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Rhetoretician -- Fiction etc.

Adoption or employment?

Adoption or employment?

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Limerick Leprauchans
If you want to acquire skill as a writer, but don't want to do it the old-fashioned way (hard work, practice, BIC method, etc.), it seems to me that there are two good options:

One.
Get Ursula LeGuin to adopt you. That's not as unrealistic as it seems; she's only a few years older than the woman who claims to be my mother. Could look into that one. I figure just breathing the same air as she does might have some beneficial effects.

Two.
Get Michael Chabon to hire you as his valet. Distinct possibilities there. I'm good at creative interpretations of simple instructions, reliable consistency and subtle repartee, and I'm a Yid, too. Think Jewish Jeeves. I'd shortly endear myself to Ayelet (Wesleyan '86) and the kids, and we'd be off. Then I could follow Michael around and listen to him think.

These are authors who can take the English language and turn it into their own personal toy. Here's first sentence of Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road, which I'm reading now:
For numberless years a myna had astounded travelers to the caravensary with its ability to spew indecencies in ten languages, and before the fight broke out everyone assumed the old blue-tongued devil on its perch by the fireplace was the one who maligned the giant African with such foulness and verve.
I read a sentence like that and my jaw just hangs open with envy. You know where you are, you have a sense of the place's history, you know what's about to happen and why (or you think so), you're quite possibly falling out of your chair with laughter already. And you desperately want to read the next sentence. It's also a beautiful "establishing shot" sort of sentence -- you can almost see the camera panning down from a wide angle of the entire room to the bird itself, over to the big man, back to the bird...

Wow. 
  • I agree -- I love both of those authors. I find LeGuin's ability to say so much with few words amazing. I found Chabon's ability to use the language in some rather "old fashioned" ways while telling a story that completely works for the modern (or postmodern) ear really wonderful.

    Personally I would add a #3 to your list. Listen to Neil Gaiman read his own work. Hearing him read makes me want to write beautiful words. But that would be my list -- which I should make on my own journal. (hee)

    All three of these authors have such command of the language -- it is inspiring and a bit intimidating!
  • I figure just breathing the same air as she does might have some beneficial effects.

    I remember first year physics at university we proved that it's almost certain that every breath you inhale includes at least one atom of oxygen exhaled by Albert Einstein / person-of-your-choice in their lifetime. Something like that.

    So maybe you should concentrate on your valet skills. :D
  • LOL....a Jewish Jeeves!

    Yep, I'd like to be adopted by Ursula LeGuin. Although they only thing I've read of hers were some short stories. The same thing with Michael Chabon. I loved this collection of short stories Werewolves in their Youth. (only thing I've read of his) I know he wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Somthing I'll try to get around to reading someday. I didn't get to the library today, so that someday has been postponed.
  • Hm, interesting ideas... Personally I'd think being adopted by you would serve me well. I'm in love with your writing skillz. But I guess I'll have to be happy with breathing in the same air you breathe here on LJ, and then I get to add a few other good writers to the "adopted parents" list...

    But I do agree, that *is* a great opening sentence. I just read an old mystery novel, and I noticed I had picked up quite a lot from the discussions going on in my little group of excellent writers. It was fun.
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