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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Not lolling...

I'm not being a lagarag, to pilfer an old East Anglian word... Still working on a deadline, but I'll be back soon.

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Faulkner on writing, though the words apply to many other activities: "Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."

Gerard Terborch 
Dutch Baroque era painter, 1617-1681 
Woman Writing a Letter, 1655 


  1. I suppose one can't argue with Faulkner, he's the one with the Nobel prize. The problem is "write better" is so vague. It could refer to the work's underlying aims, the story itself, the story's impact, its originality, its clarity, the style in which it is written (especially true for Faulkner) and so on.

    My exhortation would be: "Prepare to take risks." which is probably the same as "Shoot higher" To which I would add "Don't disdain another pair of eyes." Writing is more often an act of co-operation (even when it is entirely subconscious) than most authors acknowledge.

    1. True enough that "better" is vague, though I expect that outdoing what you have done before is a pretty good challenge, no matter how you construe the task. That is, be bigger than you were before is a demand to grow in the vocation and in your spirit and mind...

      Go ahead and argue. The Nobel committee has sometimes failed to choose the great, and has sometimes chosen the not-great. Sometimes it has an axe to grind. Sometimes it has chosen wonderfully. It's a human institution, after all!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.