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Old 06-20-2012, 06:18 PM   #1
kennyc
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Damn Cormac McCarthy makes me mad

He's a f**king genius! It makes me want to just give up trying to write and I am generally the last person to say/feel that.

I just read chapter one of Blood Meridian as I was walking at lunchtime and just like every time I pick up something of his I am just totally blown away.

How the hell does he do this. I'm amazed, astounded, enthralled and so so jealous. He certainly deserved the MacArthur award.

His wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormac_McCarthy

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Old 06-20-2012, 08:04 PM   #2
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He is definitely a genius. I love his books. He came to my town last year and shopped at my favorite used bookstore. He bought 5 boxes of books from them. The owners saved the credit card slip that he signed. They didn't know that it was him till they ran the card.

The next day he came back when I was there on my lunch break. He was exactly how I pictured him. Handsome, dignified, great tweed jacket and a perfect gentleman.
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:23 PM   #3
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excellent!
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
He's a f**king genius! It makes me want to just give up trying to write and I am generally the last person to say/feel that.

I just read chapter one of Blood Meridian as I was walking at lunchtime and just like every time I pick up something of his I am just totally blown away.

How the hell does he do this. I'm amazed, astounded, enthralled and so so jealous. He certainly deserved the MacArthur award.

His wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormac_McCarthy
Wouldn't it be more productive to use those feelings as a means to aspire to become a better writer? Just a thought.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:35 PM   #5
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Wouldn't it be more productive to use those feelings as a means to aspire to become a better writer? Just a thought.
That's my usual response to others whom I've heard say this in the writing and art worlds. I've read just about all the known writers out there and have never been anything but inspired, but for me there is just some about the sheer poetry/beauty/prose he weaves that just leaves me shaking my head wishing I could even come close. Maybe someday I will.

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Old 06-21-2012, 12:15 AM   #6
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He's a f**king genius! It makes me want to just give up trying to write and I am generally the last person to say/feel that.
There are so many writers that I consider superior and awe-inspiring (Shakespeare, Swift, Joyce, Borges, Kafka, Melville, Proust, Tolstoy, Faulkner, Hemingway, Becket, Pinter, Garcia Marquez, Fitzgerald, Garcia Lorca, I can go on) and I feel a strange sense of relief and pleasure knowing that know matter how good I can get as a writer I will never come within a shadow of their beautiful work.

There is something reassuring in that for me, knowing that Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel exists, that the pyramids at Giza exist, that Guernica exists, knowing that a human being was able to write Hamlet and King Lear or had the guts to write Ulysses or the audacity to write The Trial and then ask that it be burned.

Knowing that there are great works of art out there allows me to experiment and try new things with my own work, to both free myself as a writer and yet gives me the courage to allow myself to fail, all the time knowing that there is something better and far beyond my reach which, perversely, also gives me hope for a kind of perfection that I know exists in the world.

I'm not a man of faith myself, but I imagine that those who do believe in God, are able to do so in part because it's almost a relief to know that there is something bigger and better than themselves, and that no matter how great they get, they are humbled by their deity and can find satisfaction and happiness with their lot in life rather than worry about the overwhelming possibilities that fate may allow for them.

I think as a writer a little humility is good for the soul. But it's good to have something to shoot for in terms of what you think of as perfection. If the stars were never so distant and so bright, we would never have built space ships to get closer to them.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:19 AM   #7
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Sounds like you're a bit of a philosopher aecardenas. I can't say you are wrong about that either. We all need things to strive towards. I don't think religion is just about humility though. It goes far deeper than that. I won't expound on my thoughts about that here though as it's not the right forum. lol.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:43 AM   #8
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I do not think I have read his books, but someone else being better then me at something could not stop me from doing what I enjoy. I write because I love to tell stories. Some people like reading my stories (as determined by sales) but even if they did not, that would not change my love of telling the story. Many tell stories better then I do, but again that does not change my love for telling a story.

Besides, I bet if I looked that author up I would find some ppl that hate his work. Good, better, best in this world is all in the eyes of the reader. Some of your fans may even think you are better then him. Let him inspire you.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:46 AM   #9
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Many, hate "The Road" and I'm sure many don't like his style or the fact that he doesn't use quotation marks, but damn can he write!
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:48 AM   #10
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Many, hate "The Road" and I'm sure many don't like his style or the fact that he doesn't use quotation marks, but damn can he write!
See you already know one thing to improve on his work, use "'s
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:55 AM   #11
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:27 AM   #12
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You should never get down about how good someone else is. It's not like you're going head to head with them. And besides, there will be people that hate the "great" writers and yet love you.

I don't see the big, famous names as transcendent. Especially not after I read Tolstoy's critique of Shakespear's "King Lear". Really rips him a new one. You can find that critique for free on Amazon, by the way.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:46 AM   #13
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I love that people are better than me at things. There's a strange sense of comfort knowing you are not all powerful, all knowing, all seeing. Imagine the pressure of being the absolute best at something. I'm happy to be humble thanks.

I haven't read Cormac McCarthy (although I'm sure I will one day). For me there is any number of writers with an exquisite turn of phrase that remind me that I am where I am and they are where they are.

I don't know if you've ever read Elizabeth Hand, Attanasio or Peter Straub, but all three of them remind me how good a writer can be. However, recently I've discovered some indies that have really impressed me with their writing - John A A Logan is an indie writer than springs to mind.

Anyway this is about McCarthy and one day I'll read him and know exactly what you're talking about.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:50 AM   #14
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I guess I should have know better than to state the OP the way I did. Please be clear that this is partially tongue-in-cheek and primarily because I've heard so many fledgling writers say this. McCarthy is the only writer that I've even felt an inkling of this kind of response to in my 60 years on the planet. Just to be clear, I would never stop writing because of another writer, each one is different, but every time I read McCarthy I am just totally gobsmacked! That's really all I'm trying to say and I don't get the "total gobsmacked" feeling from any other writer.

P.S. I'm with Tolstoy on Shakespeare.
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