Not so Bizarre habits of writers

100 years ago, this may have been strange. Today?  Welcome to the modern world.

World people called their habits Bizarre. Not likely in 2013.  Have any of you bothered to notice either we are more accepting or we have just got plain weird?

    • Victor Hugo wrote the nude so he wouldn’t be tempted to leave his house.

Nope. Does not work. This is the age of the Internet. We are either naked, half dressed or in our underwear as I write this and you read it. No, you do not need to know which one I am, Rotty. You either Liexo. [Excuse me I need to pull down the blinds now]

    • Demosthenes shaved half his head so that he would be too embarrassed to leave home until his writing was finished.

Have you seen the haircuts today? HAVE you?

    • Honoré de Balzac would down black coffee so he could write for long stretches—often for more than 48 hours at a time. (Hey, what’s weird about that???)

One Word: Starbucks.

    • Ernest Hemingway stood while he met his 500-word-per-day, self-imposed quota. His writing regimen was to be “done by noon and drunk by three.”

Standing 500 words? Two words: Expert Desk  Drunk before 3?  Can you say Business Martini Lunches?  Half the business leaders are crocked by 2 pm.

    • Truman Capote, George Orwell, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Winston Churchill, and Marcel Proust all preferred to write while lying in bed.

Laptop. Voice dictation.

    • Charles Dickens would go for walks (20 miles or so every day) and try to get lost in order to spark his creativity.

I’m sorry but this doesn’t make it even in the time he lived. Unless you owned a horse, you walked. And those that owned horses walked. Nope, should not be on the list. It is only weird in 2013 when you have to get in a car to drive down a 500 foot lane to your mailbox to get your mail.

    • James Joyce felt that it was a productive day if he composed just three sentences. (How would your manager feel about that?)

Most long term Government workers

    • Vladimir Nabokov wrote on index cards in no particular order. One of his books consisted of 2,000 index cards.

Plotting 101. Use index cards to make plot rearranging easy.

    • William Wordsworth would recite his poetry to his dog while taking strolls. If the dog barked or was upset as he read, he would rewrite the draft.

The list of superstitions is way too long to list here.

    • Friedrich Schiller kept a drawerful of rotten apples in his study. His wife claimed that he could not live or work without the awful aroma.

Could have saved money by moving to NYC.

    • Alexandre Dumas could only write poetry on yellow paper, articles on pink paper, and novels on blue paper.

Today we use those post it note things to mark what the pile of papers is about.

    • Edgar Allan Poe’s beloved cat, Catterina, would sit on Poe’s shoulders while he wrote.

Have you tried to keep those buggers off the keyboard?

    • French novelist Colette always plucked fleas from her bulldog until she was ready to write.

Basic housekeeping 101 except now they can keep “write” on picking as they dictate.

    • Gertrude Stein claimed that she wrote best while seated in a parked car.

Air conditioning, Radio, CD player, Sound muffled. And if you have writer’s block you can go to Starbucks for some caffeine. Oh yeah, and a back seat.

    • Agatha Christie wrote while taking baths and eating apples.

Laptops and Dictation programs. And they may never admit to it but eating can be apples, pears, peaches, candy, cupcakes, chex mix and whatever else lends itself to snacking.

    • For many years, Maya Angelou only worked in the plainest of hotel rooms, solely accompanied by a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards, and a bottle of sherry.

Mimialist approach. Today it’s called Darkroom

    • Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road on 120 feet of taped-together paper so that his stream-of-consciousness writing style would not be interrupted by the need to add new sheets of paper to the typewriter.

Word-processing software.

    • John Steinbeck insisted on writing exclusively in pencil. He used over 300 of them to create The Grapes of Wrath.

 Can you count the number of Artsy Fartsy types who simpers, “My muse won’t talk to me unless I use over ripe plum colored crayons to write with.”  and they actually mean that.

    • T.S. Eliot would tint his face green with powder to look like he was dead.

Peel-off Face mask. It goes back to writing naked. Half the people behind their screen look like creatures from the cold cream Lagoon right now.

Weird?  Bizarre?  No weirder than the rest of the very weird human race.

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