Skip to content

Food For Thought Friday – On Becoming a Novelist

May 3, 2013

About three months ago, I read John Gardner’s book On Becoming a Novelist and it was huge for my writing. I owe a lot of how I now view writing to that book.

In a particular section, he spends talking about the psychology of a writer. This quote about made my head explode:

Like other kinds of intelligence, the storyteller’s is partly natural, partly trained. It is composed of several qualities, most of which, in normal people, are signs of either immaturity or incivility: wit (a tendency to make irreverent connections); obstinacy and a tendency toward churlishness (a refusal to believe what all sensible people know is true); childishness (an apparent lack of mental focus and serious life purpose, a fondness for daydreaming and telling pointless lies, a lack of proper respect, mischievousness, an unseemly propensity for crying over nothing); a marked tendency toward oral or anal fixation or both (the oral manifested by excessive eating, drinking, smoking, and chattering; the anal by nervous cleanliness and neatness coupled with a weird fascination with dirty jokes); remarkable powers of eidetic recall, or visual memory (a usual feature of early adolescence and mental retardation); a strange admixture of shameless playfulness and embarrassing earnestness, the latter often heightened by irrationally intense feelings for or against  religion; patience like a cat’s; a criminal streak of cunning; psychological instability; recklessness, impulsiveness, and improvidence; and finally, an in explicable and incurable addiction to storis, written or oral, bad or good. Not all writers have exactly these same virtues of course. Occasionally one finds one who is not abnormally improvident.

– John Gardner


When I read this passage, I felt like he described everything about myself I’ve always tried not to admit.

Now, I feel like I can embrace them.


Signing off,

Grace and Love.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: