Wednesday, July 21, 2010

T. S. Eliot critiques my manuscript

So, Tom, I've been working along here on this manuscript pretty intensively. When you said my argument was like nothing you had seen before, did you mean that it was brilliant and original?

“That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

But the prose is good, right? After so many drafts, isn't the language in the introduction pretty clear?

By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept...

Well, maybe it could use another draft. Once I get this next part done, it'll be ready to go, though, won't it?

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions

Oh, all right. But don't you think I should get out a little more? I have no conversation any more because all I do is sit and type or stare at the screen.

The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.

Yep, that's my life, all right. Wouldn't it be better if I went to campus and saw some people for a change?

Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time

Maybe not. So tell me, is this process of writing going to get any easier?

Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.

Sorry I asked, but thanks for the advice.


Sisyphus said...

Don't listen to ol' Tom!!!!!! After all, he was nothin' until Ezra took the hatchet to his manuscript and unfinished it!

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

It might be time for some Walt Whitman. Celebrate and sing yourself.

undine said...

I think Ezra would take a bigger hatchet to mine, Sisyphus!

Dame Eleanor, I"m going to invite Walt to celebrate my prose for a change. TSE isn't doing me much good.

Ink said...

Loved this post. I agree with Dame Eleanor, too.

undine said...

Thanks, Ink!