McPhee

The April 29, 2013 issue of The New Yorker has an article by John McPhee that sent me tapdancing in delight around the kitchen. Read it. McPhee is one of my favorite authors, a man who writes so well that he can make even geology interesting, and keep it interesting for 700 pages, which he did in his Pulitzer-Prize-winning Annals of the Former World.

In this The New Yorker article he writes about the composition process and how difficult he finds first drafts. When he finally gets through the agony of the first draft, subsequent drafts become more interesting and in some cases even enjoyable. I need to use his method.

My current technique is to sweat around over the first draft and then, in a frenzy of frustration, post it. And then, over then next 24 hours, realizing the horror of what i’ve done, go back and freneticly make repeated edits until the thing is no longer a screaming atrocity and my shame has subsided sufficiently that i can sleep. Which means, of course, that you should always skip over the first post that you see here, especially if it has a recent date, because i’m frantically improving it.

What i haven’t been able to do is post new pics. Working on it.

If i give up and kill myself in despair over this i won’t be doing it by one of the more traditional methods. No indeed. What i shall do is go down to the new Knead Patisserie at 3111 24th Street and buy a couple dozen of their astonishing pomme d’amour, the best pastry i’ve ever eaten in my life, and the damn thing doesn’t even have any chocolate in it.

Then i will take the carton of pastries out into Dolores Park and eat them until i lose consciousness. It’ll look like i’m napping while every artery in my body congeals, and i’ll have the additional pleasure of enacting that marvelous 1950’s Chad Mitchell Trio song about the Temperance Union, “Oh can you imagine a greater disgrace/Than a man in the gutter with crumbs on his face.”

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