Tuesday, April 10, 2007

"Juggling Chainsaws" (Continued)

From the bloodied desk of Paul "Chainsaw" Levine

I loved Patty Smiley's post yesterday.

Juggling chainsaws is a dead-on metaphor for the sleight-of-hand and sorcery we either pull off or bloody ourselves trying. All of which raises the classic question for writers. What gives you pleasure? Juggling? Or having juggled?

I am reminded of the thematic scene in "A League of Their Own." Star player Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) wants to quit the team. Her manager Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) argues with her.
Jimmy: Baseball is what gets inside you. It's what lights you up, you can't deny that.

Dottie: It just got too hard.

Jimmy: It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.

Doesn't that also apply to writing?

Not that my scribbling compaƱeros and compaƱeras are looking for sympathy. Or that we'll get it.

About 15 years ago, while living in Miami, I wanted to buy a house. My real estate broker found something in Coconut Grove that looked interesting. The seller's broker asked when I could come see the house, and my broker replied: "Oh, Paul can come anytime. He doesn't work. He's a writer."

Right. Just how hard can it be?

"Writing is easy," said Red Smith, the legendary sports writer. "All you do is sit at the typewriter until drops of blood appear on your forehead."

And a good day to my fellow dues-payers...



  1. I'm going through a tough time right now.

    For ten years I had a great part time gig with a small design firm. It paid enough so that I could spend half my day writing.

    But they lost their one big client and I was laid off. For the first time in a long time, I'm back to working a ten hour day. Where once I wrote 1000 words a day, now I'm lucky if I do 1500 in a week. I've had to quit my writers' group because I can't read the submissions and give a decent critique. I used to read a novel a week and now it takes six weeks. I'm exhausted.

    But, I know I'm not alone. And I love to write so much that I'm still plugging away. After my family, it's my first priority.

    Is it hard? You bet. Is it worth it? Oh yeah.

  2. Congratulations Paul! In finding a way to incorporate that animated cartoon into your post you've joined the ranks of our resident techno genius Cornelia. I am SO impressed.

    David, you have the right 'tude. Write on!

  3. Did I say writing was actually not like juggling chainsaws because chainsaws are predictable, and that it was more like juggling wolverines?

    I was wrong.

    Sometimes the wolverines juggle you.

  4. I'll have to stick with chainsaws, James. Wolverines are too warm and fuzzy. Besides we have that whole Michigan thing to consider.

  5. Good follow up.

    I often steal a line from a League of there Own.

    When someone cries during an arrest we always say, "There is no crying here. You're a criminal. YOu hurt others. You don't get to cry."

    It does make you feel better.


  6. When someone cries during an arrest...

    What Jim means is, when someone else cries during an arrest.

    Jim's a weeper. Mr. Waterworks. Senor Lagrima.

    I thought you all knew that.

  7. All right, Patty. Juggling hammerhead sharks, then.

    Manly men aren't afraid to cry, except over pain or anything sentimental. But it is perfectly OK to cry into your beer.

  8. I always thought "Dirty Jimmy" Born stole Clint Eastwood's line:

    "I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"