Tuesday, May 10, 2005

And I thought I was losing it

From what I've gathered since joining the fiction-writing community 4-1/2 years ago, most writers are at least half a bubble off plumb, and all question their sanity from time to time. And by "from time to time", of course I mean daily.

At least I do. So it's always a relief when I hear about writers who are really crazy. Bless their hearts, they make me look normal.

I'm feeling downright ordinary today, thanks to an eye-roller I just read on the op-ed page of The New York Times. If you want to click through, you'll have to register, but I've said before that the Times is one of the online papers you should sign up for, because you don't want to miss gems like this one, which was titled, "Writing Inside the Box":

Over at the Flux Factory, an artists' collective in Long Island City, three fiction writers have agreed to isolate themselves in small writing cells for a project called "Novel: A Living Installation." Each has promised to finish a novel by June 4. That is 25 days away. Odds are that these will either be teeny-tiny novels or very bad ones.

No, I'm guessing they'll be teeny-tiny and bad.

But one has to hope that in a week or two, these writers will burst from their cubicles, repudiate their deadlines and return to the world in which literature is really made.

Yes. One devoutly hopes that. Because even for a trio of writers, that's pretty weird stuff.

This story was just too deliciously awful to let go, so after reading the Times article twice I cruised over to the Flux Factory's website to learn more. There's a schedule of viewing hours for gawkers who long to watch a real, live author sweat out a deadline, and I found lots of information about the project, including--

Uh oh.

According to the author bios on the site, one of the nut-case authors is a woman. And as anyone who has been reading this blog and paying attention has learned, women aren't capable of Serious Writing. So while the two men might very well bang out short and bad but still artistic novels, the author who does not possess a Y chromosome is bound to screw up the entire project.

You just watch; she'll probably write something about feeding cats. And then Otto Penzler will nod sagely and say, "I told you so."


Anonymous said...

I remember when I was in my late teens and early twenties--way back when--when my favorite writer at the time used to do that sort of "performance" write-in at bookstores and conferences. Just sit there and write a perfectly sound and good short story while being watched. Or have callers give him a title or specific words that needed to be in the story, and in short order, he'd crank out a respectably skilled and interesting tale. As he put it often, "Writers write", and it doesn't matter where or under what circumstances. You can write.

So, I think I'll root for the crazy novelists-performance-artists. :D

Brenda Coulter said...

I'm not surprised. You could probably write that way, Mir. But I nearly went crazy last night when a moth found its way into my office. It kept trying to read over my shoulder. I hate that.

Anonymous said...

No, sadly, not I. I'm a plodder, easily distracted, agonized writer who's never happy with the product. I wish I was so in the flow that I could write in bookstore windows and in the middle of loud conferences and on radio shows and on sidewalks and in art galleries while being gawked at. I think that must be a real cool ability. Superwriter!

Mir<--alias The Introverted Slug