Sunday, February 14, 2010

Even My Dog Wishes I'd Cool It

El Pooch looks at me quizzically. Not because he suspects I have stash of dog biscuits, but because I have that crazed glint in my eye.

The gleam of a new idea. Accompanied by the maniacal energy that fuels such delusions, that we writers have all the time in the world to chase every single beam of light. I can't even surmount the laundry downstairs, much less contemplate the heavy research an "epic" would require.

Oh, and don't get me started on the term "epic." Smacks of pretense, of pinkies and noses in the air, moldy books on the shelves, pipe smoke in the air. "Smedley, ole chap, how is your epic coming along?"

Meanwhile, Smedley is nearly comatose, twitching on a settee, having overdosed on ideas but produced no real work.

Or let me put it another way.

Tolstoy would roll his eyes. "You, O'Donovan? An 'epic?'"

I've yet to read "Angela's Ashes," which I know is autobiographical and approaches 'epic.' Author Frank McCourt had the idea of the book in his mind for many years and struggled with the narrative. Until one day, when he decided to write it through the eyes of a child, no sentiment, unvarnished. He was in his mid-60's when his masterwork won the Pulitzer, and before he died last year, was able to write three or so more books.

I wonder how many ideas he had.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cheryl, You capture the life of a writer perfectly. It's hard to finish writing a chapter when you have to get up after every sentence to deal with the laundry. But the end is in sight, and your sense of humor will carry you through.