clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wonderful Reads

I have two works at the moment that I am enjoying very much.

John Scalzi  (_Old Man's War_ ) has a nice text lifted from his blob linked here : You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop

Larry Phillips edits _Ernest Hemingway on Writing_  here :  EH Writing.

Both of these have vastly different structures but both have the same practical tone. That makes sense because both Hemingway and Scalzi are first and foremost professional writers. Different times produce different vocational aspects of writing. Both are however frank, objective, and insightful.

Scalzi's book goes down like a warm beer in a frat party beer bong. Hemingway's goes down like a liter of Bushmills in the same beer bong.

Wow. You'll have to read them because I can't do justice to either. There isn't a clever "quippy" way for me to distill two professional writers discussing the nuanced reasoning behind their thoughts on their profession.

I can say Scalzi has a very solid outlook throughout the pages I have thus far consumed. Writing is work so roll up your sleeves, check that bloody ego, and get to it.

Hemingway in just the first few pages has knocked me completely on my ass. Among his thoughts are that nothing in the world is as pleasurable as actually doing the writing task itself. ( I feel that way) Editing, research and all the rest is the price we pay but the power of the writing act itself is tremendous. Also, the best qualification for a writer [ remember, this is Hemingway who believes in the "truth" of a thing and the resonance of an observation with the measured reality of the reader ] may be an unhappy childhood.

Scalzi is constructed of sections lifted from his blog Whatever. It is Scalzi's wisdom dispensed with the nuanced application of a fire hose.

Hemingway is constructed from excerpts of personal letters, notes, and the rare interview. The piece trickles out across the page in broken fragments. It reminds me a great deal of pouring  Scotch out of a flask into tin cups for friends after an especially fine morning of fishing. ( Yea ? Well, get on a float plane sometime. Fly three hours from civilization. Spend the first day of a very expensive fishing trip getting blanked. Then, on the first fish of the next morning land the baby that you know will be the big fish of the week. You'll share that precious 16 oz flash of Scotch with your buddies at the 11 AM pit stop too. 16 oz flask ? You bet. Let's not go overboard with the rationing. They still make the stuff, you know. )

I enjoy both of these books on writing and wonder why I didn't buy them sooner.

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