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Old 11-17-2012, 05:18 AM   #1
MartinC
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Quit while you're ahead...

Advice from Philip Roth to a young writer who has just had his first book published:

Quote:
“Yeah, this is great. But I would quit while you’re ahead. Really, it’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it’s not any good. I would say just stop now. You don’t want to do this to yourself. That’s my advice to you.”
http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2...e-life-advice/
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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But if you have to write.....

same is true with visual arts, songwriting, ....

Wonderful Link/article! Thank you!
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:23 AM   #3
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Bah. Never quit, never surrender! That's my advice!
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinC View Post
Advice from Philip Roth to a young writer who has just had his first book published:



http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2...e-life-advice/
I would just pass that off as a "sardonic quip" and nothing more.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:29 AM   #5
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If every writer who had ever tried to write were to follow that advice we'd have very little to read. Besides if it were easy to do then everyone would be doing it. And there is a feeling you get when you see something that you have written in print that you can't quite describe to someone who hasn't done so I think.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:02 AM   #6
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He speaks as if it was a choice.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinC View Post
Advice from Philip Roth to a young writer who has just had his first book published:
Sounds like the advice a schoolyard bully gives a child who made the Honor Roll one too many times.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:01 PM   #8
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Every job/calling/whatever sucks. Even the ones you can't resist. However much fun/joy/fulfillment there is, there's also work in the mix. I think if you do anything long enough, you forget how everything else sucks just as much (and in some cases, more).

On a less cynical note, he may just have been trying to jar the guy into thinking things through. He's probably seen a lot of regret. Quickly scanning the link, looks like after the stardust cleared the new author did just that. Thinking about things can be helpful even if the thinking doesn't change your mind.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:50 PM   #9
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A very good point David. Roth talks about throwing so much of what you write away, as if that doesn't happen in other jobs. What about all the software written for old and out-of-date operating systems? Who wants them now? At least books have a chance (if only a slim one) at a longer life.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
Sounds like the advice a schoolyard bully gives a child who made the Honor Roll one too many times.
I sense frothing and roiling beneath that gentle exterior.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I sense frothing and roiling beneath that gentle exterior.
Who, mine or his?
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
A very good point David. Roth talks about throwing so much of what you write away, as if that doesn't happen in other jobs. What about all the software written for old and out-of-date operating systems? Who wants them now? At least books have a chance (if only a slim one) at a longer life.
Not Technology books.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Marseilles View Post
Every job/calling/whatever sucks. Even the ones you can't resist. However much fun/joy/fulfillment there is, there's also work in the mix. I think if you do anything long enough, you forget how everything else sucks just as much (and in some cases, more).

On a less cynical note, he may just have been trying to jar the guy into thinking things through. He's probably seen a lot of regret. Quickly scanning the link, looks like after the stardust cleared the new author did just that. Thinking about things can be helpful even if the thinking doesn't change your mind.
That's what I meant by
Quote:
if it were easy to do then everyone would be doing it.
There is no such thing as a job that is without some struggle. Even the people who manage CGI effects for the movies have their struggles I imagine.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
Not Technology books.
Don't you keep all your DOS Assembler Programming manuals, and Windows NT 4.0 Resource Kit manuals so you can sit down in front of a cosy fire for a fun night reading?

I think it was the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit that made me saddest. Besides being a collection almost too heavy to pick up, when they eventually went for recycling I felt like Bart Simpson returning his schools books: "see, some in still in their original wrapper".
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
Don't you keep all your DOS Assembler Programming manuals, and Windows NT 4.0 Resource Kit manuals so you can sit down in front of a cosy fire for a fun night reading?

I think it was the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit that made me saddest. Besides being a collection almost too heavy to pick up, when they eventually went for recycling I felt like Bart Simpson returning his schools books: "see, some in still in their original wrapper".



Interestingly I do have an original release of "MS-Dos 3.2" that includes two 5.25 inch floppy disks.

I just wish I'd kept the original 1.0 release.
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