It’s ironic that at age 32, at probably the greatest moment of my career, with The Godfather having such an enormous success, I wasn’t even aware of it, because I was somewhere else under the deadline again. —Francis Ford Coppola
If you’re a writer, your life and work will be cut up in deadlines. DEADLINES! Like having a 100,000 word creative essay due for your English class…several times a year. Or just once. Or if you’re me, five. Maybe six times. ::cue crazy laughter:: Anyway, we won’t get into my problems with deadlines, except to say that I try my best. I really do. And it’s not funny—especially when I’ve got the caffeine drip in my mouth and my body spontaneously erupts with flu-like symptoms, and my hair transforms into the tangled nesting grounds of small furry rodents—Ew! Ew!
But this, from Kristopher Reiz’s blog, made me laugh:
Me: This new deadline�s awful. I had to get up at nine this morning and was working until, like, five.
Sean: Wow. That�s . . . That�s actually like having a regular job.
Me: I know! That�s my point!
Sean: I work 9 to 5 everyday. Most people do. Plus, I have an hour and a half commute.
Me: Sure, yeah. But with even putting that much time in, my workload is grueling. I had to start typing with both hands.
Sean: You don�t type with both hands usually?
Me: Usually, I type with one hand while daintily nibbling a moonpie with the other. But now I have to type with both hands. So how do I eat my moonpie, Sean? How do I eat my moonpie!?
Me: And, I mean, there�s like zero chance of me getting a nap in the middle of the day. I might as well not even be wearing my pajamas right now.
Sean: Go to Hell. [click]
Me: Hello? Hello?
Anyway, Soul Song revisions are due next week. Amiri’s book is due next month. A short story for My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon is also due next month. But I love this job! I love it! And that’s not fake sincerity, by the way – I really mean it.
If any of you need deadline inspiration, here are some quotes:
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. —T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 1926
All of the muscles were gone, so that was a real tough time of rebuilding all of that. But you have a deadline, you have an obligation. You’ve said that you will commit to this part, and I just can’t live with myself for not really giving it as much as I can. —Christian Bale
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. —Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. —Douglas Adams
If I’m right in the middle of a deadline, I’m up really early. —Marilu Henner
And here, an article from the NY Times: A Princeton lab on ESP is finally closing its doors. Here, too, is a new website devoted to one of my favorite writers, Zora Neale Huston.
This other interesting NY Times Article is about Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, whose life and liberty have been threatened because of her work (she was tried in court and acquitted of “insulting Turkishness” through characters in her novel):
“A writer is always more than a writer in Turkey, much more so than in America,” Ms. Shafak said, wisps of auburn hair framing her rounded cheekbones. “We don�t discuss the writing, but we discuss the writer herself. Eventually, every writer has to face the question � are you ready to be a public intellectual?”
Or charged of crimes? Ready to risk your life for what you write? Would you still be a writer under those conditions? Or would the stories you tell change?