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Monster In A Box: What ‘Wonder Boys’ Says About The Writing Process

By Yasmina Tawil

By Daniel Carlson
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“A picture used to be a sum of additions. In my case a picture is a sum of destructions. I do a picture—then I destroy it. In the end though, nothing is lost: the red I took away from one place turns up somewhere else.” — Pablo Picasso

Writing is boring. Not the act itself—actually doing it can be exhilarating, your head “vibrant with the static of unelaborated thought,” as Philip Roth once described the onset of the creative process. No, it’s watching someone write that’s boring. Next time you see someone in your office crafting an email, look at the way they just kind of stare at nothing for a while, then peck at keys, then shrug and repeat the whole thing before hitting Send and going to the bathroom. It’s always like that. Half of writing is just looking off into space, trying to get ideas to come to you, which is pretty challenging to dramatize on screen. You’re watching someone think, which means you’re trying to watch something invisible.

 

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