So You Are a Writer?

I came across this quote by Dorothy Parker:

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

Dorothy Parker was renowned for her sharp satirical wit but humor no matter how jovially passed around always has some great insights  So I thought I should write about what is it like being a writer. Professional or amateur, being a writer you face many social tatters that otherwise remains oblivious at large. Luckily, Paulo Coelho made this work easier for me. He has already written about it in his commendable book Like a Flowing River.Though it may not accurately fit on some writer that you know of, perhaps that person isn’t a stereotypical writer but here’s a bit of excerpt that I would happily like to share with you all. Enjoy:

A writer wears glasses and never combs his hair. Half of the time he feels angry about everything and other half depressed. He spends most of his life in bars arguing with other disheveled, bespectacled writers. He says very ‘deep’ things. He always has amazing ideas for the plot of his next novel, and hates the one he has just published.

  A writer has duty and obligation never to be understood by his generation; convinced as he is, that he has been born into an age of mediocrity, he believes being understood would lose his chance of ever being considered genius. A writer revises and rewrites each sentence many times. The vocabulary of average man is made up of 3000 words, a real writer never uses any of these because there are another 189000 in the dictionary, and he is not the average man.

 Only other writers can understand what a writer is trying to say .Even so, he hates all other writers, because they are jockeying for the same vacancies left by history of literature over centuries. And so the writers and his peers compete for the prize of the most complicated book: the one who wins will succeed in being the most difficult to read.

A writer understands about things with alarming names like semiotics, epistemology, neoconcretism. When he wants to shock someone, he says things like ”Einstein was a fool”, or “Tolstoy was a clown of bourgeoisie” .Everyone is scandalized but they never the less go and tell other people that theory of relativity is a bunk or that Tolstoy was a defender of Russian aristocracy.

When trying to seduce a woman, a writer says: “I am a writer” and scribbles a poem on napkin. It always works. 

Given its vast culture, a writer can always get a work as a literary critic .In that role, he can show generosity by writing about his friend’s book. Half of such reviews are made up of quotation by foreign authors, and other half of analyses of sentences, always using sentences such as ‘epistemological cut’, ‘an integrated bi-dimensional vision of life’. Anyone reading the review will say  ‘ what a cultivated person, but he won’t buy  the book because he’s afraid how to continue reading when the epistemological cut appears.

When invited to say what he is currently reading at the moment, a writer always mentions a book no one has ever heard of.

There is only one book that arouses unanimous admiration of the writer and his peers: Ulysses by James Joyce. No writer will ever speak ill of his book, but when someone else asks him what is it all about, he can’t quite explain, making one doubt that he has actually read it.


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