1. What’s the most memorable compliment you ever received for your writing?
I was talking to Robert this morning on the way to work. As is often the case in the morning, my mouth was moving without my brain being fully engaged. Out popped a new word: “jealerous” a combination of “jealous” and “generous.” I think it will be useful.
“It is very painful, I think, to be told: ‘You enchanted the world for me, you made me feel things I never knew I could, now please be normal at dinner.’ We are always saying this to people in one way or another, of course; maybe we have to.”
– Brian Phillips, “Run to the Devil: The Ghosts and Grace of Nina Simone”
I’m calling bullshit on this. There is no “have to”. You don’t have to. You just think you have to. Please stop.
One of the things I do to earn part of my living involves technical writing inside a certain specialist industry. I pitched a project last summer that the people close to me were enthusiastic about. Nevertheless it died on the vine when it was kicked upstairs.
Another writer and I were talking about the project, and he wanted to see the outline. I sent it. The next day he emailed to say this:
” Since I’m unemployed at the moment would you be okay with me looking into taking this [outline] and using it as a basis for a start up business?”
I am aware I am supposed to feel affronted and protective over the outline. I don’t though. Probably people will tell me I am foolish. I don’t care.
This is what I said in return:
“Go ahead and do what you like with it. . . Develop this and implement it, develop it and sell it to the competition, I don’t care what you do with it as I’m not going to do anything with it and ideas are cheap. If you can use it to build a business, good for you. The easy part is getting ideas, the hard part is implementing them, so please use that outline as you would your own proprietary materials and reap whatever benefits you can from it. ”