Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Asimov PP 4/1990: Worlds in Order

I'm going through Isaac Asimov's F&SF essays in reverse order by date to share the Personal Paragraphs with which he invariably opened each essay.

Another long PP (in his later essays he did go on and on...) of which I'll share just the beginning:

"I was at a small science fiction convention here in Manhattan a month ago, as I write this, and I was accosted by a young writer. The following conversation took place:

WRITER: Dr. Asimov, I've been trying to write for a number of years and I've managed to sell a couple of items.

ASIMOV: Congratulations! I'm happy to hear it. Keep it up.

WRITER: I've used you as my model. I've read a lot about you and I thought that I would try to write the way you do. Easily. Copiously. All that sort of stuff.

ASIMOV: (cautiously) And have you managed it?

WRITER: No, I haven't. I have to keep thinking about what I write, and more thinking. And rewriting. And starting over. And getting stuck for periods of time.

ASIMOV (uneasily): I'm sorry

WRITER: (perceptibly angrier) I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. So I talked to other writers, and I found they all have the same trouble. Just like me. There's nothing wrong with me.

ASIMOV (relieved): I'm sure there isn't.

WRITER: (pointing his finger in a controlled fury): But I'll tell you what. There is something seriously wrong with you!

ASIMOV (wincing): If you had consulted me in the matter, I'd have told you that to begin with. (But he turned and stamped away).

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