...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

The "myth" of writers and solitude
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All of us who admire writers (and I suspect that’s everyone who drops by here, and thank you) are conscious, I think, of the fact that it’s a job that requires isolation. That like, well, any art, any creativity, it leads us to all imagine (if we’re not writers) or to live lives which involve a lot of staring at a screen, sitting at a desk, trying to be alone and trying to dig those ideas out and put them down on paper or the screen or whatever.

(I’ve watched this for years because I live with an artist and at times, Stu despairs of coming up with something and then poof, it’s there. As are five more drawings. I imagine it’s a fear most artists have, worrying that you’ve run out of ideas. Yeah right. But that aside, I think we all think at times “what a tough job, what a lonely job”. Add in the whole convention thing and it’s really something; you do this solitary thing and then you go out there with dozens of people and talk about it. )

So I was SO pleased the other day when I received a book called THE FACES OF FANTASY. I’ve owned THE FACES OF SCIENCE FICTION since it first came out and the “companion volume” was issued some 12 years later. The photos are black & white and the photographer, Patti Perret, worked with Mary Ellen Mark, one of my favorite photographers in the world. The shots don’t always work for me but often they do – especially when I know the subject and I get to be all arty and talk about whether it captures them or not. Like I know. The writers all get a page to say something, which can be one sentence to paragraphs on art or writing or life or fantasy or the creative process. As you’d expect.

And with the photo of Emma Bull, a wonderfully talented writer, is this (excerpted a tad):

"Writers will tell you they practice a lonely art, best accomplished in solitude. Rubbish. They may do the actual deed in private, closing out the flesh-and-blood presence of their fellows. But they couldn’t do it – and might not even have thought of doing it – without the kindly influence of hordes of people, all of whom stand at their elbows in ghost-form forever after, watching the sentences take shape and laughing at the jokes. Family members show up in the crowd, and teachers from every level of education. There are lots of librarians hobnobbing there, many friendly bookstore clerks, and occasional tour guides from strange places. Other writers make up a large and noisy section of the party. Some of those are good friends, trusted workshoppers and commenters, long-suffering students. Some are the authors of books that (whether by good example or bad) made a difference. Then there are the musicians, artists, scientists, architects, gangsters, politicians, philosophers, race car drivers, telephone salespeople, and gas station attendants who inspired the words or enriched them, or made it possible to stumble through the business of real life while writing them."

Isn’t that wonderful?

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