Murder your darlings: Writing rule of style du jour

 

johnson portrait
Murder your darlings

Read your own compositions, and when you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.

Samuel Johnson, from James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791

 

Excellent advice. (I once presented this maxim to a writing class, trying to remember which great man had originally proposed it. In fact, half the great writers in history have said the same thing in one way or another.)

Lose a few chapters, gain Read more

Four rules to live by (and forget about the underwear)

 

Always wear clean undergarments with no holes in them. And so mothers everywhere will warn you. A rule to live by. “What if you have an accident and have to go to hospital?” Well, yeah, eh? But my mother, at least, never told me that red-blooded, hairy-chested hombres such as I would come to be risk even greater embarrassments.

honda dreamOccupational hazards. 

The magazine was going through a let’s-economize-on-expenses phase, is why I was headed back to my hotel in … Read more

Rule to live by #2: Always drink pastis in full midday sun.

This is in response to S. Tsow’s comment on my last post.

sidewalk-cafe-lunch-on-the-terrace-burgundy-lion-pub-st-henri-montreal-scene-carole-spandau-carole-spandau

 

Cautionary note. Ease off when your brain begins to bubble.

PastisResults of the latest field trial. Once again I have followed my rule, and once again, this day following, I find cause to question it.

hangovers joy of

 

 

Bonus lore. Rx for hangovers: The Joy of Hangovers

Tbe cafe is the work of Carole Spandau

 

Rule to live by #1: Bring black peppercorns to any dope-smoking contest the like of which nobody is likely to win

The fix. Neil Young, in a Rolling Stone interview with Howard Stern, offers this treatment for weed-induced paranoia: chew some ‘black pepper balls.’ I’m thinking he must mean peppercorns.

neil young heart of gold

peppercorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the off chance that peppercorns are the latest panacea, I tried chewing just two of them. Not because I’d been smoking dope, and not because I was feeling especially paranoid. Just because like, whatever, eh? And they were good. Not as good … Read more