When I was in my 20s, I had this big plan to go down to El Salvador and write about the war. Never mind that I had never written anything and didn’t speak Spanish. I ran into the father of a friend of mine, and told him about my plan. I kind of expected him to shoot me down but he didn’t. Instead, he thought about it a bit, then said, ‘Well, if that’s your dream, you’ve got to do it. Because you know who you’re going to blame if you don’t, right?’
I thought about this, and was pretty sure I knew where he was going. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I’ll blame myself.’
‘Bullshit!’ he said. ‘You’ll blame your wife and kids, when you get them.’
Somehow this has stayed with me all of these years; this idea that, one reason to try and do the things you want to do (especially artistically) is that, if you don’t at least try, you’ll be discontent, and may take this discontent out on those closest to you. Or, to put it more positively: If you at least try to do the things that excite you, it will make you a more expansive and present person — you’ll feel, at the end of your life, that at least you took the shot.
Where on God’s green earth do so many people get the idea that quotation marks denote emphasis? There are many, many things about the English language that are legitimately confusing, but the function of quotation marks is actually very simple and straightforward. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why so many people misuse them.
Maybe the best writing advice ever? Ah, the brilliance of Tony Kushner…
“If I wanted to write the stories I had to tell, Sugar told me to gather everything within me to make it happen. She advised me to suffer, but by ‘suffer’ she meant ‘work.’ Not panic. Not destroy myself. Not hurry, not rest, but simply move. She told me to ‘write like a motherfucker.’”
Read more of Elissa Bassist on “The Human Centipede: Or, How to Move to New York” here.
Photography Credit André Steiner Portrait à l’œil fermé 1930 Epreuve gélatino argentique.
Whoa. The MLA has officially devised a standard format to cite tweets in an academic paper. Sign of the times.
ebooks, Horse. (horse_ebooks). “Leg Butt” 18 Nov 2011, 12:38 PM. Tweet.