Quotes from Fran Lebowitz on Writing

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  • Quotes from Fran Lebowitz on Writing

    My wife and I have just started watching Scorsese's limited docu-series on Fran Lebowtiz. In the second episode, Fran tossed out some observations & opinions on artists; and in particular on writers. I thought it might be interesting, for the sake of discussion, for the community here to chime in with their feelings and take on her thoughts.

    “I knew what talent was because I was very aware of the lack of it in myself.” Fran Lebowtiz

    “Most people who love to write are horrible writers. So of course, they love to write. I love to sing by the way; I’m a horrible singer. So if you love to do something you’re really bad at, that’s not surprising. Here’s the thing. You can do a lot of things that are not good, and there is nothing wrong with doing things ineptly, or badly or horrifyingly. But keep it to yourself. Do not share this. I think people have an obligation to show to the world things that are — not great, most people are not capable of that — but better than most things people show to the world. Now people show every thing.” Fran Lebowtiz

    “The main thing writers need, and painters or any other kind of artist, is talent. And the great thing about talent it’s that it’s the one thing — it’s the only thing I can think of - that is absolutely randomly distributed throughout the population of world. It has nothing to do with anything. You cannot buy it. You cannot learn it. You cannot inherit it. It’s not genetic. It’s sprinkled like sand around the world… It’s probably the reason why so many, especially in this country, are looking for explanations for success of a book — when I say success I mean commercial success — other than talent, because it’s infuriating to people.” Fran Lebowtiz
    Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 01-25-2021, 07:43 AM.
    Will
    Done Deal Pro
    www.donedealpro.com

  • #2
    I came in here expecting Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Oops.

    Anyway, good post. All of that sounds right except her claim that talent isn't heritable. I think that it is to a point, though environment is also a major factor. I guess it's trickier to understand artistic talent than talent related to sports or singing or something.

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    • #3
      This is excellent, Will. I may quote Lebowitz on the screenwriting board -- it supports a topic I think is important to discuss. The ability to assess good writing -- one's own and the work of others.
      Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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      • #4
        Thanks for sharing, Will. Good Stuff. I still remain torn about "Talent" & "Art". Been trying to write something good (not great) for almost two decades now. Now in my early fifties and running out of runway, there've been many a times when I thought about throwing in the towel.

        I knew this person, Mark Desmond, a long time ago. Mark was a failed artist (commercially) and was in his mid-60's at that time. We were having a conversation about art and talent and how some people just don't have it. He told me his story that has stayed with me ever since:

        In the1970's, after being a struggling artist for a few years out of school, Mark Desmond was convinced that he doesn't have that artistic talent and decided to change careers. His girlfriend at that time, convinced him to go with her to Italy for a few weeks. There, he visited museums where early work of artists including, Picasso, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, was curated. Mark was appalled to see such mediocre work by those artists during their earlier years. He came back to the States and continued with his passion. After his trip from Italy, Mark was convinced that most of these artists created memorable work in their later years because they work on creating art every day for years, even if most of their work was crap.

        Here are a few things I firmly believe in (and what keeps me going):

        1. 99% artists have no talent. Not that's required for a sustainable commercial success. This is based on my personal experience and observations.
        2. Video posted by Brian is my bible.
        3. No one knows anything
        4. Luck (right time, right place) plays a pivotal sole in success.

        cheers.

        -- fallen

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