Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mistake-Making

"I happen to be an unparalleled authority on the subject of failure, both through scholarship and experience--though I recommend the latter, as I believe gaining failure 'in the field' is superior to passively acquiring failure from books."


Augusten Burroughs, "How to Write How-To," New York Times Book Review, July 29, 2012.





How could one possibly advise about "how to" without knowing some the mistakes that will confront fellow travelers, whether baking, living, or writing. And knowing the heart-stopping, mind-wrenching process of dealing with one's own mistakes can only happen out in the world. Reading about mistakes can be misleading because sometimes, in the clarity of retrospect, honest efforts look like foolish blunders. Of course, some of them are. Burroughs also brought to mind how writers of all stripes lead a full life of confronting mistakes and trying to make improvements -- the wonderful world of editing. And one is frequently confronted by having to cut out what one love's best.

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