Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joe the Plumber: Not a Plumber, Not a Writer

From Sunday’s New York Times, Timothy Egan’s “Typing Without a Clue” defends real writers like us in the face of “writers” like Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin and their fat-cat book deals:

“Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush’s dog getting a book deal.

“Writing is hard, even for the best wordsmiths. Ernest Hemingway said the most frightening thing he ever encountered was ‘a blank sheet of paper.’ And Winston Churchill called the act of writing a book ‘a horrible, exhaustive struggle, like a long bout of painful illness.’

“If Joe really wants to write, he should keep his day job and spend his evenings reading Rick Reilly’s sports columns, Peggy Noonan’s speeches, or Jess Walter’s fiction. He should open Dostoevsky or Norman Maclean — for osmosis, if nothing else. He should study Frank McCourt on teaching or Annie Dillard on writing.

“The idea that someone who stumbled into a sound bite can be published, and charge $24.95 for said words, makes so many real writers think the world is unfair.”

Read the rest here.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.