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Thread: Writing as a career

  1. #91
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Pike View Post
    Exterminate all rational thought

    hell yeah. And you're sitting on that cloud too, Captain. I haven't forgotten you and those gracious comments you left for my short story set in Vermont. My half-buddha bow to you.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  2. #92
    Registered User Etienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    Hey Etienne man, do you know that you are one of the maybe three guys on this whole site I'd actually go out to a pub with? To hell with that WWII line I gave you---I think you're a smart guy, and you know your philosophy too. You and me will sit on a cloud someday dropping water balloons on cows. What we've got to learn is our own minds, churning like a revolution inside nature.
    Sitting on a cloud? Balloons on cows? That's a nice program man, I'm in.
    Et l'unique cordeau des trompettes marines

    Apollinaire, Le chantre

  3. #93
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    I must say I like your ideas, Jon, but I already told you that. I like the freedom of them. I'm just not sure it is always possible and this is what is scary. I think you would need to talk to my parents as well because they always say that you have to accept any job, even the worst one, and that's life, and the workplace is a crappy place and you will spend all your life there and that's how it is and you have to stop dreaming and you cannot do what you like doing in life because life is unfair. Hugh?!

    I have always said that I would not end up doing a dull job, you see, I am a dreamer and I have no idea where my studies will lead me, but I am enjoying the day and all that counts is the fact that I love what I am doing right now, and this is what some people have trouble to understand.

    Anyway, i am far from being against you on that question, and I would give the same advice as you if someone asked me if he could write as a career. I guess I would tell the person to put their energy in fulfilling their dreams and not to care about the conventions of society. I have always thought this way but I am surrounded with persons who stopped dreaming. Everyday I am asked why the hell I am at university instead of having a job, and they say I am wasting my time. (now I know your opinion on universities but that's another debate ). Of course they also wonder why I don't have boyfriends or why I don't get drunk or why I don't want to have kids. I am the strange person in my family, you see. Well, perhaps, but I am just doing what pleases me, that's all. Now maybe I'll have a crappy job someday but at least I would have tried to enjoy myself.

    Oh, given that I am the little cloud in question, I am not sure I want to have all those guys sitting on me.

  4. #94
    Internal nebulae TheFifthElement's Avatar
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    See, but you're all missing the point, I have it here:

    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    to what extent Kafka may have been a victim of an autocratic family and had to play the role of dutiful son his whole life as a cog in a wheel of some insurance company nobody knows the name of today.
    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    to insurance company head (Wallace Stevens). Stevens used to write his poems on the train to work.
    you want to be a great writer? Get a job in insurance. Want to be an even greater writer, get the train to your job in insurance.
    Want to know what I think about books? Check out https://biisbooks.wordpress.com/

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweets America View Post
    I must say I like your ideas, Jon, but I already told you that. I like the freedom of them.
    blp told me he's on my side now, he likes some of the Beat poets too.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweets america
    I'm just not sure it is always possible and this is what is scary. I think you would need to talk to my parents as well because they always say that you have to accept any job, even the worst one, and that's life, and the workplace is a crappy place and you will spend all your life there and that's how it is and you have to stop dreaming and you cannot do what you like doing in life because life is unfair. Hugh?!
    It's very possible, actually. It just requires a change in perspective in terms of what we're not willing to settle for. Corporations need cronies, hacks, yes-men and -women who employ corporate speak and dress. And don't forget hierarchy models and the rules of manipulating people. Business school classrooms packed for courses like Business Ethics. Just put another dime in your jukebox of commercialism and FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) ohhh, ahhh..


    Quote Originally Posted by sweets america
    I would tell the person to put their energy in fulfilling their dreams and not to care about the conventions of society.
    Yeah, you can dream, just don't tell people you refuse to work in corporate or public schools, unless you're hiding behind a computer screen.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweets america
    I have always thought this way but I am surrounded with persons who stopped dreaming. Everyday I am asked why the hell I am at university instead of having a job, and they say I am wasting my time.
    Well, of course they would, that's because they start from the premise that they're normal and you're not. I used to tell everybody the truth---
    I went to college because I didn't want to be trapped in some cubicle. Meanwhile, I was figuring things out.

    Enrolling in college is a wonderful form of nondestructive escapism.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 03-09-2008 at 10:55 PM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  6. #96
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    First, there is a mystery here. I could have sworn that blp had replied to this yerterday and now his post has disappeared.

    Well, Jon, seems like you are winning people on your side. Let's say I am half on your side because you know how I refuse to choose sides.
    But yes I admire the freedom of what you said. This is rare to see people who have not given up.

    It's very possible, actually. It just requires a change in perspective in terms of what we're not willing to settle for. Corporations need cronies, hacks, yes-men and -women who employ corporate speak and dress. And don't forget hierarchy models and the rules of manipulating people. Business school classrooms packed for courses like Business Ethics. Just put another dime in your jukebox of commercialism and FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) ohhh, ahhh..
    I always said I would not do this kind of work. I think that what I really dislike is the mentality of the workplaces, I have really seen that when I had summer-jobs. As I told Shalot on her blog, once I was doing my job and when i had finished, the woman there told me:
    'Oh, you made an error at the very beginning but I didn't tell you (little laugh) and now the whole thing must be done again'. Ok. At the same time, this woman was doing everything to make her co-workers believe she was crazy because she wanted to take a sick-leave.
    I've also seen in my internship how the workers can be all against one person and that's scary, and how the bosses sometimes love making people cry. Jesus. Oh, and my mother's boss had learnt those rules to manipulate people.

    Yeah, you can dream, just don't tell people you refuse to work in corporate or public schools, unless you're hiding behind a computer screen.
    I'm afraid that's too late, I am always telling that. I am scared that sometimes people say they will work here or there for some time and in the end they find themselves at 50 and they're still at the same place that they hate. I am scared that sometimes they just don't have the choice.
    The other day I met a guy who works for a company I would like to work in next summer to get money for the States. Well this guy was talking gossip about people and I found it so stupid I told him that was kind of stupid to talk this way because he didn't know other people's lives at all. I hope this guy has nothing to do with the ones who select people for summer jobs.

    Well, of course they would, that's because they start from the premise that they're normal and you're not. I used to tell everybody the truth---
    I went to college because I didn't want to be trapped in some cubicle. Meanwhile, I was figuring things out.

    Enrolling in college is a wonderful form of nondestructive escapism.
    Yes you're right, they think they're normal and I'm not. I am used to it in my family even if i love them very much. I think we're just different, that does not mean that one of us is better than the other.

    Ahah, nondestructive escapism, nice.
    Last edited by Sweets America; 03-10-2008 at 03:42 AM.

  7. #97
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt
    Well, of course they would, that's because they start from the premise that they're normal and you're not.
    Civilisation and its discontents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweets America
    I always said I would not do this kind of work. I think that what I really dislike is the mentality of the workplaces, I have really seen that when I had summer-jobs. As I told Shalot on her blog, once I was doing my job and when i had finished, the woman there told me:
    'Oh, you made an error at the very beginning but I didn't tell you (little laugh) and now the whole thing must be done again'. Ok. At the same time, this woman was doing everything to make her co-workers believe she was crazy because she wanted to take a sick-leave.
    I've also seen in my internship how the workers can be all against one person and that's scary, and how the bosses sometimes love making people cry. Jesus. Oh, and my mother's boss had learnt those rules to manipulate people.
    Like I said, it's like Shakespeare. Or Pinter.

    Yes, my post has disappeared. It's strange.

    Quote Originally Posted by SleepyWitch View Post
    what to write about?????
    it seems like everything that can be done has been done (nope, I'm not talking about the death of the novel etc, or am I?)... or at least all the things that you can write about from the relative safety of your desk have been written about (and the ones where you need to travel to Afghanistan and have a grandfather from Karachi or some place are out of the question for me, for lack of funds and a grandfather who fits the description).
    anyway, we've got a postmodern novel with 3 endings (The French Lieutenant's Woman), we've got a novel from the perspective of a hermaphrodite written by someone who is (presumably) not a hermaphrodite himself (Middlesex), as well as one from the perspective of an autistic child by someone who's not an autistic child himself,either (The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime)...
    so it looks like after all imaginable subjects (love, coming of age, adultery, war, campus life, the conscience of middle aged academics', sci-fi, and whatnot) were exploited, writers turned to exploring new voices.. is there a novel written from the perspective of an alien which is not written by an actual alien? I'm sure there must be

    sorry... I've totally lost the thread now...
    anyway, on the whole, I think it's a good idea to find a 9-5 job first and get some experience and you can still become a writer when you're 40. that way you've got more time to meet interesting ppl and experience interesting situations that you can write about. unless one is a genius with a very lively imagination, it's probably a good idea not to spend too much time lazing around or on one's own, because what should one write about if one doesn't know anybody and spends all day at home???
    Hi, Sleepy, I skated over this without reading most of it before, so caught up was I in the no-holds-barred literary death match.

    In my view, the answer to your conundrum is DeKooning's formulation: 'Content is small.' Wary as I am of sentences that begin, We live in an age... in this instance, I'm confident in sticking my neck out: We live in an age, after conceptual art, during advertising, when ideas are thought to be all. Got a new book? What's the elevator pitch. Sell it to me in 20 words or, ideally, less. Um, well, it's about these three brothers see, and, no, only, there might be four because the dad might have impregnated a mentally handicapped woman on a drunken bet, but anyway, one of them is trying to become a priest and...Next! OK, OK, there's this one where this young guy wants to be a soldier and he is one for a while, but then he ends up back in Italy and has some problems with his family and, I must admit, the story doesn't really have much shape, but it's really good, he ends up a priest giving these really moving sermons all because he can't have the woman he loves and...Next!

    Ideas are not all. They're wee little things that are desperately easy to screw up because, depending on whether you believe Mies van der Rohe or not, God or the devil are in the details. I learned this the mildly hard way by reviewing theatre (unpaid, for local papers) after I left college. The editor would phone up and say, 'It's about a lesbian incest bondage murder at an arms fair, so, you know, probably quite interesting.' And it would turn out to be some ludicrously am dram rubbish full of terrible dialogue. The absolute best things I saw had, as relational artist Phillip Parreno might put it, 'no ideas': The Woods by David Mamet - a couple arguing at a cabin in the woods; something by Stig Laarsen I can't remember the name of - just a bunch of people having dinner, acting loopy; another thing I can't remember the name of by Mike Leigh - a young girl getting drunk in her bedsit with a couple and a single guy.

    A tutor I had at art school used to say that if he asked all of us to draw a black square, we'd all do a different drawing. Execution is the thing. Even in advertising, where ideas are thought to be king, a lot of the best work is down to good execution, whether in the writing or the direction. Conceptual art comes closest to being a pure art of ideas and, not surprisingly, a lot of its strategies now feel used up.

    Subject matter doesn't run out until problems stop. A bit of double-edged reassurance there.

  8. #98
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    Yes, I think that's accurate, what you said, blp: I agree on the fact that an idea itself is not all because two persons can do very different things with it and it's easy to do something horrible with a good idea.
    But, well, I still think that ideas are important too, but it depends because sometimes something which starts with a banal idea can turn better than something which seems more original at first sight. I don't know. But I think it's all in the writer.

    Oh, to answer Sleepy's previous question: I think it took me something like 3 years to write the 17 notebooks. They were not all of the same size. Now I would really like to burn them all because they really belong to a past which pisses me off, but something in me reisists and doesn't want to do that. So I just let them rot somewhere.

  9. #99
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    I'd say, don't burn them. I threw my teenage diary into the Thammes in embarrassment once. Now there's a night in NY and London called Cringe where people read their teenage diaries aloud and it's hilarious.

    Ideas can mean a lot of things. All I'm really arguing against is the too neat, over-arching concept.

  10. #100
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    If I burnt them it would be more out of anger than embarrassment, because they represent a bad part of my life and are associated to a person that I loathe today. I finally got rid of the person, but the notebooks are still there. They keep memories that my mind has forgotten. It is strange how my mind works. The past is the past, and I tend to forget it all. For instance I have practically no memory of my childhood and I know I lived in a certain house when I was around 12 but I have not one damn memory of it, not even my bedroom of the time. I tend to forget everything that's unpleasant and concentrate on the future I guess.

    I cannot imagine reading my diaries out loud. Now that's funny because in a way that's what I do in my blog but I guess the notebooks really belong to a different category.

    Sorry for the digression. Back to the subject?

  11. #101
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweets America View Post
    I tend to forget everything that's unpleasant and concentrate on the future I guess.
    Crikey, Sweets. This is known by psychology types as repression, I believe.

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    Crikey, Sweets. This is known by psychology types as repression, I believe.
    Yes, it is the concept of resistance or denial. I know, I've studied psychology for 4 damn years during those years when I was not free to be myself. I have real trouble with psychology, they are always thinking that they have the answers for everything, and once again, when I studied that, I realized how horrible it felt to enclose myself in their theories.
    I saw 2 psychologists who really did not help me at all. I had seen one in my childhood who had said there was nothing wrong with me instead of doing her job at the time. I was so glad to see her again years after to tell her how wrong she had been. Psychologists can really go to hell for me, I'm done with them.

    Oh, what does crikey mean?

  13. #103
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    It's sort of just an exclamation, but, like a lot of English exclamations, derives from religious profanities that were once considered beyond the pale. In other words, in this instance, 'Christ!'

    Others include 'Blimey' which comes from 'Gor blimey' which comes from 'God blind me.' and 'Struth!' which comes from 'God's truth!'

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    It's sort of just an exclamation, but, like a lot of English exclamations, derives from religious profanities that were once considered beyond the pale. In other words, in this instance, 'Christ!'

    Others include 'Blimey' which comes from 'Gor blimey' which comes from 'God blind me.' and 'Struth!' which comes from 'God's truth!'
    Ah thanks, that's cool. I didn't know 'beyond the pale' either.

  15. #105
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
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    So I have to say that I'm still interested in this thread and all, but I'm thoroughly disappointed with the fact that blp won the steel cage match. I'll have to live with it...it's okay, I can deal. The fact is, blp, Sylvia Plath is all mine and you can't have her...You can have Edith Wharton, or Virginia Woolf!

    For those of you unaware, blp and I have been duking it out lately for Sylvia Plath's heart.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 03-10-2008 at 03:41 PM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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