Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hempel's Way

While things around here remain hectic, and my eyes hang out of my sockets perpetually, I'm trying to finish Hempel's collection. This article (Hempel lives to write, writes to live) gets it right and will hopefully inspire me to get the darn thing finshed, when my hands aren't tied up trying to burp the boy.

Lish believes that writers don't succeed because of talent, but because of will: You become a great writer by wanting to be one. Drive, will, character, "all of which Amy has," Lish says. Hempel remembers how hard it was at the beginning, how she wondered if she should even be writing.

"And then I think of a sentence I really like," she says, "that I'm proud of having worked really hard on.

"Emily Dickinson once said that when a poem works, it felt like the top of her head was coming off. My own personal way — wait that's three words for one word," Hempel says, stopping, correcting herself. "My way of knowing the sentence just really lands is if I get a little bit teary. Not that it's sad, but something is struck just right. And it can be funny and I get teary."

That sounds about right.

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