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The same thing happens with sermon preparation. For the last little while, I've taken to just getting up and speaking to a few pre-planned points. The move away from the presentation of a written text ("eating meat") to a communicative event ("snacking") seems to be working - except for those few congregants who enjoy "eating meat." The analogy is moving from composition to e mail. Personally, I enjoy eating meat - which is why I, too, enjoy reading Fallows (and folks like you). We're slow food guys in a fast food world.

Puts me in mind of Bravo Channel's "Top Chef", where the winning dishes are often recreations or emendations of something the chef has at some time past worked hard to perfect - very often involving meat.


I wonder if this has anything to do with my vehemence in insisting that what I do is not writing, that I'm not a writer, that I don't know art but I know what I like, that I'm just writing journals or at most letters. I don't care to face the glare of that objective faceless audience again. It reduced me to silence once: that's enough.


I think "pushing against my nature as an organism" is a good description of it, Jarrett. I know that I resist like hell sitting down to put that first draftspurt onto the page. It is the painful part of writing. The initial onslaught. [and I'm talking about poems, which is what I mainly write.] I'm often in tears while writing this.

The revision, reshaping, refining, rearranging, re...everything that is the FUN.

That and the reading aloud before an audience come to hear your poems.

Writing is an unnatural act. It takes you away from your pack. It's separation. Isolation. Even if you do it in a crowded room/train/park. It's lonely. And painful. And who would do it, if not for that payoff revision and audience thrill!

Very interesting post. Thanks.



I nodded my head at virtually every word of this. As Dorothy Parker said, "I hate writing; I love having written".

I also agree with Teresa that the activity of writing is strange to the point of being unnatural. I recently heard a writer on the radio - it might have been David Rakoff - make the point that writing is one of the few human activities that *always* involves the initial production of something crappy that you then try to improve.


Sorry - I advertently posted my old blog address which has now been taken over by a spam blog!

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