Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I drank beer called "Verboten" this weekend

First mistake.

Actually, I had a great fourth; I got to spend time with people I don't get to see nearly enough. But my first day back at work was frantic, and I'm brain-dead. So this post will be criminally short. Which may not be such a bad thing.

Anyhoo. I like Josh Ritter. If the name doesn't ring a bell, that's a shame. Josh Ritter is a singer-songwriter/folky kind of fellow who can really write the hell out of a song. Seriously. He makes songs that can be spare and arresting and/or catchy and joyous. All of them are beautiful and smart with a strong literary bent. I mention this not only because I think he's a musician worth checking out, but because he recently wrote a novel, Bright's Passage. I haven't read it yet (it's on the arm of the couch beside me, just waiting to be cracked open), but if his fiction is half as engaging as his lyrics, I'm in for an enjoyable read.

This weekend, I heard an interview with Ritter on NPR. The interviewer asked how he managed to write an entire novel in a few years while touring most of that time. And Ritter's response is really the impetus for this post. Ritter said that he had to make a conscious effort not to be precious about the writing process; to find and make use of any little bit of time.  This is good advice and something I'm going to try for myself.

I'll admit, I tend to be a bit precious about the whole writing thing myself. And, honestly, I don't necessarily thing that's such a bad thing. I think--especially for those of us who don't get to be full-time writers, for those of us who constantly get dragged away from "writing time" by other things, being a tiny little bit precious about it is okay. It's okay to ritualize the process a bit. To take a bit of pleasure in arranging the desk, finding the right notebook, the right pen (for those luddites among us who still write drafts long-hand. ahem) etc before sitting down to the task of writing. But on the other hand, life does get in the way sometimes and sometimes the only time you get is what you carve out in between meetings or appointments or general obligations. Sometimes, if you insist on waiting for the perfect time, the perfect conditions under which to write, you'll end up waiting too long.

Here's to very belated New Year's resolutions. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. I know of Josh Ritter; I've seen him in concert numerous times. Actually, I almost went to his book talk last week at the same B&N where we saw Hemon, but something came up. Let me know if the novel matches the caliber of his songwriting.