My first thought was, "Hell, if a drummer can do it..."
I'm kidding. Big congrats to Paul Harding and Bellevue Literary Press. I'm thrilled that a novelist/musician won it, and I'm thrilled that, for the first time since A Confederacy of Dunces, a small press won it. I'm keeping a very close tab on myself; if I start to show signs of jealousy, feel free to knock some sense into me, but also remember what I said two weeks ago about firsts.
Of course, I had to go digging for everything I could read about Harding, and I came across this interview at Bookslut. Interestingly, this is what he had to say about the relationship between being a writer and being a drummer:
"They scratch the same itch. I've said this a bunch of times. The differences are superficial and obvious ones. Which is being a drummer in a rock band is loud and you're on stage and doing it in front of thousands of people. Being a writer is quiet and solitary. To me it's just circumstantial whether I pick up a pair of drumsticks or whether I open a laptop. I feel like I'm a transmitter or something like that. Whatever comes through I start tapping out on the drum set or tapping out on the keyboards."
I have to admit this is exactly the opposite of how I feel about the relationship between writing novels and playing music. When writing a novel, I feel like there is absolutely nothing else in the cosmos that wants me to do it. It is all uphill, all work. Here's a word, here's another...Wait, are those the right ones? Should I switch them around? Am I going in the right direction? Is there anything good on YouTube?
Music, for me, is something that comes from inspiration, the transmitter thing Harding speaks of. If I get a musical idea, I find a guitar and strum away. In a day or two--maybe a week or two--it's pretty much as good as it's going to be.
My novels, as we explored last week, only get better with more work, to the point that they're never really done.
So, I'd advise you not to listen to this Paul Harding character and his views on writing novels and composing music. I mean, what's does he know?
Only enough to win a Pulitzer.
Yours in laying down the law,
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