Thursday, December 3, 2009

How do you think he does it?

I don't know. What makes him so good?

These days I'm listening to Michael Chabon read his "Summerland" (book on CD). It is very, very good. A few months ago I read "Gentlemen of the Road," by the same author but very different in style and tone. And also very, very good.

So my question to myself is: Self, although you are certainly dashing and freakishly cool, this appears to be quite the mystery. How is Michael Chabon so good?

Is it innate talent? Practice? A clean workspace? Maybe he does Internet searches more than me. Or less. Or exclusively. Or never.

Maybe I need a plant in my writing room. Maybe I should vacuum it. Maybe I should put more clothes on the floor. Or put away the half-empty epoxy containers.

Or maybe -- just maybe -- none of these mean a damn if you don't just sit down. And get to work.

Perseverance, I believe, is a spark of heat on a cold day. A cold winter. Nothing matters if you do not carry on.

Yes, I will read more, and not just as someone in the audience but as a technician: how does he do that? Why does she make this choice instead of that one? Why so many verbs? Why this pace and not faster? Or slower?

In the meantime: back to work! Still on the query. But I'm close: it is sneaking around my peripheral vision, flicking my ear and melting into shadows when I turn. But I know where to find it: in the corner. And I step toward it.

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