Assorted Links

1. Chris Hedges on Moby Dick – Good, but not good enough.

2. Is Nabokov’s poetry bad? – I’m undecided.

3. Jack Kirby vs. Alex Toth – IMO: Toth’s formally, technically far superior; Kirby’s daemonic Romantic genius unsurpassed.

4. Profile of Renata Adler –  Need to finish Speedboat.

5. Richard Ford on driving around with his parents looking at houses – I truly love RF, but why?

6. James Salter isn’t sexist – Wouldn’t that be an incredible thing for a man his age?

Practicing

sort of interesting post (co-working space! Stickk!) by a fellow named Herbert Lui the point of which is

As Ira Glass so famously put it, the best way to refine your craft is to create a huge volume of work. Not to create the most perfect piece you can, but to create many pieces of work.

This strikes me as correct, incorrect, and boring. That practice makes perfect is not news. But perfect is unlikely to be made unless one practices toward it. It’s not possible to do or make something really well without a huge investment of time and energy, and most of that has to be spent on what amount to mundane excercises. Writing thousands of blog posts is good practice for writing generally, and I believe it has improved my prose. Yet this sort of thing is not good practice for refining one’s writing unless one tries to write with increasing refinement. Otherwise, one develops ingrained habits of shittiness. Perhaps the greatest hazard of journalism is that one accedes sooner or later to the norm of clarity, to the debased idea that the aim of style is efficient communication. The perfection of prose lies in the music, energy, and intelligence of expression, and one doesn’t approach it by hammering out volumes of airplane magazine writing.

That said, one can’t write oustanding stories or outstanding books  just by polishing sentences, or fixating on any other single element of the larger craft. One must write stories and books, and the more of them one writes, the better they’ll get. But, duh.