"I live to write."
I've long maintained that writing—for those of us who really write—isn't a hobby or a love or a job, but a compulsion. I came across Foote's quotation today, and I was trying to think what it would be like to live WITHOUT writing. I'd make it a few weeks, I think, and then my head would explode. I suppose there's a certain illness or instability in someone who requires eight to ten hours a day of sublimation to maintain a sense of purpose, but hell, I guess you dance with the one who brung you.
So much of a writer's life is filtered through a narrative lens. Most every exchange, event, subtlety raises questions: Can I use that? How could I tweak that in a plot to evoke the same sentiment? Can I mirror that language for a character? It's distracting, yes, and sets one at a certain remove from life at times, but it's also a lot of goddamned fun. Sort of like playing a game in your head your whole life.
So Foote's line seems particularly apt, since for some of us, there doesn't seem to be any other way TO live.
Friday, December 05, 2008
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