The writing mystique

21Sep09

Esteban and I watched Wonder Boys over the weekend. It’s a great film—it’s deftly scripted, with lots of dark humor and quirky twists.

But I couldn’t get past its weird romanticized notion of writers’ lives.

The gifted young novelist was a pathological liar. The professor was a pothead with a thing for his boss’ wife. The editor was a debauched drunkard. And they were all struggling to find inspiration.

I was left wondering whether I’m doing it wrong.

Not once has my life been consumed by a rambling manuscript, nor have I ever felt truly “blocked.” Sometimes inspiration strikes, and—as Jack London said—sometimes you have to go after it with a club. But that’s just part of the job.

I suppose they make films about brilliant, deranged writers because that’s what sells. (No one would go to a movie about an insurance writer who snacks on scones.)

But still, I wonder: Would a more interesting life make for more interesting writing?



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