Monday, May 19, 2014

We dare you to mention George Plimpton, William Faulker and Sam Smith in the same post

Challenge accepted. We should be writing viral blog posts and gathering notes for a presentation about Sonia Sotomayor. Instead we're trolling YouTube watching Sam Smith videos. Like this interview

At one point about three-quarters of the way through he talks about giving music another year then quitting. He was, like, 20. And we thought, what is he, related to Amy March? But then he wrote a song about it -- we think he said it was called 'Little Sailor,' which got someone's attention, and then he wrote Latch and then he's on Saturday Night Live and we're watching videos about him instead of what we should be doing. So his year turned out pretty good.

We're blowing off our book club presentation and remembering our own year-long+ quest, which had rather a different result, although we are no less resilient than Sam.

You're not going to be surprised by what we've been reading. First, this piece about George Plimpton and failure. He was in favor of it, spectacularly. Tops on my watching list is the PBS special. We all know what a failure the Paris Review has been.

We just happened to find this gem on the Paris Review web site, from an interview with that failure, William Faulkner:
All of us failed to match our dream of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. In my opinion, if I could write all my work again, I am convinced that I would do it better, which is the healthiest condition for an artist. That's why he keeps on working, trying again; he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off. Of course he won't, which is why this condition is healthy. Once he did it, once he matched the work to the image, the dream, nothing would remain but to cut his throat, jump off the other side of that pinnacle of perfection into suicide. I'm a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can't, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.
Oh the irony. All our life we wanted to be a novelist -- given our obsession with fiction -- only to find we have no talent for it! So we tried poetry instead. Dear readers reader, you've suffered the results of that. And we're not even perfectionists!

Better personages than we have judged their fellow personages; thank you, Huffington Post, for the graphic. Click it for the full interactive version, we can't seem to make it fit on this skinny template.

Writers who hate either others stuff

We really must get back to work. But we really can't quit listening to Sam Smith.

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