Tuesday, June 26, 2007
A quotable dinner
Well, I've just packed the last of my dinner guests off to bed. Phew! Writers, what a bunch they are....
"So, Minxy babe, how goes the writing?" Tolkien asked as I heaped more prawns on his cocktail.
"Every writer I know has trouble writing" said Joseph Heller.
"I asked Ring Lardner the other day how he writes his short stories" Harold Ross said with mayonnaise dripping down his chin "and he said he wrote a few widely spaced words on a piece of paper and then went back and filled in the spaces".
"Sounds good to me, Harry" I said.
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. Don't you think, Minx?" George Orwell asked, helping himself to more spaghetti.
'I'm pretty sure I've never....."
"Oh yes," Kafka chipped in "Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself."
Goddess, best get the beer out, before they all get too melancholy.
"Easy reading is damn hard writing" Nathaniel Hawthorne said, flicking a pea at one of the Bronte's.
"Yes, yes, don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass" Chekov slurred, burping loudly.
I just hoped it wasn't going to be me best glass, I thought as Lewis Carroll lit another joint.
"When you are describing, a shape, or sound, or tint. Don't state the matter plainly, but put it in a hint." he said "And learn to look at all things, with a sort of mental squint."
Mental squint, that's good coming from you, I thought. Were any of this lot going to offer any sensible advice about writing?
"As for my next book," Virginia Woolf declared, waking from a timely nap "I am going to hold myself from writing it till I have it impending in me, grown heavy like a ripe pear, pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall".
She should have married Joycey, I thought, they would have made a good couple.
"The best time for planning a book is while you are doing the dishes" Agatha Christie said, nudging Twain in the ribs. I could see her mind was working overtime about the twelve people sat around the table. No doubt she was killing us all off one by one over the dishes!
"A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order" Jean Luc Godard giggled.
"I try to leave out the parts that people skip" Elmore Leonard sniffed.
"That makes sense" I said, sniffing myself.
"Oh no" said Ray Bradbury "you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you".
"Well you lot are getting pissed on my best wine and I really have no idea what I'm going to write next. " I said. "I thought you would be some help - obviously not".
"I never think when I write." said Don Marquis "Nobody can do two things at the same time and do them both well."
There was a prolonged silence as his words sunk through the lake of alcohol that my best spaghetti hadn't soaked up.
"Well Minxy darling." said GK Chesterton thoughtfully "You could compile the worst book in the world entirely out of selected passages from the best writers in the world."
Now, I thought, there's an idea!