Friday, November 05, 2010

Setting it up

Continued from Letting it settle
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More on writing (not a lot more). This quote's perfect for anyone who's paid to do it in any capacity, from Joseph Epstein's essay Blood, Sweat and Words.

"H.L. Mencken used to say that any scribbler who found writing too arduous ought to take a week off to work on an assembly line, where he will discover what work is really like. The old boy, as they say, got that right. To be able to put words together in what one hopes are charming or otherwise striking sentences is, no matter how much tussle may be involved, lucky work, a privileged job. The only true grit connected with it ought to arrive when, thinking to complain about how hard it is to write, one is smart enough to shut up and silently grit one’s teeth. "


Mencken had issues (including some deeply unpleasant ones) but summed up the process quite nicely. I've had this printed and posted over my desk for the last six years. It follows me from job to job, a dose of perspective when letters aren't falling in line.

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