I swear, the title of this post isn't my way of kicking a dead horse or rubbing in the fact that writers often, very seriously, aren't as good looking in person. Nor that even the most prolific suffer writer's block from time to time. Nor that when confronted by authority, Ernest Hemingway regularly and infamously lost his cool. Rather, I want to mention that after wrapping up my post yesterday, I wandered down to Magers and Quinn, by which I mean I cursed in traffic alone for 30 minutes, to hear Joshua Henkin read from his new book, The World Without You; a smart, enthusiastic and contemporary take on family, set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, and was delighted to be privy to, not only a great reading, but a Q&A that, thanks to Henkin's generosity of spirit and commandeering of good questions into ports of sincere insight, serendipitously centered on the same things I'd been thinking about earlier. So, for those who couldn't be there, here's what I remember of what Henkin had to say about not always saying everything you can.
1. "The bad pages are investments in the good pages."
2. "I wrote 300 pages about the background of one character that condensed into one paragraph."
3. "Sometimes you have to stop waiting for the bus and walk."
Again, to be honest, I'm not entirely convinced this last comment was in regard to revision, so much as falling on hard times. Does "the bus" represent writing long hand? Is "walking" the same as computers? I'll never know. But enraptured in the spirit of the evening, I raised up my hand high anyway and asked Henkin if he needed a ride home.
By the way, signed copies of The World Without You are currently available for a limited time.