Wednesday, October 04, 2006
True Stories and Sweat
From Edgar Pangborn's Davy:
We all lie about ourselves, trying to diddle the world with an image that's had all the warts rubbed off. But wouldn't it be the cruddy trick to begin a true-tale and back off into white-wash lying at the first tough spot? By writing at all I've made the warts your business--of course, it's not quite fair , since I'll never know much about you or your Aunt Cassandra and her yellow tomcat with the bent ear.
So, I'm not the first to stare at a half-done story, searching the memories, trying to get an elusive feeling to stay put long enough to catch some of it in words, trying to figure out how much farther to go, wondering if it's time to scrap the whole thing or go ahead and unload the rest of it. Other writers have sat there in the dark, looking for courage or a simulacrum to get them past something they'd rather not remember but which, if left out, guts the whole story. I've read too damned many stories like that and I'm not about to inflict more of them on you. Either write it all or don't write. To do otherwise is to convert Beethoven's ninth symphony into an MP3 file and still think it's music. The notes are there but the heart has been cut out.