Talking and Not Talking About Writing

Hemingway said that “though there is one part of writing that is solid and you do it no harm by talking about it, the other is fragile, and if you talk about it, the structure cracks and you have nothing.”

Hemingway, I suspect, spoke about his writing in the cafés he loved.

For us, writers of the 21st century, we have much more than cafés to distract us from our craft.

We blog, we tweet, we are on Facebook: we are constantly communicating. Writing about our writing is part of our daily lives.

But today was different.

Maybe because we are starting a new month, maybe because of the much-anticipated break in the Rim Fire in Yosemite, maybe because there was a hint of fall in the foothills, Hemingway’s words had a particular effect on my modest writing goals and I decided to follow his advice.HPIM3638

I brewed my coffee at home – no temptation to go to the café and talk – and filled my mug. I made the opening of the public library. The Quiet Room was all mine until ten o’clock. Quietness is like a beautiful, crisp white page, and anticipation tinted with a bit of apprehension filled me.

People came in and out. Nobody bothered me. Maybe they were following Hemingway’s advice, too.

You know, I told myself, this draft that you drag and the excuses you find to justify your inability to finish? Well, you and only you are the reason.

Call it fear or laziness: in the end both lead to the same outcome or rather the absence of outcome.

Hemingway would be really proud of me.

I had silenced my phone. I didn’t check my e-mail. I didn’t browse the Internet. I didn’t talk to anyone.

I wrote.

When I left the library at two o’clock, blinded by the afternoon California sun, strangely remote from the business of the street and the noisy traffic, I knew I had to reconnect with the real world.

I entered the café and connected my computer to the Internet.

It was time to talk about writing.

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