of a Writer
'You know, I grew up in a different generation. I grew up after World War II, and boys did different things in those days. You went camping. You went hunting. You boxed. And the image of a writer to someone starting off in those days was not some schmuck who went to graduate school. It was Jack London, Nelson Algren, Ernest Hemingway. Especially coming from Chicago, a writer was a knock-around guy. Someone who got a job as a reporter or drove a cab. I think the reason there are a lot of novels about How Mean My Mother Was To Me and all that shit is because the writers may have learned something called 'technique' but they've neglected to have a life. What the f__k are they going to write about?'
--Playwrite and screenwriter David Mamet, from a recent profile in GQ Magazine. This brilliant riff immediately reminded me of something the writer Mark Winegardner used to joke about during his stint in Cleveland. He once observed that the reason the only dramatic tension to be found in most debut novels is the tension between college roommates is that that's the only tension most 20-somethings had yet encountered in life. You can review earlier mentions of Mamet here and here.