I’ve probably already said this before somewhere but this is what I pretty much base all my writing on, so I’m going to say it again. It’s what Seymour Glass tells his brother Buddy in a letter somewhere in the middle of Seymour: An Introduction: “If only you’d remember before you ever sit down to write that you’ve been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart’s choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself.”
That’s it. Whenever I think about what to write I just think about what I like to read about (conjoined twins, time travel, American presidents, conversations with doctors, song lists, mimes, Regis Philbin, unusual weather, extraordinary human abilities, inventions, how cars work, The New Yorker, the unreliability of memory) and then I sit down and shamelessly write the thing myself. (I was going to link up to my previous posts about all these topics, but I didn’t want to turn this into some kind of horrible Happy Days episode where a chuckling Mrs. C. recounts all the highlights of the entire season.)
I return to these topics again and again because I cannot stop being fascinated by them and I cannot stop reading (or writing) about things that fascinate me. I have probably been writing like this all my life, but the one thing I have now is perspective. What I mean is, I am better able to draw conclusions, which would have seemed foolish at a young age. Now all I can see constantly and everywhere I look is how the past always kind of jams right up into the present, as though it’s been waiting patiently in line, but just, you know, for years.
And, if you don’t mind, I’m going to continue to write about these things, plus whatever else strikes me, right here. The thing is, I always think I’ve pretty much exhausted my supply of material and then I will, for example, see a man clad in a black kimono feeding squirrels on a bench in Washington Square Park, eventually becoming covered with pigeons, and I realize that there actually is a wealth of material out there. (I’ve been wanting to write about that guy forever, honestly, but I think there is no way to do him justice.) And then there is my unreliable memory, which I have grown to rely on with a wholly different kind of fascination.
Starting this blog was really an excellent decision. I still don’t know what I was waiting for.