Of Laziness and Lack of Imagination


So I’m reading Hocus Pocus right now, and the chapter I just finished ended with the line, “I have lifted this speech from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. If more people would acknowledge that they got their pearls of wisdom from that book instead of the original, it might clear the air.”  I guess that’s saying something about how contrived everything is.  I think I just ruined that line.

Anyway, it gets worse: It turns out that the entirety of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is available online.  Today, a person can simply search for a keyword or author to match the sentiment they want to convey but aren’t savvy enough to manage on their own.  They don’t even have to flip through the book.

I tried writing the other day; Matt gave me a book that has a writing workshop in it–I mean, the book is a writing workshop–by Ursula K. LeGuin, whom, if you know a thing about me, you know I admire very much.  She’d probably be appalled at that sentence, though.  Anyway, I tried the first exercise, which is all about sound–writing with the sound of your language in mind, the cadence of your sentences and phrases, the texture of the words.  I found it horrible to try.

I ended up writing something about an empty theater.  There were a lot of round sounds in it.  I am a very unimaginative sort; I honed in on the word ‘sound’ and couldn’t get any further than that.  Per usual, after I got over the initial disappointment in myself, I was more interested in the image that I happened to write about than the actual writing.  Now, though, I think I find the image quite easy to read–TOO easy to read–and not a bit intriguing.  An empty theater.  At least I wasn’t on the stage.  God.

The follow-up questions about it actually were quite interesting, though; things like, “Why did you hate this so much?  What is wrong with you?”


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