A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about. Ask me anything you can't Google.
Posts tagged "paul auster"
Jul 29, 2013
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny by Papa
My wife got me this for father’s day. Here’s the story: in the summer of 1851, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife went on a trip with their daughters and left Hawthorne with their five-year-old son Julian for twenty days. Hawthorne recorded their adventures1 in his diary. I might skip the actual notebook entries and just read Paul Auster’s great intro, where he quotes the best bits of Hawthorne’s complaints about fatherhood:
The boy was a champion chatterbox, a pint-sized engine of logorrhea, and within hours of Sophia’s departure, Hawthorne was already complaining that “it is impossible to write, read, think, or even to sleep (in the daytime) so constant are his appeals to me in one way or another.” By the second evening, after remarking once again on the endless stream of babble that issued from Julian’s lips, Hawthorne put him to bed and added: “Nor need I hesitate to say that I was glad to get rid of him—it being my first relief from his society during the whole day. This may be too much of a good thing.”
This is by no means an essential read, but it’s pretty funny to read one of the gods of American literature complain about playing Mr. Mom—162 years ago…
Filed under: parenting, my reading year 2013
Feb 10, 2013
You find the book in the process of doing it. That’s the adventure of the job.
Jan 17, 2013
Each book is a new book. I’ve never written it before and I have to teach myself how to write it as I go along. The fact that I’ve written books in the past seems to play no part in it. I always feel like a beginner and I’m continually running into the same difficulties, the same blocks, the same despairs. You make so many mistakes as a writer, cross out so many bad sentences and ideas, discard so many worthless pages, that finally what you learn is how stupid you are. It’s a humbling occupation.
Nov 10, 2010
There was a Monty Python sketch that showed Thomas Hardy writing in front of a live audience, and when he’d finish a sentence, they’d all cheer. Then he’d cross out a sentence, and they’d all boo or sigh. That’s about as exciting a life as it is for a writer: You write sentences, and you cross out sentences.
Apr 05, 2010
Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within… By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks he was able to feel that he was nowhere.
Mar 05, 2010
I’ve always written by hand. Mostly with a fountain pen, but sometimes with a pencil—especially for corrections. If I could write directly on a typewriter or a computer, I would do it. But keyboards have always intimidated me. I’ve never been able to think clearly with my fingers in that position. A pen is a much more primitive instrument. You feel that the words are coming out of your body, and then you dig the words into the page. Writing has always had a tactile quality for me. It’s a physical experience.
Jan 28, 2008
[W]e have bodies. We get sick. We die. We love. We suffer. We grieve. We get angry. These are the constants of human life whether you live in ancient Rome or contemporary America.
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