Author Topic: Random Excerpt  (Read 19577 times)

verbALs

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 9452
  • Snort Life-DOR
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #170 on: November 02, 2016, 01:57:03 PM »
Now I knew Buddy would never talk to his mother as rudely as that for my sake. He was always saying how his mother said,"What a man wants is a mate and what a woman wants is infinite security," and, "What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from," until it made me tired.
Every time I tried to argue, Buddy would say his mother still got pleasure out of his father and wasn't that wonderful for people their age, it must mean she really knew what was what.
...
The same thing happened over and over:
I would catch sight of some flawless man off in the distance, but as soon as he moved closer I immediately saw he wouldn't do at all.
That's one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the coloured arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.


The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

verbALs

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 9452
  • Snort Life-DOR
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #171 on: November 04, 2016, 01:48:50 PM »
To mark truth far surpassing fiction;

"I said I am John Yerkes Iselin and I hold here in my hand a list of two hundred and seven persons who are known to the Secretary of Defence as being members of the Communist Party and who, are still working and shaping the policy of the Defence Department."
"Whaaaat?" The Secretary had to shout out his astonishment into the microphones to be heard, over the excited keening and rumbling of the voices in the room.
"I demand an answer, Mr Secretary!" Johnny cried, waving a clutch of papers high over his head, his voice a silver trumpet of righteousness.
The Secretary had turned from beet-red to magenta. He was breathing with difficulty. He gripped the lecture before him as though he might decide to throw it at Johnny. "If you have such a list, Senator, goddammit," he bellowed, "bring it here. Give me that list!"
"There will be no covering up, Mr Secretary. You will not put your hands on this list. I regret deeply to say in front of all of these men and women that you no longer have my confidence."
"Whaaaat?"
"This is no longer a matter for investigation by the Department of Defence. I am afraid you have had your chance, sir. It has become the responsibility of the United States Senate." Johnny turned and strode from the room, leaving chaos behind him.

- The Manchurian Candidate, Richard Condon

I have this unignorable desire to hear Trump enact this scene, as final proof he knows he can say anything and it won't matter, so he might as well read speeches from books.
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 24105
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #172 on: November 04, 2016, 08:33:34 PM »
Looking at these excerpts, and being conscious of the time it must take to type them in... I'm reminded of an anecdote I heard on a podcast a while back. It was about someone who would become a well-known writer, and one of the things they did to try and learn something about great writing was to type out The Great Gatsby... just to know what it felt like to have those words go through their hands. I wish I could remember who this anecdote was about... my memory of it is very foggy but that was the gist.

verbALs

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 9452
  • Snort Life-DOR
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #173 on: November 05, 2016, 04:44:05 AM »
I think if you write then you are a writer and the more you write then your writing will improve. I think the more you read; the chance grammar, structure and vocabulary will improve as a natural consequence of exposure to the medium is increased. That all seems obvious. None of that will ever make you a great writer but what will guarantee that is not writing to any extent at all.
Copying stuff out will make you a great writer? No, I can't agree with that. Being a well known writer and being a great writer aren't the same thing, are they?

It doesn't take much time at all to write a few paragraphs out.

I really love these passages and they have greater meaning, to me, outside the context of the books they come from. If Condon characterises the vacuity of loudmouth politics, 60 years ago; my feeling is those lessons should be part of assessing the inviability of a Trump type for any office. I think Condon skewers this horror much more precisely in the book than the film or any film, frankly, will be able to. I wouldn't write out every part of Manchurian Candidate that explores this idea; this is a succinct example, and Winter Kills acts to emphasise this vapid dangerous politics by looking more directly at the Kennedy legend. Condon's a forgotten author as far as I can tell. If I hear Trumps voice and it makes me think of Johnny Iselin, that's a good reason to find the passage and write it down.

Generally I'm pleased to go back to Niven and Condon and find the writing stands well next to Plath or Flaubert; they have their own joys of structure and ideas.

I'd like to completely squish any implication of pretentious snobbery attached to either reading or writing; and the implication is always there I'm afraid, much more than movies; and the best way I can think of to do it is to write about it myself.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 04:49:32 AM by verbALs »
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 24105
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #174 on: November 05, 2016, 10:48:10 PM »
Copying stuff out will make you a great writer? No, I can't agree with that. Being a well known writer and being a great writer aren't the same thing, are they?

The moral of the story as I recall it wasn't that this singular practice was entirely responsible for the person's success, just that it was something they did. Nobody can say for sure what effect it had or to what degree. I don't find it such a silly idea myself. You sing along to songs you enjoy. This person wrote along to a book they liked. Imagine what would be learned trying to recreate a movie scene you loved?

Of course at face value it doesn't seem as though there'd be any difference between writing out an excerpt and writing out an entire novel. But as you say, writing out a couple of paragraphs doesn't take any time at all. Who knows what insights might occur to a person in the nth hour, after their mind has had time to tune out all else, and the rhythm of their transcription brings their conscious mind to a level nearer the authors. It seems like an interesting meditative experiment an aspiring writing might find value in. Or a tool one might use when they have writer's block, to bleed air out of the lines and fill them with fuel.

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27697
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #175 on: November 05, 2016, 10:50:22 PM »
Before I write any paper I copy out all the quotes from the book I think I might use and it helps me get into the vibe of the book I'm writing about.
Check out my blog of many topics

“I’m not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!”

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 24105
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #176 on: November 05, 2016, 11:06:25 PM »
I'm always blown away by the results of those social experiments where people are "primed" before situations, and the results are dramatically different depending on how they're primed. It came up a bunch in some Malcolm Gladwell book, and episodes of Radiolab. Who knows what positives effects you are achieving through that practice exactly, but you have a sense it is positive and you keep doing it.

verbALs

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 9452
  • Snort Life-DOR
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #177 on: November 06, 2016, 03:06:12 AM »
Was it Dan Brown? It felt like it was copied from somewhere else, The da Vinci Code! ;D

Funnily enough, I couldn't copy/paste the song lyric I posted the other day. It hasn't been out long enough. Having done the exercise I love that song even more than I did before...but I don't think doing it got me any closer to being a great songwriter either.  ;D
« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 03:10:37 AM by verbALs »
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

verbALs

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 9452
  • Snort Life-DOR
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #178 on: November 26, 2016, 05:08:14 AM »
He saw his new existence unfolding like a dream- he had a new wife who was passionately in love with him, he would be earning millions in next to no time, life was full of opportunities, and there was no limit to what he might achieve. It was everything he could wish for. And to make this dream come true, all he had to do was get rid of one man- like the plant or animal that stood in the way and that had to be crushed underfoot. He was no use to anybody; he had grown fat and sluggish. Whatever energy he once had was now consumed by his mindless addiction to gambling. Why spare him? Nothing, absolutely nothing, argued in his favour. He stood condemned. However you looked at it, it was in everyone's best interest that he should die. To delay would be both foolish and cowardly

- La bęte humaine, Emile Zola

1890 Noir!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 05:11:00 AM by verbALs »
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

pixote

  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 32589
  • Up with generosity!
    • yet more inanities!
Re: Random Excerpt
« Reply #179 on: December 16, 2017, 04:15:55 PM »
"It's a terribly sad story."
"Most of them are."


— John Monk Saunders, Single Lady
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.