In the four-plus years I’ve known Susan J Tweit, I’ve coveted her writing space. With its views, its layout, its two shelves of books, its being set aside solely for her writing, I feel I could produce incredible writings. (Much moreso than at the desk I currently have crammed against my apartment’s living room wall.) Likewise, many of the local artists have long longed for her husband’s large and thoroughly-stocked studio, where he turned boulders into sculpture.
I’ve just finished reviewing David E Hilton’s recently published first novel, Kings of Colorado, for, Colorado Central. I was struck by Hilton’s seemingly innocuous placement of details, early on, which develop into resonant symbols or are the beginnings of the filo layers of the story.
“Writers write,” goes the aphorism; and Ron Carlson says, “The writer is the one who stays in the chair.” Andre Dubus III wrote, The House of Sand and Fog, “in the front seat of my car.” Hilton wrote his novel, “mostly in his apartment’s stairwell just after the birth of his first son.”
That such haunting works have been crafted under such conditions should be a strong lesson for all of us—artists, especially; writers even moreso. What matters isn’t so much the place outside us where we do our work, as is the place we are inside ourself.
Back in college, my advanced comp professor would listen only so long to our whinings and questions about an assignment until she’d bark, “Shuddup and write.”
Ah, but excuses come simply and readily, don’t they? And there are rational reasons we don’t give our craft the time and attention it deserves. But, according to Dr Gregory House, played by Hugh Laurie, “Excuses are the lies we tell others; rationalizations are the lies we tell ourself.”
So where else does that leave us, but fully responsible for, accountable to, our craft? Me? I’m hearing again and again, Dr Cockelreas’, Shuddup and write.