I haven’t been able to write lately.

I didn’t think it was because I couldn’t write, but because my life had become so busy with things outside of literary concerns that I couldn’t scrape together a few sentences out of the limited time allotted to my packed days.

But maybe I should talk to Mr. Naipaul about this. He might have a better insight than myself.

Perhaps my genitals are creating some dam between my brain and the page, or a weight under which my brain collapses like so much fluffy gelatinous goo, an ambrosia salad of inferiority and sublimation.

Ambrosia salad. Will you look at that? I wrote about some sort of feminine concern, because as we all know ambrosia salad could only be a concern of womenfolk.

I can’t remember the last time I ate ambrosia salad. Maybe that’s because I’m a woman.

The truth is, it just might come down to my “narrow view.” It was something I hadn’t considered before, but my vagina might be narrowing my perspective, hampering my ability to write. I think Mr. Naipaul’s line of thinking is pretty right on: “And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too.”

I’ve talked to my husband Lars and he’s definitely interested in a partnership. But now I’m just going to have to put my foot down and demand dictator status because otherwise I can’t write.

I’m curious how this is going to play out. Our roles have been poorly defined in the past, shifting and changing to accommodate the needs of our small family and the circumstances swirling around us, but I’m going to take a firm hand and demand Mastery over the Housery.

Which roles will that leave me? I hope that means I don’t have to do dishes anymore.

Ha! I forgot. I hardly ever do dishes.

I guess I’ll have to take control over the finances because money sounds like the jurisdiction of The Master.

Wait, I do that already.

I’m going to have to start being a little handier. Build things. Use my hands.

Nope. I do that too. I’ll just have to start beating Lars about the head and neck to shore up my position.

About women writers and specifically Jane Austen, Mr. Naipaul said he “couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world”.

I guess it’s all this sentimentality just bleeding through everything we write that makes us complete patsys. I’m going to have to evaluate such sentimental passages from Austen like: “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal,” which positively wallows in sentimentality.

And what of my own writing? I’m going to review all 400+ essays, fripperies, sentimental hogwash that I’ve written and strip them of sentiment, replacing it with good, solid masculine…I don’t know…non-sentimentality. Because god knows that sentiment is the sign of weakness, pettiness, shallowness, foolishness, but most importantly, humanity.

About my father’s death I recently wrote, 

I sat by my father’s bed, shadows and light filling the hours through which we waited for his end. And when it came, the world was blue, day only hinted in the barest needle of light peeking through his thin linen curtains, the outlines of trees and plants suggestions to be filled in at some other hour. The stillness of the hour and the light was an hour in which Dad was quite at home, painting them in deep purples and blues, echoed in dawns and dusks, the bookends to each day, hinting at wonder without revealing too much.

In these quiet hours, in this quiet light, Dad was at home.

 

I’m going to edit it so that it reads,

I sat by my father’s bed and then he died.

That will remove any suspicion that I am either a) a woman and b) sentimental. I hope Mr. Naipaul appreciates the effort I’m making to become a better writer.

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QUENBY MOONE used to be a graphic designer who wrote once in a while. After her father came down with a touch of Stage IV prostate cancer, she became a writer who did graphic design once in a while.

She's written a book called Living in Twilight (no relation to vampires - unless dying of cancer is a part of Edward's story) in which her design skills came in handy, and includes some of her stories featured on The Nervous Breakdown.

65 responses to “Mr. Naipaul and Becoming a Writer”

  1. Greg Olear says:

    Paul Theroux wrote a (fan-fucking-tastic) memoir called Sir Vidia’s Shadow about the breakdown of his relationship with Naipul. Nothing Naipul says would surprise me after reading that, as I am captain of Team Theroux.

    I’m glad he got you writing again, at least! Nice work, QB.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      In many ways dignifying his absurd statements with a response is only giving him attention that he doesn’t deserve, but on the other hand I figure that one misogynist prick’s opinions probably represents a great number of other misogynist pricks’ opinions and that deserves a response.

      Idiot.

      • I tend to agree with this. Every time I read a funny, smart, scathing, well-written response to his nonsense, from a worthy (woman) writer such as yourself, I find myself cringing a little even though I agree with every word you’ve said. I feel like maybe he should have been roundly ignored. Kinda like I thought that dumb-ass preacher of some tiny little church should have been ignored when he wanted to burn to Koran, instead of the media flocking to turn it into an international incident and turning that yokel moron into a celebrity. Here, of course, Naipaul is already a celebrity and an acclaimed writer . . . but he is also aged, and infamous for being an asshole. I suspect the comment was made as much out of fear of his own obscurity, as an old man, as out of misogyny, and it pains me that he has probably–as a result of all the counter-attacks–been far more cured of his fear of obscurity than he has been of said misogyny, you know?

        • Quenby Moone says:

          It’s very true. I know that I fed the fire that needed to be starved of oxygen. It’s difficult to resist, and though Naipaul is now known universally for being a misogynistic prick, he’s known universally.

          What to do? I don’t have the answer. I’m of two minds about it: on the one hand he does need to be starved of oxygen; on the other, misogyny is still rife in publishing, as evidenced by all the studies which VIDA and other people have shown. There’s an unbelievable disparity in publishing figures: Men get published, women don’t.

          Which is not to say that ALL women don’t; it’s just that it’s far more infrequent for women to get published ANYWHERE than men. The standard bearers for culture publish articles by men: The New Yorker, Atlantic, NY Times Book Review. Edgy men writers get respect; edgy women writers get to write for women in women’s magazines like BUST and BITCH which men aren’t going to read.

          Wait. I’m on a soap box. I think I’ll step off it now and continuing cleaning the house.

          Crap. That makes me sound all feminine. I’m going to have to bust out some power tools or something.

  2. Irene Zion says:

    “Idiot” is too mild.
    You gave him a good, sound thrashing, Quenby.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Not that his Nobel-gilded ass gives a rip what I think, but I hope that he sits in his little citadel wondering where all the love went.

      The answer is that he sucked it right out of the air, along with all the oxygen in the room.

  3. Art Edwards says:

    After Sir Vidia’s Shadow, I’m not too surprised by anything Naipaul says. Some writers are brilliant and enlightening in interviews. Naipaul seems enamored of saying things any idiot knows aren’t true. The guy’s kind of a monster, and if it weren’t for two or three novels–which is about two percent of his oeuvre–his time on this earth would be a complete wash.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I can’t wait to get my hands on Theroux’s memoir; anything that unmasks the stupidity and arrogance of a tool like this makes me proud.

      And I know–I really, really know–that I’m basically spitting in the wind with this. People who believe the blather that someone like this spouts will only be confirmed that women should be kept in their place and that I’m uppity; or everyone knows he’s an ignorant, if talented, asshat.

      It’s not like we haven’t seen his ilk a million times before. It’s just that I always get the chills when someone this obscene gets a soapbox from which to sound off.

  4. I’ve sort of been following this in spite of myself, since I find it unfortunate that Naipaul is getting so much attention. He’s like the Donald Trump of novelists all of a sudden.

    It’s all part of the literature/publishing world’s identity crisis: the whole works would keel over and die in an instant without all the amazing female writers, editors, and especially readers that keep it running. Yet somehow, the industry still manages to condescend to women every chance it gets.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I’m with you, and in some ways I’m sorry that I’m contributing to the conversation. On the other hand, if Naipaul’s allowed to out himself as a complete chauvinist, I’m allowed to out myself as one who hates them.

      And if there’s an identity crisis about what roles one half of the human race plays in publishing, it’s only a level of insecurity about the quality and value of the other half’s role which makes it so.

      Gertrude spake, “The lady doth protest too much…”

      Naipaul, your little insecure soldier doth protest too much, methinks.

      • It might be more accurate to pin that identity crisis down to a schism between the productive, actual enterprises of writing/reading/buying books and the critical establishment.

        I teach a class on popular fiction–essentially genre novels–and it’s uncanny how much the male dominated genres are always elevated by the critics, whereas female-dominated genres are consistently belittled.

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I’m curious about these schisms, and it always seems to fall along gender lines. I suppose it’s the same in music and cinema as well; the women who get respect play the game on men’s terms (Hurt Locker comes to mind) while the real money churners, the successful popular female-led powerhouses get the respect of no-one. And while some of these genre movies/books/music phenoms are complete crap, the same goes for work generated by men, though their work doesn’t generate the same belittlement.

          And when women create popular works (Bridemaids) consumed by men, it is often because the women have taken an already tested formula and changed it around. (I have to be honest here: I really want to see Bridesmaids. I like crass, juvenile humor, and watching women in the role usually reserved for men is appealing. I just know that it’s a storyline created as the “woman’s answer to The Hangover.” I mean, we couldn’t have our own ridiculous storyline, having nothing whatsoever to do with a stupid wedding?)

          When I studied anthropology back in the dark ages, I read an interesting study about women who read romance novels. It was basically turning around the idea that women, both the authors of the books and the consumers of the genre, were weak, insecure drips, but were instead finding strong female characters and genuinely masculine role models when they had few in their day-to-day lives. It was still a certain sort of wish-fulfillment, but not a weak-kneed suckering under. It was a fascinating study which stuck long in my memory, and it really turned my head about my own opinions of “female genres,” being just as much of a chauvinist as others when it came down to “Historical Fiction” and “Romance.”

          I really appreciate your comments here, because they shine a light on sexism as a comprehensive, interdisciplinary problem which cuts across gender lines. I believe we women are often quick to malign other women’s work, much as men are. As critics, and culture makers, we are often culpable in our own belittlement. I would be curious to count the ratio of female-to-male authors reviewed in the NYT, by women critics.

          Thanks, Tyler. Awesome conversation.

      • kristen says:

        I hear ya re: being conflicted about contributing to the conversation around him/this. But, like, you, it disgusted me enough to want to chime in.

        Great Gertrude line for sure, and gotta love the Austen bit you referenced.

        A friend referred to Naipaul as a sociopath, and I think that about covers it.

  5. Jessica Blau says:

    Quenby, this is great! I didn’t know how to respond to his statement. You’ve said it all, and you’ve said so perfectly. Going to tweet this now.

  6. You’ve brilliantly captured that lack of something in Naipaul’s writing that bores me and nudges me to find women and men writers with more heart. Well-done.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I’ll admit that I can’t tell exactly from this comment if you approve of this essay in general, or if you think it’s just as boring as Naipaul.

      Either way, yes, let’s all find writing with more heart and less snobbery.

      • Oh my. After a good night’s sleep, I can see where my comment might be confusing. I very much approve of your essay. What you originally wrote about your father has the kind of heart I enjoy in writing. I’ve never particularly liked what I’ve read of Naipaul. I’d have to go back and reread to remember all the reasons why. I do vaguely remember something lacking. You captured that lack when you whittled down what you originally wrote to: “I sat by my father’s bed and then he died.”

        In other words, right on!

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I must be getting to be less thin-skinned in my dotage, as I totally forgot about this last night and didn’t sit up all night stewing about whether or not you thought I was boring. Maturity comes at last? I don’t know!

          Thanks, though, for clarifying. I know that he’s just a big blowhard, but this sort of “women are stupid and live through men” sort of posturing just keeps reminding me that even if feminism is dead (which seems to be pronounced every couple of years or so), we still need it desperately.

          Anyway, thank you very much. I see you’re an Oregonian as well! Three cheers for Oregon!

  7. Uche Ogbuji says:

    *shrug*. I think I remember the last thing I ever paid attention to that Naipaul said. It was some 12-15 years ago. Someone interviewing him for, I think, The Economist asked him about the future of Africa. He replied: “Africa has no future.” Not worth a further thought, really.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      He’s sort of like Ann Coulter. I’m convinced that Ann Coulter says shit that is so off the wall merely to remain in the public eye. Because without her ridiculous status as a pundit, she’ll disappear from view, not even making a bubble as she sinks to the bottom of her vacuous life.

      On the other hand, like I said up above somewhere, if he’s saying it out loud it means that a bunch of less well-known idiots probably think the same thing, and now they have a Nobel-laureate to bolster their stupid ideas.

  8. Gloria says:

    Can I like this even though I don’t have any idea whatsoever who this Naipaul person is? (I sort of don’t want to even Google it. If I want get all up in arms about some thing some man said, I’ll just call my ex-husband.)

    The passage about your dad’s death was beautiful in the vaginal way. I didn’t like it nearly as much when you duded it up.

    Hi Quenby!! Glad you’re writing again. 😉

    • Quenby Moone says:

      My hysterical femaleness thanks you, Gloria! I suppose my genitals would thank you, too, but that might be getting a little over-personal.

      I’m coming through the tunnel of mundane projects with absolutely no creative spirit whatsoever, and into the light of a more interesting day. Hopefully full of words I don’t know how to write because I have those completely inconvenient boobs.

      Hi Gloria! Let’s hang!

  9. David Makin says:

    Who’s “Mr. Naipaul” ?

  10. Mark West says:

    Superb article/post and if Naipaul could write anything as moving and human as your piece on your Dad, he’d be a lucky man.

  11. Two things: first, great post, thank you.

    Secondly: someone has hacked your site theme, and there’s a whole pagefull of spam links above the header…

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Thanks for the head’s up! I have adblockers, so I never know what the heck is going on. I’m missing so much, like spam hacks and twinkly advertisements!

      Thanks.

  12. dwoz says:

    What a strange world.

    Personally I never could see clear to the upside of the “treat women like toilet paper” philosophy. Never seemed to HAVE an upside that I could see.

    I think it’s a lot like that new internet sensation, the Dunning-Kruger effect. Simply put, it’s thinking that you’re competent because you are too stupid to realize that you’re not.

    In that same vein, perhaps “men” like Naipaul (i.e. men who hate women to some degree) reinforce their core beliefs about women because the only women who can stand to be around him for any time are women who have a compulsion to be disrespected by men.

    Anecdotally, I think there is some possibility that his disease is based in his culture…there is something about some factions of hinduism that seem to tolerate extreme racism and chauvinism. The worst racist I ever met in my life was a hindu.

    Again…what a strange world. Brilliance and insanity are often cited as two sides of the same coin. Apparently brilliance and stupidity are too.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Great comment, but my basement is being torn apart and I have to go help. I will come back to reply a considered reply once I shake loose the ambrosia salad from my brain!

      • dwoz says:

        Ambrosia salad!!!!

        what an ambrosial treat. I have an Ambrosia salad story. I have a relative who is, shall we say, not a culinary master. Raised by a mother who was a product of the factory-bomb-shelter-cans-and-processing era, the dark ages of american nutrition, and SHE herself had no mother to teach her real cooking.

        So, this relative brings Ambrosia Salad to the Thanksgiving feast at my house. A huge, disrespectfully bountiful spread of all things good to eat. During the post-dinner scraping of plates, the dogs were in dog-heaven as most of the food was being scraped into their bowls. But when the Ambrosia Salad hit the dog bowl, the ears went back, the nose went to work, and that dog just backed away from that food bowl like it was full of skunk piss, porcupine quills and white-tailed wasps.

        Would NOT touch the Ambrosia Salad. Let me put it this way…when I was replastering my kitchen, I accidentally slopped some plaster into the dog’s dish, and she scrambled over, and took a taste. She would not even get her nose near the Ambrosia Salad.

        There’s times you need to trust what your dogs are telling you.

        • Quenby Moone says:

          Things got so weird here for a bit that I haven’t had time to reply properly. But I think that while your first comment was interesting for its value as a criticism of a culture of sexism and chauvinism, your second comment about ambrosia salad is brilliant!

          We must trust our dogs in certain things. If they’re willing to roll in rotting offal with nary a blink but back away from ambrosia salad? I’m pretty sure that it’s definitely not to be thought of as a consumable. Or anything other than toxic waste, really.

          In other news, wow.

        • dwoz says:

          another clue with respect to Ambrosia Salad is that it doesn’t spoil, but rather just slowly decomposes. It’s the culinary analogy to styrofoam.

          On the “wow” topic…heh. It’s pretty interesting, seeing what sorts of wonderful things the internet can bring us. Pondering the things that are on some people’s google watch list, who then scurry like kitchen cockroaches to champion their pet issue.

          The man certainly did “take you to school” with that little snippet though. Powerful stuff. It moved me. Or, at least, it inspired a movement in me. Not a sniff of difference between being moved and having a movement, now that sentiment has been properly laid to rest.

          I’ve seen his list of reviews at amazon. Educational, to say the least. Wow IS the word.

  13. L
    O
    V
    E

    your writing and your thinking.

    XO

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Ms. Lauck! Hello! We meet again.

      I would write a lengthy reply but a) I can’t write well and b) my basement is being torn apart right now and I have to help.

      It’s so good to see you!

      Coffee? Beer? Beer mixed with coffee?

  14. I’ve never read anything by Naipaul and certainly never will. I’ve read enough about him to know that he’s probably not going to appeal to me. What an idiot. As someone mentioned in the comments above, he is indeed the Donald Trump of writers.

    This was a funny put-down. Some people say it’s best to ignore scumbags and let their words disappear into the nothingness they deserve… but it’s more fun sometimes to ridicule them and watch them burn.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I actually think it’s better to ignore the idiots, but you’re right, it’s more fun to poke the hornet’s nest. He’s an easy mark–he’s done all the hard work of making himself look like an idiot. All I had to do was stir the pot a little.

      Hi, David! You married yet?

      • Tell me about it. Most of my writing comes from poking hornet’s nests.

        Not married yet…. but it’s coming soon. A little over a month to go!

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I hear Listi has the jet just idling on the runway, waiting for go-time. It’s going to be GREAT! You’re going to throw us all out for misbehaving on your special day. But you’ll have a lot of fodder for stories in the near future, so that’s a plus!

          Congrats to you both. So exciting!

        • Gloria says:

          Happy marriage day, David!! Wooo!

  15. Chris Roberts says:

    Hint: I don’t care to know your husband’s name under any circumstances. Side Hint: It is a generic, limp, pro-name. Hint # 2: Familial death, the process, the end, should remain the end. The story of which need not be produced in public print, example or not, a passive-aggressive device by which the saccharine passage is included. Better off red than dead, sometimes. Better off dead and unread (about), always.

    • dwoz says:

      This brings up an interesting point.

      Is bringing up a laundry list of your own preferences and dislikes in patronizing, petulant rebuttal to an author almost as bad as, or perhaps far worse than, the maudlin expression of sentimentality by that same author?

      Or, expressed in the vernacular, in what conceivable reality would I care more about what you don’t like than what the author wrote?

      If I follow your logic, then 90 percent of all creative writing is utter garbage. My personal assessment is that only 40 percent of all creative writing is garbage, which means you’re at least 50 percent full of shit, Chris.

      But this isn’t meant as a personal side-swipe. I ask in the “generic.” About the virtual epidemic of petulant me-based rebuttal and critique, as if “me” was of the slightest interest in the context of the piece, to others?

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I don’t know how a name could be a generic and limp. It’s a name. This one happens to be my husband’s. Yours is “Chris,” which is a name you share with my brother. I suspect that’s about all you share with him.

      Pro-name? Like pro-noun?

      I understand you’re not fond of the subject of my father’s death. Or maybe any death, be it fictional or not. You won’t like much of what I’ve written, but that’s clear anyway, so at least you’ve ruled me out of future purchases at the bookstore. That’s okay. Vote with your dollars, I always say.

      DWoz isn’t hiding behind a handle. He’s an author here, and we know who he is. He’s also got a picture attached to him so I could point him out in the supermarket.

      All I know about is that you’re a person who thinks my husband’s name is limp and that you don’t like my writing.

      And that’s okay, too.

  16. Chris Roberts says:

    A list it is not. I did not number it 1, 2,3,4,…which is what you can count to. Why would I care what you think, I wrote my comment to the author. Your math skills are off, percentages and such are so much masturbation best not unrealized in an open format. Shit is a good description of the static produced by your keystrokes. Coward is you, hiding behind a user name are you a he/she/it or all of the above? Your “me” construct is overused, unoriginal and assures you obscurity and incidentally, a good laugh.

    • dwoz says:

      Interesting.

      Why you should pick this particular piece on TNB to spew on.

      I mean, call me deaf, dumb and blind, but it occurs to me that there is writing on this site (my own included) that is far more banal than ANYTHING in the output of Quenby Moon. I mean, some pieces on TNB are a chicken bone being swallowed sideways, I grant you that, but I’ve personally found the ratio to be fairly low, at least in comparison to some other internet watering holes. And there are FAR easier targets here than Quenby.

      Also, your “research” into my own writing and output would seem to belie your statement about my anonymity. Thanks for the comments on my blog though. I have said before that one is essentially nobody until someone hates you.

  17. Chris Roberts says:

    Q.M. – Rather it is a forename, true. Death and taxes, write about neither. Look at David Foster Wallace. He wrote the tedious, “The Pale King,” of the IRS and now he is self-dead. Do you see the connection? Master of neither. Death, any death, is as I elucidate below:

    A Scaffold of One’s Own

    Self-murder burns its own special incandescence. Suicide is a light affair because it is entered into lightly. The one-thousand questions asked by those left behind are without weight because it matters nothing to Death. Grieving embarrasses the suicide itself, especially so in novelist David Foster Wallace’s case, by the very act of memorializing it in writing and twice-fold in the reading of it out loud at a service. The point of self-murder is too leave everyone and thing behind, not be followed after with airy prayers and ornate praise.

    The author mentioned above is mere an example. Suicide manifests itself through a natural extension of self and there really is no mystery, no self-recriminations. A life lived is light too in contrast to the epochal march. What came before, the now and what is future days converge to present the opportunity for self-murder. It is only a question of method, not if, and the suicide’s fatalistic joining with absolutism. Death, a singular death, is a trifle. Suicide as method is inconsequential in its repetitiveness and endlessly leads to the next man waiting in self-murderous solitude.

    • dwoz says:

      Should we start by discussing your high level themes here, or should we first get all the grammar problems out of the way?

      • Chris Roberts says:

        dwoz – You’re a natural born nobody and no doubt think yourself Q.M.’s voice. Unless you have been kicked in the nuts recently, high voice and all, I’m sure she can speak for herself. My salutation is clearly made out to her. Concentrate on comprehension, the grammar will eventually come to you.

        • dwoz says:

          I must be getting old. I used to find this kind of thing fun. Now it’s just tedious. Tell you what, let’s have a “nobody” contest. Let’s count how many mourners are at each of our funerals. Whoever has the most, wins. Special credit for the most mourners who are secretly enjoying the sight of our mortal remains being interred. Extra special credit if our mortal remains were unrecoverable.

    • dwoz says:

      Chris,

      A little birdie tells me that you’ve been wallpapering the internet with this little two paragraph snippet. Rather proud of how it turned out, are we?

      • Chris Roberts says:

        dwoz – Having written an especially astute, seminal work on self-murder, I decided to share my words. Perhaps, someday, you will put together an assemblage of verbiage that you can call your own, though, I’m not counting on it.

        • dwoz says:

          Well, thank you for sharing! It’s proven most useful, in spite of my initial negative reaction. My apologies for that. But since this is someone else’s thread, a treatise on the sadly putrescent and vulgarly puerile mind of otherwise celebrated author VS Naipaul, it would be disrespectful of me to discuss it in detail here, since suicide isn’t really one of the primary themes of her piece. Perhaps I’ll post an essay of my own soon, and you’re welcome to follow me there and discuss further.

        • Chris Roberts says:

          dwoz – I’d like to see an essay by you, post one.

  18. Nathaniel Missildine says:

    See what happens when TNB gets mentioned in Poets and Writers magazine as the kind of literary site that is “always looking for a party…with rowdy conversations.” I only hope one day I can court crazy too.

    But to bring this back to wussiness, I’m glad to read this because I never knew much of Naipaul, the man. I attempted once to keep my eyes open through Bend in the River but couldn’t do it. I always thought it was me, but this is now a small vindication that my instinct was right.

    As someone working every day to be master of the tiny calamities of my house, it’s always a pleasure to read the words of someone brave enough to wrestle her own struggles into words and smart enough to be sentimental.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Nathaniel, thanks. I love “working every day to be master of the tiny calamities of my house,” both as a sentence and an idea. I think I’m going to use it to build a philosophical movement. All credit to you, of course.

      I mean, isn’t that what life is, trying, no matter the outcome, to master one’s tiny calamities?

      It’s easy to write about exciting events; what’s hard is to find the poignance in small things and shedding a light on them. My entire writing life has, I suppose, been spent trying to find the new angle on the small things, since the most exciting and bizarre moments in my life remain, for the most part, unexplored.

      Except for Scrappy the Attack Hobo. I wrote about him.

      • dwoz says:

        What do you aspire to?

        I want nothing more than to fly like a missildine through my life. As above, so below. Manage the little calamities, and the larger magnitude ones will sort themselves.

        • Nathaniel Missildine says:

          Fly, you say? I’m familiar with “wheeze like a missildine” or “reek of desperation like a missildine” but not fly.

          But yes, the little calamities. Once we get a handle on them, we could all probably sit down to learn something from Scrappy the Attack Hobo.

  19. I sat by my father’s bed and then he died.

    Way to rip off Hemingway, Q-Money.

  20. Zara Potts says:

    Quenby – I love your words.
    All of them.
    What was it we said? Stuff the like button – I love it? I love it.
    (and sidenote – the birds are glorious and they sing to me every day – thank you!xxx)

  21. Henning Koch says:

    It’s weird how people have to bring gender into anything. The trouble with Naipaul is he’s an oozing old windbag who once wrote a couple of good books. He won the Nobel Prize and now he thinks he’s a genius.
    He also said: “The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.”
    He should take care…

  22. angela says:

    Quenby, I love this, though I admit I haven’t read the Naipaul interview, knowing that I’ll get my knickers in a twist (how female of me!).

    I’ve read one book of Naipaul’s, A House for Mr. Biswas, which I know intellectually is a literary feat, but as others have already said of Naipaul’s writing, has little heart. If by “sentimental” Naipaul means “not cold,” then sure I’m sentimental up the wazoo, but something can have both warmth and darkness. In fact it’s better if it does.

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