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A writer's world

The May edition of Esquire contains a fascinating piece by Chris Jones about Robert Caro, who has written four hugely acclaimed books about Lyndon B. Johnson. In one paragraph, Jones writes about how Caro gets ready to write—and why he gets ready in this way:

Before he writes, however, he sits at his desk and he looks out his window at the glass building across the street, and he thinks about what each of his books is to become. In those quiet moments, he remembers the words of one of his professors from when Caro was a young man at Princeton, studying literature. The professor was the critic and poet R.P. Blackmur, and Caro, who always wrote his assignments in a hurry, under the pressure of deadline, and who usually received good grades for his rushed work, thought he had fooled him. Blackmur was not fooled: "You're not going to achieve what you want to achieve, Mr. Caro, unless you stop thinking with your fingers," the poet said.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
strwberryfizz
May. 11th, 2012 03:05 pm (UTC)
"Caro, who always wrote his assignments in a hurry, under the pressure of deadline, and who usually received good grades for his rushed work..."

That's me. Stop thinking with your fingers: What a great piece of advice.
patrick_vecchio
May. 11th, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
What a great way to put it, too. I'll be using this one on students next semester for sure.
inkling7
May. 13th, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
That is exactly what I was thinking.
patrick_vecchio
May. 13th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
I've never been averse to stealing good ideas.
nodressrehersal
May. 12th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
Man, you are on a writin', sharin' roll here! Lovin' it all.
patrick_vecchio
May. 12th, 2012 02:13 am (UTC)
Thanks! And thank goodness the school year is over.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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