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Sunday, September 30, 2012

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

I'm still on the road and by the time this post 'airs' I will probably be on a plane somewhere over the Pacific. It's been a whirlwind week- long visit to Denver and not quite enough time for my body clock to reset (though after a week lazing on the beach in Palm Cove I can hardly complain!). We clocked 31 hours traveling last Sunday coming over here and I sincerely hope it won't be that bad going back!

One thing traveling always highlights for me is there is no glamor in being a writer - or if there is it is fleeting indeed - and I chuckled over Mark Helprin's article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday entitled 'Skip the Paris Cafes, And Get a Good Pen.' It was a fun reminder that the key to writing a great novel is sitting down and doing it, not posing at a cafe as if you are some kind of latter day Ernest Hemingway. This got me thinking of some of the pretensions would be writers might indulge in - and here are just a few that I've noticed over the last few years.
  • T-shirts announcing to the world that you are a 'writer' (thereby begging completely strangers to indulge your ego and asking about your novel)
  • The 'faux-complaints' about one's agent, editor or book tour, announced in extra-loud tones in conference hallways or in disingenuous Facebook posts (e.g. I just got in at 3am after my first-class trip to see my UK publisher in London was delayed, ah, woe is me!)
  • And speaking of Facebook posts - you know the ones, the endless ones, that seem to spew forth relentlessly marketing someone's latest literary offering
  • Posers on planes who heave out their manuscript, look around as if searching for inspiration among the throngs of economy seated passengers, and then wait for the tidal wave of approval (while not actually doing any writing or editing on said manuscript!).
So what kind of literary posing have you witnessed? What makes you sometimes want to just say - skip the cafes and the moleskin notebooks and just write the damn novel!

And in spirit of this post, I shall now apologize for not being able to respond to comments as I shall be in mid-air (though in economy...probably the last row next to the loos...)


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