I've had a lovely couple of weeks off, mooching and walking and eating and sleeping and, of course, reading. I sat and read Stephen King's On Writing in a whole day, which was bliss. Another of the books I've seen off was lent to me by one of my yoga students. We have parents of a certain age and were musing about life, the universe and everything - and death. The book is Staring at the sun: overcoming the dread of death by Irvin D Yalom. No, don't click away! It's one of the most optimistic books I've read for ages. So anyway, in amongst the philosophising and coping strategies, there were a couple of snippets that I thought might be of interest to my writing friends:
'Montaigne suggested that a writing
studio have a good view of a cemetery in order to sharpen one’s thinking.' I once had some crystal therapy (don't judge me) in a room that overlooked a churchyard. The lady giving the treatment loved the view. Make of that what you will.
‘Indeed, the desire to be
of value to others is largely what keeps me pecking away at my keyboard long
past the standard time for retirement.’ Pecking away: isn't that a lovely image?
‘The act of writing itself
feels like a renewal. I love the act of creation from the first glimmering of
an idea to the final manuscript. I find the sheer mechanics to be a source of
pleasure. I love the carpentry of the writing process: finding the perfect
word, sanding and burnishing rough sentences, tinkering with the tick-tocks of
phrase and sentence cadence.’ Stephen King says something similar. Again, a lovely image, don't you think?
The other thing that struck me as an editor is that Yalom twice refers to the subtitle of his book as 'overcoming the terror of death', a word he deliberately chose in favour of anxiety. I wonder if his publisher changed it to dread without asking him.