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Page Fright: Foibles and Fetishes of Famous Writersby Harry Bruce
Synopses & Reviews
A witty round-up of writers' habits that includes all the big names, such as Dickens, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Hemingway
At public events readers always ask writers how they write. The process fascinates them. Now they have a very witty book that ranges around the world and throughout history to answer their questions. All the great writers are here — Dickens, dashing off his work; Henry James dictating it; Flaubert shouting each word aloud in the garden; Hemingway at work in cafés with his pencil. But pencil or pen, trusty typewriter or computer, they all have their advocates. Not to mention the writers who can only keep the words flowing by writing naked, or while walking or listening to music — and generally obeying the most bizarre superstitions.
On Shakespeare’s works: “Fantastic. And it was all done with a feather!” — Sam Goldwyn
“I write nude, seated on a thick towel, and perhaps with a second towel around me.” — Paul West
“I’ve never heard of anyone getting plumber’s block, or traffic cop’s block.” — Allan Gurganus
“I’m a drinker with a writing problem.” — Brendan Behan
Harry Bruce, a Halifax-based author of many books, has been gathering these stories all of his life.
Table of Contents
1 "Speaking to the Eyes": Beginnings
2 The Feather Is Mightier Than the Sword
3 Inkwells, Steel Nibs, Billions of Ballpoints
4 The Properly Pointed, Perfectly Portable Pencil
5 The Long Reign of Longhand
6 "First, I Write by Hand. . . ."
7 The Almighty Typewriter. Can You Hear the Rhythm?
8 Hail the Conquering Word Processor
9 Pins, Paste, Scissors, Recorders. The Right Paper, Please
10 Out of Their Mouths Popped Literature
11 Keep Out! Writer at Work
12 To Hide Out, or Greet Life
13 Panoramas, Bare Walls, Strange Habits
14 While Working on It, Shut Up About It. Or Don't
15 They Wrote Lying Down, Standing Up, Stark Naked
16 Horror Rolls in, "Like Some Poisonous Fogbank"
18 "I'm a Drinker With a Writing Problem"
19 The Wrong Stuff
20 Walking the Walk, and Other Steps to Creation
21 Burning Kisses, Animal Magnetism
22 The Daily and Nightly Grind
23 "And How I Get There Is God's Grace"
24 "We Are Only Telephone Wires"
25 What's Worse Than Writing? NotWriting
26 From the Great French Hunter of "le Mot Juste": le Mot Dernier
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