Yep. There I am on page 127 of “Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.”
Smith Magazine got the idea, see, from Hemingway, that one can say quite a lot in six words, which of course, one can, whether one is famous or obscure. Most of us would be the latter.
“After Harvard, had baby with crackhead,” Robin Templeton’s six words that lead off the book … well, those are pretty lively, huh?
It took me a few years to get my answer to the question of what happened to my marriage down to … let’s see … ten words, which I’m not revealing here. That was a long time ago. I’m not going to try to knock it down to six. Unless someone wants to publish it.
My six words included “serendipity,” which is sort of cliché, or at least it’s a word I get tired of periodically. But I’m not going to give you the other five words here. Go read the book.
Or give me your own six-word memoir in a comment, and I’ll play catch-and-throw.
I haven’t written much about writing and I don’t think I will. Every once in a while, though, I get a glimmer of insight into how and why I do what I do.
I have a book to write, I am pretty sure of that right now. And so there is writing to do.
And there is research to do, a ton of research. There are places to go and … activities to observe.
There are also many conversations to have. Interviews are part of research, but I differentiate. Research prepares me to have good conversations.
But it occurs to me, in the end, that when I go to actually write my next book, I won’t be ready until …
until I can sort of remember the whole book, even though it hasn’t been written. It will get written when, in some way, I can remember the words to it and how they sound.
It’s a strange plan, but I think it works for me.
For those who want less esoteric advice, I recommend Stephen King’s “On Writing.” Even if you don’t like Stephen King’s bestsellers (I mostly don’t) and even if you think he’s a hack writer (he’s not) … if you care about writing, read his book about it. I think I need to read it again, in fact.
There’s been this pile next to the bedside table for more than a month now. It’s great to have new things to read.