Saturday, September 29, 2007

Another Michael Chabon Gem

A few months ago, Zach and I saw Michael Chabon speak at Barnes and Noble, where he provided us with this one:

Zach: Any advice to young writers just starting out?
Michael Chabon: (shrugging) Be good.

Well, I just finished rereading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and in the back there is a little essay that Chabon wrote, talking about his motivation to write the piece, which he began after undergrad, after moving home to California from Pittsburgh, and all before he turned 22 years old.

While he can do no wrong in my eyes, and the entire thing is invaluable by my standards, there is one, *ahem* gem that stands out above the rest. He was discussing how the literature that he enjoyed most to read was genre and science fiction, but he didn't want to actually write it. He knew that trying to be literary would require him to do something a little more spectacular to make himself stand out. Or, in his words:

"If my subject matter couldn't do it -- if I wasn't writing about people who sailed through neutron stars or harnessed suns together -- then it was going to fall to my sentences themselves to open up the heads of my readers and decant into them enough crackling plasma to light up their eye sockets for a week."

Fucking brilliant.

Write on...

1 comment:

franQ said...

MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH has long been my favorite book "of all time" and I, too, once thought Michael Chabon could do no wrong.

Till he agreed to give the film rights to one Rawson Marshall Thurber of DODGEBALL fame.

In case you haven't heard... Thurber's so-called MOP adaptation consists of completely annihilating the role of gay Arthur, replacing Phlox as leading lady with Sienna Miller's Jane Bellwether and making Cleveland a bisexual.

As a screenwriter yourself, you might be interested in taking a look at the script. Which I will happily email you in a PDF file.

Contact me: bechstein[at]yahoo[dot]com

For more info the official MOP Film Boycott: