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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Can't See the Forest for the Trees?


I'm reading a book about writing called The Forest For the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers, by Betsy Lerner. Here are a few choice passages from today's reading:

"I often get very tense working," said novelist and critic William Gass. "So I often have to get up and wander around the house. It's very bad on my stomach... My ulcer flourishes and I have to chew a lot of pills. When my work is going well, I am usually sort of sick."

For others, writing is the only way to alleviate what ails them.

"When I'm writing I find it's the only time that I feel completely self-possessed, even when the writing itself is not going too well," remarked William Styron. "It's fine therapy for people who are perpetually scared of nameless threats as I am most of the time --- for jittery people. Besides, I've discovered that when I'm not writing I'm prone to developing certain nervous tics, and hypochondria."

Which one of these is you --- or are you somewhere in between? It might be worth exploring this issue.

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