Monday, June 12, 2006

Inducing the Artistic Coma

More quotes from Becoming a Writer on how to induce the artistic coma:

"One very well-known writer of my acquaintance sits for two hours a day on a park bench. He says that for years he used to lie on the grass of his back garden and stare at the sky, but some member of the family, seeing him so conveniently alone and aimless, always seized on the occasion to come out and sit beside him for a nice talk. Sooner or later he himself would begin to talk about the work he had in mind and then the desire to write it would abate. Now, with a purposeful air and in mysterious silence, he disappears daily, and can be found every afternoon (but fortunately seldom is) with his hands in his pockets staring at the pigeons in the park.

"Another writer, almost tone-deaf, says that she can finish any story she starts if she can find a hall where a long symphony is being played. The lights, the music, her immobility, bring on a sort of artistic coma, and she emerges in a sleepwalking state which lasts till she reaches the typewriter.

"A woman confessed that whenever she came to a difficult spot in a novel she was writing, she got up and played endless games of solitaire. Another woman novelist found...that she spun stories as fast as she knitted and turned herslf into a Penelope of the knitting needle, raveling a square of scarlet wool and starting on it again whenever she had a story "simmering." Fishing served a writer of detective stories, and another admits that he whittles aimlessly for hours. Still another said that she embroidered initials on everythhing she could lay her hands on... "


Photo illustration by LunaSol