Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nazi Internment Camps and Writer's Block...

I've always liked P. G. Wodehouse, and this is a fun review of a poor book about him. There are worse things that could be said about one than

"Talent + a work ethic that would kill an ox + a sunny temperament free of the tendency to fuck up your own life with a lot of bogus self-dramatizing crap = a fair shot at the kind of success that gets you the whole world."

"Wodehouse found himself, at 59, an internee at a series of Nazi camps, along with all the other ensnared male residents under the age of sixty. His reaction was typical of him: he kept writing. He finished Money in the Bank and outlined his new Blandings Castle novel, Full Moon. He entertained his fellow internees with short stories about camp life that he planned to publish one day in a volume to be entitled Wodehouse in Wonderland. For nine months, with no idea what his own fate would be-trucked from camp to camp-wasting away on a diet of watery cabbage soup and the occasional potato-worrying about what had become of his wife and parrot and Pekingese dog Wonder after their forced separation-cut off from any news of the rest of the world-Wodehouse kept writing. Fellow internees cracked up and attempted suicide but, after helping haul them away from the window ledge, Wodehouse kept writing. Perhaps you're not a writer, or don't know any writers, so you might not quite understand the significance of this fact. Writing, for most writers, is hard. Even at the best of times you'll make any excuse to stop writing. A sore throat, a mildly annoying e-mail, a broken dishwasher, almost anything can provide the rationale for why you can't write anymore that day. Internment in a Nazi camp would be sufficient excuse for most writers to take a break for, say, the rest of their lives. But not Wodehouse. He was a writing Titan."

That's Nazis twice in a row, something non political tomorrow.

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