it was the work. Isn't it always?

"How many words did you get today?" the friend persued.

Joyce (still in despair, still sprawled facedown on his desk): "Seven."

"Seven? But James... that's good, at least for you!"

"Yes," Joyce said, finally looking up. "I suppose it is... but I don't know what order they go in!"
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:06 pm

What a riot! I can sympathize!
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:05 pm

I've always liked Jung, and those quotes are part of the reason why.

I write at the same speed as Joyce, but I usually know what order the words go in.

Malcolm
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Brenda Hill
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:59 pm

I know the order too, Malcolm, but I wind up changing them anyway.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:33 am

I suppose that's why some people like putting together puzzles. Making order out of chaos is an art. Ask any woman.
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet...   Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:42 am

I'm scared of puzzles.
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