RARA-AVIS: Constantine/day jobs

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 28 Nov 2001

<<On the other hand, a writer who can afford to quit the dull day presumably has the time and funds to travel, explore and experience things that wouldn't be available to them otherwise.>>

MrT wrote:
>I just want to point out that days and jobs are not *intrinsically* dull:
>someone with a keen eye and a sharp ear can find >even office chitchat and
>backbiting interesting.
>In summary, I think he was referring to the virtues of contact with >all
>sorts of real people and situations, not to the virtues of day >jobs.

Not disagreeing with you, but it's not as if you don't interact with people when you're in school, either. I've met more fascinating people with diverse backgrounds in a university setting than sitting behind a desk at an office with the same 10 other people every day [though admittedly when I used to read inmate grievances for the department of corrections I definitely learned lots about "all different kinds of people"; I can't say I really miss it, though - you can only read 'I only tested positive for drugs because I was taking Motrin' and 'THE STAFF IS STEALING THE SUGAR THAT IS SUPPOSED TO GO IN THE STEWED TOMATOES AND I CAN PROVE IT!!!!' so many times]. For that matter, I've met as many interesting people in line at the DMV as in any of these settings. I guess my point is that as much experience is out there as you want to look for, and if you're not happy with the quality of grad-school fiction, I'd look elsewhere than the lack of real world experience [like the fact that if you have an MFA you can probably get published because you suck up to your prof and your prof knows somebody, but if you don't have these kinds of connections, you'll probably only get published if you're good].

Veering far OT here, I fear, so I'll say that I do tend to be impressed by writers who have been journalists [Connelly], technical writers [John Shannon and I believe Jan Burke was as well] and are able to incorporate some kind of knowledge about real life into their stories without writing a technical manual. I really think the old writing teacher's saw should be amended to [Learn something and then] write what you know; whereas some writers take it as permission to remain ignorant of anything beyond their own immediate sphere.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 28 Nov 2001 EST