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December 09, 2004


Speaking of authors and work, George Plimton's interview with Papa in the Paris Review (it's upstairs and I'm downstairs and can't remember the issue number or date) is a great study in how Hemingway put it down every day.

Thanks for your own good work. This stuff is interesting.

You should add George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright (and about a dozen other specialties) 1856-1950. Here are the gists of two pertinent quasi-quotes:

Shaw was once asked how he constructed his plays. He replied, "My plays are no more constructed than a carrot is constructed. My method is to hear the first part of a conversation in my head. Then I listen to someone else replying to the first statement. Soon this imaginary dialogue continues until I can flesh the conversationalists out with actual names and characteristics"...ëtc.

Once when asked what one of his plays meant Shaw replied, "How should I know? I'm only the author!" (See above.)

Thus Shaw considered himself somewhat of a medium receiving messages from somewhere when it came to creating his works, as opposed to someone who laid out a plot in advance. He called the latter procedure "Sardoodledom," satirically named after his contemporary playwright, the Frenchman Victorien Sardou, translations of whose plays were popular on the London stage at that time.

(Isidor Saslav, member International Shaw Society)

This is very interesting because we usually think that art's expressions are extensions of the author's hearts, when, actually, they aren't and they shouldn't be. An artist is a sort of channel and his mission is to communicate what those voices - the voices of art - are telling to him. Is all about attention and hard work rather than inspiration.

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