Philcon, Part the Second

Forgive me Father, for it has been nigh on three weeks since I should’ve posted this.

So, in this part of my trip down Philcon memory lane, I’m going to focus on the things I gleaned from Peter S. Beagle’s GOH speech based on my week-old memory of the event, which is fuzzy from the constant squee of that day.

He basically went the “advice to aspiring writers” route.  I had no complaints.  And through his speech, I confirmed that he was yet another example of a writer whose work I admire who has similar views about writing as I.

The main points of his speech were, as I remember them…

“Nobody said anything about ‘inspiration.'”  Artists just go to work, like everyone else.  As his uncle told him, “When the muse is late, start without him.”

He also reminded us of the rule of all freelancers, “If they ask, you can write a song.”

“Show up for work.”  Beagle suggests building a time where no one gets to bug your and you can’t leave.  I suppose however you do that is up to you, but the takeaway is to write on a “murderously regular basis.”

“Enjoy the company of other writers.” Though, he notes, not while you’re writing.

“Live with imperfection.”  Because, basically, you’ll have no choice, no matter how good you are.  He gave us an example of an artist who feels this way, jazz trumpeter Roy Eldridge. (A mutual love of jazz trumpeters can almost fool me into thinking Beagle and I are cut from the same cloth. Anyway…) Eldridge describes the trumpet as “a mean instrument” (Believe me, he’s absolutely right!), where some days you feel as though you’ve mastered the instrument inside and out.  And some days, the trumpet will say, “Hey, the hell with you, man.”

When Beagle has those times, he refers to a sign which he apparently always has above his writing desk that says, “Think, schmuck!”

“Pay no attention to criticism–or praise.”  ‘Nuff said, I think.  This is another oft-repeated piece of advice that’s escaped my notice until recently.

“Nothing you accomplish prepares you for the next one.”  Again, ’nuff said.

“You learn all this stuff by doing it.  And by doing it wrong.”  Say it with me: ‘Nuff said.


Next in the backlog/queue: a quick panel breakdown, ravings about the folks I hung out with, and rantings about the con organization.

2 thoughts on “Philcon, Part the Second”

  1. These points are so important. Writers write. They sit their butts down and work. Some people have a romantic notion of writing–waiting for the muse, overresearching, and believing that thinking about writing is writing–and don't get any writing done.

  2. My work ethic isn't the best even at the best of times. But I have no illusions: Whether I write or not on any given day, at any given moment, is my decision. Period.

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