Friday, May 8, 2009

Topic: Portrait of a Writer

10-second review: Description of how Richard Rovere, a writer for The New Yorker, wrote his articles. From a eulogy in the pages of The New Yorker.

Title: “Richard Rovere.” The New Yorker (December 10, 1979), p. 218.

Quote: “Richard Rovere, who died the day after Thanksgiving, always seemed surprised to discover that a fellow-writer had filled a whole wastebasket with preliminary drafts before turning in an article. If that worked for someone else, fine, said Rovere, who was as undoctrinaire about literary habits as about most other aspects of life. What worked for him, he would say, was to write a piece directly on the typewriter in one long take. In reality, by the time he handed it in, his typewritten manuscript would often be an almost impenetrable thicket of crossed-out phrases, ballooning inserts, and tangles of handwritten amendments curling in and out of margins. Once an editor had followed the signs and picked his tortuous way through it, however, it would reveal itself as the usual Rovere marvel of clarity, simplicity, and insight—truths plucked out of an apparently hopeless muddle and put into an order that immediately seemed to be the only rational one. He was 64.”

Comment: Another tribute to the variety of writing practices that worked for someone. How do my readers write? RayS.

No comments: