February 13, 2004

A Dangerous Profession
Frederick Busch

Nice Work If You Can Get It -- In my younger and more vulnerable years, I used to scoff at Truman Capote's line, "When God gives you a gift, he also gives you a whip, and the whip is meant for self-flagellation." I found the statement to be self-absorbed and self-indulgent; Capote at his over-the-top worst. Then I grew older and kept writing ... "Ah," I now find myself saying, "so this is what Capote meant." Frederick Busch has been writing a while longer and producing a lot more than I, and I imagine he, too, could not disagree with Capote's remark. In this collection of essays, Busch examines good writing and bad writing, favorite authors and timeless stories. Mostly, he finds a sensitive, compelling way to write about the hazards of writing: the loneliness, the self-doubt and, yes, not unexpectedly, the self-absorbtion and self-indulgence, too. A must-read if you love reading writers write about writing.


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