The Writing Life: Journals, 1975-2005

By George Fetherling

Selected from hundreds of thousands of pages of the day-by-day journals of George Fetherling - the inexhaustible novelist, poet, and cultural commentator - The Writing lifestyles unearths an astute and candid observer of his contemporaries in addition to himself. hundreds of thousands of figures within the arts and public existence crisscross the pages of Fetherling's journals, from Margaret Atwood and Marshall McLuhan, to Gwendolyn MacEwen and Conrad Black. The e-book starts in mid-1970s Toronto, a time of cultural ferment, and incorporates directly to Vancouver and a brand new century. a charming and intimate narrative, The Writing lifestyles presents a compelling portrait of the final 3 many years of Canadian cultural lifestyles. From the booklet: Tuesday four February 1992 / Toronto Early this morning the most recent in a sequence of odd mobilephone calls from Edmund wood worker in ny to debate successive types of his Canadian Notes & Queries piece on Marshall McLuhan. He falls to reminiscing and at one element says: "Marshall constantly jogged my memory of that passage in Boswell within which Boswell says that if you happen to chanced to take preserve from a rain hurricane for a couple of minutes in Dr Johnson's corporation, you'll come away confident that you just had simply met the neatest guy on the planet. Marshall used to be like that too. in fact, if you happen to spent an hour with Marshall, good, that was once anything relatively different."

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Indb 19 2013-02-08 10:48:45 20 The Writing existence with the information was not amazing in the least. His success was made  by other people’s shock at realising the poor fucking bastards were gaining on ’em. (Later, he did go on to prove himself a remarkable writer:  but now the kitchen sink school is passé in Britain, and he is ignored or  ridiculed. ) Now in Oates we have a similar situation. A working-class   woman from Rochester, I believe, who astounded the elite with her presumption (and like Wilson, her hard work). In her case the effect has been  achieved through a body of writing. To hear her talk, to hear the accent  and the earnestness and studiousness with which she undertakes to answer simple questions, to ponder simple issues – this is the tipoff. To me,  it’s also, variously, nostalgic and a bit disconcerting. (Like Wilson, she has  triumphed over what promised to be her early reputation; she’s of course  a far more important writer and artist to say the least, though Wilson has  a decently curious mind. )  sunday, 15 october / toronto I am the reverse of the fifty-year-old businessman of fiction, the one who  suddenly realises that he’s spent his days chasing material success at the  expense of inner peace. I, conversely, have my intellectual, emotional and  spiritual lives in what seem increasingly to be pretty good shape. What I  want now is to be a success. Magazine writing is more and more like acting. Actors get one or two  meaty roles and so acquire names – roles many others could fulfil just as  good. From then on it’s a struggle to get parts that aren’t seen as backsliding into semi-professional status. One seems to develop in this post-starsystem  atmosphere  simply  through  changing into  older,  extra  primary  to  the  viewers. So it is with magazine writing. One gets the occasional assignment with a scrap of flesh on the bones. Between times it’s a lot of fixing,  short pieces, impossible subjects and false diction. The difference is that  this business, being ruled by a few editors and trendies rather than, ultimately, by a democratic audience, sends you up instead of revering you  as an old-timer. tuesday,  17 october / toronto I write this in the elation of fatigue, hoping some sense will still be apparent when I look at the page again in the morning. I am finishing a  marathon rewrite session at 3:30 a. m. It’s dead quiet. 25199_Fetherling. indb 20 2013-02-08 10:48:45 1978 21 Some bright social historians of the future are going to begin defining  the constant tension within pop culture as a continuation of the neverquite-resolved  divergence  of  the  Mods  and  the  Rockers,  taking  their  metaphor from early 1960s London. This difference in cultural outlook  is apparently timeless: one sees it in books about aesthetes between the  wars; one sees it in punk rock now. The latter interests me a great deal  (though not musically, structurally as in the New Wave groups). Rather,  it’s the premise that’s so appealing. Middle-class people were brought up  to believe that working-class kids vomited on stage and wore safety pins  in their noses.

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