Very Good Paragraphs

From Adam Kirsch’s review of recent books on H.G. Wells in the 17 October 2011 New Yorker:

Wells, who was in the audience at [Henry] James’s fiasco [with Guy Domville] and learned from the experience, had his own, considerably more chipper approach to the literary life. “It scarcely needs criticism to bring home to me that much of my work has been slovenly, haggard and irritated, most of it hurried and inadequately revised, and some of it as white and pasty in its texture as a starch-fed nun,” he admitted. But he was not unduly bothered by this: “I have to overwork, with all the penalties of overworking in loss of grace and finish, to get my work done.” Nor, for that matter, did Wells believe that he had any great gifts to squander. “The brain upon which my experiences have been written is not a particularly good one. If there were brain-shows, as there are cat and dog shows, I doubt if it would get even a third class prize.”

I especially love the way Kirsch has taken three separate quotations (no idea on their textual source) and formed them into a kind of frank logic. And but mostly I love the sentiment. More and more these days the idea of waiting to publish until I think a book is great is like a poison I have to keep from infecting my not particularly good brain. Write a book a year, send it out and about, rejoice in any publication, move on from all rejection and write a new book in the new year. Die if not happy then at least happier.

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