Saturday, April 27, 2013

BEDA 21: Hands. Writing. Work


My fingers are dry, rough, and peeling. But they didn't get this way because I swing a hammer all day or clean up fence rows. I didn't construct a swing set in the backyard this weekend or rebuild the engine in the van.

My best guess? Friday afternoon I spent a few hours collating text book tearsheets, sorting and stacking 11 x 17 pages of paper, pulling off paper tags, moving bunches, shuffling the paper from here to there on my desk, to a copier to make some scanned PDF files, then back to my desk to do it again.

Believe it or not, rubbing the page edges on my finger tips must have abraded the sin more dramatically than you might otherwise assume. So, maybe office work is more manly than is otherwise supposed?

(Nah, I don't really believe that either.)


I've also been catching up on my Fresh Air podcasts the last few days and thoroughly enjoyed her interview with David Sedaris on Thursday. I really enjoy Sedaris' writing. I bought the audio book of his previous volume, and like to hear Sedaris' distinct voice reading the stories that he wrote. His new collection--Lets Talk About Diabetes with Owls--is partially based on some of his private journals that he has been keeping since the 1970s.

Thinking about the daily commitment to observation, note-taking, writing, and collecting for that many years is impressive. And it certainly has paid off for Sedaris. Listening to him talk about writing, though, is frustrating. I imagine what that life might be like . . . left to your own devices and thoughts, writing every day, making a living off of that writing, being successful. It sounds great, but the work is much harder than you might suppose. It involves unspoken talent and skill that doesn't just come from finding the time to write all the time.

And to add insult to injury, in a separate book review, Terri Gross introduced the author by saying that "he entered into his public writing rather late . . ." (at the age of 44!). That immediately made me depressed. I may never be more than a sometimes blogger, I guess.

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