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WWE’s Tiffany, the Rays, Canada, Roger Ebert, and words that inspired me


While I type away furiously on a 1,000 word epic two years in the making, I wanted to post a few links pertinent to the site.

Over on YouTube, the SnowMan of posted a video of the day I met WWE Diva Tiffany.

(By the way, did you know Tiffany was a vegan? She made PETA’s list of Sexiest Vegetarians of 2009. Personally, I don’t think I could date a woman who didn’t like BBQ, even it meant ruining my chances with Kaley Cuoco, Natalie Portman, and Carrie Underwood. Sorry, ladies.)

In other news, RaysIndex pointed out that Rays pitcher James Shields is sporting the ‘fro these days. In honor of James’s admission into the ‘Squad, we shall have a ceremony with chips, dip, punch, and pie.

(Hard to believe the South Park Movie is over 10 years old. Wow. It’s like the Canadians have really rehab’ed their image. From being the birthplace of Terrance and Phillip to hosting the Olympics. I’m proud of them. And it’s good to know they have forgiven America for invading their capital city of Toronto.)

Oh, and if you want to read something actually well-written, swing on by and read Will Leitch’s post on film critic Roger Ebert. It’s about a young writer and his idol.

Leitch’s story reminds me of a similar, albeit much shorter, tale from my own early writing days. When I was in college, and just starting to understand how to write, I emailed columnist Leonard Pitts in response to an article he wrote about the mother of Emmitt Till, a young black man whose death was a key point in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. I thought Pitts’s article was so well done I had to ask him how I could write like that and how maybe one day I could have my own general interest column.

Although I think his assistant sent a canned response, Mr. Pitts’s advice was some of the best I ever received – actually, it may have been the only advice I ever received on the art of writing. Anyway, here is what he wrote:

As for advice…practice your craft.  Then practice it some more.  After
you’re done with that, take a little more time and practice. This is the
only sure route to learning your craft.

There is, in other words, no trick, secret, or magic formula that will make
you good.  Unfortunately for them, most writers are very good at finding
excuses not to write.  This is because writing is not enjoyable.  As some
sage once put it: “Writing is not fun.  Having written is.”

So what is required of the would-be writer is that he or she first develop
the discipline to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair and
start putting words down on the screen.  You will be awful at first, then a
little better.  In time, perhaps, you will become good.  And sometime after
that, assuming you possess the basic gifts for it, you will become great.

Time not spent writing should be spent reading.  Read constantly and
promiscuously.  Read writers whose work you admire and try to figure out how
they do what they do and what it is in their work that makes it achieve
whatever effect it does.  Read writers whose work you dislike and try to
figure out what they’re doing wrong so that you can avoid making the same

Also: It’s important to invest in the tools of your craft.  In making an
investment, you prove – to others and, more importantly, to yourself – that
you are serious about this thing.  To that end, you need a workspace –
doesn’t have to be fancy, but it ought to be yours and accessible to you on
a regular basis.  You need a word processor or computer; a good dictionary,
an almanac, a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, and a thesaurus.
You need a copy of Writer’s Market, which is a directory of magazine
publishers.  It lists the kind of material they’re looking for, the contact
persons and the prices they pay.  Also, get yourself a subscription to
Writer’s Digest; it’s a monthly magazine that deals with the craft of
writing, but also the business of it.  The magazine provides a great crash
course for young writers.

Finally, assuming you have any cash left over, you might want to pick up a
copy of Stephen King’s On Writing.  It’s a memoir of the craft that I found
inspirational and instructive.

I still haven’t picked up that Stephen King book yet. I might want to do that.


2 comments on WWE’s Tiffany, the Rays, Canada, Roger Ebert, and words that inspired me

  1. King’s book is definitely worth the fifteen bucks. Whether you like his style of writing or not (and there are certainly times I cringe – for the wrong reasons – while reading something he’s written), the man is undeniably talented when it comes to weaving a story and bringing the reader into it. If I didn’t have a fifty book backlog to work on, I’d dig into it again.

    Leitch’s post was also exceptional. At his best, he is a terrific storyteller. I wish I had liked “God Save The Fan” more.

  2. God Save the Fan is in my personal 200-book backlog. I have two book shelves. One for read, and the other for unread. I really should read more. As for King, I haven’t read anything of his in years. I used to devour his stuff like his version of the Lawnmower Man when I was younger.

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