June 25, 2005

Literary Rivalry, Part 2

“I write every day whether I feel like it or not,” a writer tells me. “Doing something when you don’t feel like it is the sign of professionalism. I wrote 587 words yesterday, down from my average of 624. Today I hope to achieve at least 700. I write in a sub–basement bunker with foot–thick concrete walls and daylight–mimicking lamps, lined with editions of my books in every language. My wife sends coffee and sandwiches through a dumbwaiter.”

“I only write when I feel like it,” I tell him. “When I get an idea, I try my best to shirk writing it down. If it presses through all my laziness, I know it’s worth putting on paper. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a prose poem, ‘The Blue Flower.’ That’s enough for a while. I need to loaf around and look around before I can be ready for another such effort. Anyway, it’ll take some time to find a calligrapher and a framer for ‘The Blue Flower.’ Yes, your wife described your bunker to me. It was fun helping make the sandwiches.”