Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shalom Auslander on Courage

Another good distraction from writing is reading about writing, and one thing nobody seems to discuss much is courage. Tone, character, structure, voice. But not courage. Maybe that’s why I also don’t read many books that seem all that courageous; on the contrary, most new books I read seem pandering, desperate for respect and admiration, but nothing that seems like a risk, nothing that seems like the author just went out there and said, “Fuck it, this is what I feel. Be it sick, be it wrong, be it contrary to everything I ever wrote before.” Maybe I’m reading the wrong books. Maybe we talk about plot and character because we can’t talk about courage, because there’s nothing we can do about it, because no amount of pages or instruction is going to help you when you sit down at the computer with all your pride and dreams and insecurities and fears, with all the faces of all the people you’ve ever met staring over your shoulder and waiting to see what you do. Because no book or article is going to get you to crawl out from under that bed, thin skin and all, and walk with your head up through this horrible shithole of a world.

The whole thing is here.