January 5, 2010

What would John Steinbeck do?

John Steinbeck is one of America’s most well known authors – he wrote books that were required reading in most schools and he won a Nobel Prize for Literature (this was back when they weren’t just giving those things away like candy). I was amazed to find out that Johnny struggled with his writing and questioned himself often. In fact, he wrote a book of letters about how much he didn’t want to write the book he was working on, and he believed it to be crap. Oh, the book? East of Eden. So not only did he write an incredible novel, but he also profited from his journal of procrastination. Super genius.

If Steinbeck could get away with finding distractions and still be successful, I thought taking time away from my novel would be okay… I wrote a blog and read it to Peter, and he says, “that sounds like you”. Clueless, I ask, “what the hell is that supposed to mean?” He says something about how my writing is always centered on me. Really? When’s the last time you wrote a blog? Oh, that one last year about the half-monkey people who were shackled and walking into a death camp – because that’s what people want to read… (I didn’t say that last part out loud). I shake my head and smugly say, “well, yeah, I’m a narcissist.” Then he wrinkles up his forehead and comes back with, “you’re not a narcissist; you’re more like a solipsist”. I bite my tongue and nod because I can’t remember what that word means, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a compliment.

1. Philosophy. The theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.
2. Extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.



Perhaps procrastination was a novel idea for John Steinbeck, but I don’t think I can pull this off. I’m going to stop now and work on my next chapter.

Keep writing. It saves lives.