Sunday, August 17, 2014

Following Through

These days, authors often talk about how fun writing is.  I read dust jackets and learn that, for many authors, writing is about spending time with their imaginary friends, more like play than work.  After reading quite a few authors talk about their processes in this way, I began to despair.  Writing is hard, sometimes tedious work for me; does this mean that I am not real writer? A few years ago, I stumbled upon Nick Hornby's description of his frustrating writing process.  For him writing can be horrible, irritating, grim, and dull.  Relief!

Today I stumbled upon another writing process gem.  I'm reading Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor: A century of wisdom by Caroline Stoessinger.  As a child, Alice was friends with Franz Kafka.  "Alice would beg him to tell her the stories over and over again.  But she always wanted to know the ending - and that he could not answer.  He simply could not complete his work.  Later on, he would write, 'I am familiar with indecision, there's nothing I know so well, but whenever something summons me, I fall flat, worn out by half-hearted inclinations and hesitations over a thousand earlier trivialities.'"

Aha!  Another glimpse of my truth.