A couple of interview questions that a book blogger sent me got me thinking about how I write. An inspirational quote that comes to mind is something I jotted down way back in high school while reading JD Salinger’s “Seymour: An Introduction.”
In the story, Buddy Glass has expressed concerns to his brother Seymour about writer’s block. Seymour gives him this advice:
… remember before ever you sit down to write that you’ve been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart’s choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself.
That’s basically what I’ve done with my fiction-writing — though getting a book to the point where you’re happy with it is actually not so simple. Following Seymour’s advice may also not be the best plan marketing-wise, unless you have tastes that are dead-center down the mainstream (though, it worked — too well — for Salinger). But if your concern is staying inspired or writing from the heart, then … there it is.
“Seymour: An Introduction” is on my to-be-reread list of classic works that I can’t recall in detail but that I suspect still have a big influence on me subconsciously. (To buy the book on Amazon yourself, click Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.)
I’m also looking forward to the upcoming Shane Salerno documentary on Salinger’s life, supposedly out sometime this year.Tweet this