Wednesday in Santa Fe

02010-04-01 | Uncategorized | 8 comments

It’s fairly easy to achieve a quality of 90%, especially if one has a certain amount of experience with the medium, but then progress slows down. The faucet closes and the river becomes a trickle. Above 95% one has to claw oneself slowly forward, crab-like, three steps forward, two steps back, repeat. It’s always a frustrating effort, but worthwhile in the end.
It was intersting, reading about William Gibson’s struggles with writing today. I am looking forward to his new book in September. Spook Country was brilliant, I thought.

William Gibson
Q: Which novels did you enjoy writing most?

A: Writing novels is a painful and anxiety-ridden process, for me. There are *moments* of enjoyment. I very much enjoy the state of having written.

Q: Least?

A: They’re all equally if differently painful, and each one seems, at some point, to me, to be not only a very bad novel, but the worst novel ever written. That crisis, I’ve learned, indicates that I’ll be finished soon, and that the worst is over. But knowing that doesn’t seem to decrease that devastating and absolute conviction of utter failure.

Q: Seemed to me you enjoyed Spook Country. That so?

A: As usual, I was terrified throughout. The pace seemed utterly glacial, to me. The essential thing is to have at least one trusted daily first reader. Four or five, even better. But the keyword is “trusted”. When it comes to evaluating my own work, truly, my head has a contract out on my ass.

From the book Lines Around China, words by Li Bai:

The wind that breaks a petal
Breaks me.

And by Men Haoran (689-740):

How we have overslept the Spring Morning!
Here, there, everywhere, birds
are heard twittering.
After a long night’s noise
of wind and rain, how many petals
are fallen on the ground

In the golden evening light filtering through pine trees
I make nine prostrations to the Buddha we are


  1. Matt Callahan

    I’ve enjoyed following William Gibson on Twitter. I really need to get Pattern Recognition and Spook Country moved closer to the top of the “unread” pile.

  2. Ottmar

    Slow reader or big pile? I suggest putting Spook Country above PR in the pile. Although there are many parts I like about PR, I think Spook Country is the better book.

  3. Matt Callahan

    Big pile that just keeps growing. I can think of worse things.

  4. Ottmar

    My pile is invisible. Strange, my iPhone does not get heavier, whether I carry ten or forty books with me… :-)

    Bet that would have blown my grandfather’s mind. (((both of them were born in the 19th Century)))

  5. Matt Callahan

    I have a few books on my iPod Touch but I’ll still partial to actually books. The product of numerous tree murders, I know. It weighs heavy on my conscience.

    I imagine that using an iPad to read would give a much different experience. Maybe closer to how a book feels in the hand.

  6. Carol

    I love the different feel of books in my hand. Of course my house overfloweth with them and that bothers me a little.

  7. Ottmar

    Matt: I’ll tell you when I see you in July – we are adding a concert in Phoenix, Scottsdale actually, and I should receive confirmation soon.

    Carol: it constantly accumulates, doesn’t it? Maybe stuff is like dust… I imagine I’ll donate a few hundred, or maybe it’s more like thousands of books to a public library at some point. At present I use some of my books, two shelves worth, in the studio for their acoustic properties. Because they are all differently sized, they are perfect in the back of a listening room, because they disperse the sound rather than throwing it back like a bare wall would. Books sound better than hanging up a rug, and are more beautiful than acoustic tile!

  8. Matt Callahan

    I’ll wait patiently until then. And, I was getting a little nervous regarding the lack of any Arizona dates.


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