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The Write Stuff

February 7, 2008 | 1 Comment

Dear Mr. Keillor:
I have been an avid listener of the show since the late '70s and know how much writing you do. Do you ever get sick and tired of writing?
It would seem that at some point the spring would dry up and you would want to run as far away from a pad, pencil and laptop as you could.

Randy S.
Clermont, FL

The best time to write is first thing in the morning, and you simply plow in and go as long as you can, and then take a coffee break, and resume. When the spring of inspiration dries up, usually sometime in the early afternoon, one simply shifts over to editing, which is an unending job and one with its own pleasures, and when that begins to fade, it's time to close up shop. But now that I'm taking a break from alcohol, evenings are now available, so sometimes the shop reopens. As one heads toward the far turn of one's career, everything seems more urgent and you try to keep pushing. Books wait to be written, shows stretch out from here to 2010, and then there is the sonnet collection to finish. The play. And so forth. The real secret to keeping up your enthusiasm is to write in as many genres and forms as possible. Variety is better than vacation.

1 Comment

Dear Mr Keillor: I was heartened, but not surprised, to see you refer to John McPhee in your Post to the Host. I have slowly gathered a small collection (the books named, and Table of Contents, and Waiting for a Ship, and one or two others, including a large one about geology) and re-read them every few years.

Clarity in writing! What a concept, in this age of text-message shortcuts, fashionable illiteracy, and TV-catch-phrase-of-the-week.

There seem to be enough of us of comparable age, who delight in McPhee and Col. John R. Stingo; I'm optimistic enough to think that younger readers will someday taste the tang of their prose as well.
John Weigel
Nacogdoches, TX

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