Writer as a Fast Food Worker

I got this link from Anne’s blog. It is a podcast of a radio show called Word by Word ?. The most recent one is an interview with T.C. Boyle. I’ve heard of Boyle but have not yet read any of his work. Still I was curious because I see his name around so much.

You can listen to the Podcast by dragging this URL: http://krcb.podgram.net/WordByWord.xml into the Subscribed to Podcast ? in the advanced tool menu of iTunes.

His voice surprised me. He sounds like a guy with a Ph. D. and in fact he does have a Ph. D., which also surprised me. What I liked most about the interview was what he said about writing being his job. He said he writes everyday. He enjoys writing, like its his job.

I’m back to doing my word yoga, 30 minutes a day. I took a week off, right around when I finished the first draft of my latest story A Murder Etude ?. I had gotten so into writing the story that when it was done ? I stopped writing. I forgot (just for a moment) about my discipline to write everyday. Now I’m back writing again.

Two days out of the week I work at a cafe. I take orders and call them back to the chefs. It gets pretty intense around lunch time with a line out the door. But I revel in the intensity, remembering orders for three different people, adding up the cost per order, and calling back what sides or kinds of cheese they want with their veggie burgers. I work hard and enjoy it.

That is the kind of energy I want to bring to my writing, everyday. I tell myself that if I can exhibit that much dedication and presence for an hourly wage plus tips, then I can certainly be dedicated and present for my writing.

A couple of weeks ago I went to see MIA in Denver. Her DJ was working it. Seeing him on stage was like watching a fry cook at McDonald’s during lunch rush. You ever watch those guys work? That is real work.

That’s how I’m writing.

A friend passed me the October Harper’s with the Ben Marcus’s article: Why experimental fiction threatens to destroy publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and life as we know it: A Correction.

Wow. Marcus really doesn’t like Franzen, not at all. Even though he says his third book The Corrections is a good read, I don’t see these guys playing a friendly game of racquetball (or even paintball) any time soon.

There were alot of authors mentioned in the article but the only one I was familiar with was James Joyce. I’m pretty sure they were referring to his novels. I’ve only read his short stories.

I do use the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test that Marcus refers to. This test is available in MS Word (it’s a special option under spell check). I have found that the lower the Flesh-Kincaid grade level the more powerful is my writing. My best writing is at a first or second grade level. But I don’t think it’s true for all writers. It’s just something I’ve noticed in my own writing.

So what does it all mean?

I dunno. I just work here.

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