Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Have just read, in one sitting, an advance copy of Benjamin Anastas's extremely unsettling memoir Too Good to Be True.  It is a book about a true unraveling and an only partial reknitting; the parts about debt are too disturbing for me to excerpt here as I have a Dickensian horror of financial insecurity!  But here is an also very chilling description that will strike fear into the hearts of many of you:
I had a routine all that fall that I stuck to in a dogged search for regularity: I woke up on the early side, somewhere in the sevens, made a pot of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal in the kitchen, then I brought my laptop out on the screened-in porch and "wrote" for the next two hours.  I have put "wrote" in quotation marks because I didn't actually manage to do much writing--instead, I rewrote everything I had started on the computer screen over and over until the spark of life had been extinguished and the paragraphs had a perfect, sculptural look.  No uneven line breaks; no stacks of "the" or "and"; no repeated words.  It is a kind of obsessive polishing made possible only by the computer, and it burns the hours just like real work does, but in fact it is the opposite: a fail-safe system for killing off writing with maximum effort.  Once I had toggled the piece I was working on to death, I would file it away in FALSE STARTS and open up a new file in Word to begin the process all over again.

No comments:

Post a Comment