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Churchill was amazing in his output and the quality of his thought. It's difficult to contemplate the level of his output in context of how busy he was with politics and his other pursuits. I don't think he slept much. I recall reading somewhere that he habitually cat-napped through the night. He would bounce awake at any hour and require his aides to get up as well. They don't make 'em like they used to, and they don't write 'em like they used to as well.
 

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Ian Fraser said:
The brandy-soaked Churchill had some good quotes, but he's hardly a shining example to writers. He was also an Imperialist in the true sense, doing everything possible to hang onto England's colonies, without any interest in what the oppressed people thought about it.
A creative of high quality and high output is not a good example to other creatives due to his politics? That's a problematic road to go down.

John Steinbeck--only a good example for socialists
Carl Hiassen--only a good example for environmentalists
Maxim Gorky--only a good example for communists
Leni Riefenstahl--only a good example for national socialists
Orson Scott Card--only a good example for conservatives
Richard Wagner--only a good example for socialists and anti-Semites
Louis Aragon--only a good example for communists
Jorge Luis Borges--not a good example for communists, socialists, and Peronistas
Dalton Trumbo--only a good example for communists
Lillian Hellman--only a good example for communists
James Cameron--only a good example for nut cases
CS Lewis--only a good example for conservative christians

The list is theoretically endless. We could slice and dice until the cows come home. Excellence is excellence, and I have to give kudos to whomever does a good job, regardless of politics or religion or weird personal points of view. I once worked on a James Taylor documentary for Scottish TV. Concert at a little castle out in the middle of nowhere. The guy is goofier than a basket of tie-dyed Twinkies, but I would pay huge money to take guitar lessons from him.
 

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T.L. Haddix said:
Love this description. Just had to say that.
Thanks! He was seriously goofy. The whole time I was thinking, stop talking and just sing!

folly said:
I have a brother named James with down's syndrome. He LOVES JT. I mean like nobody's business. we had to go hunting last week for a greatest hits cd b/c he wore out the last one. I can't tell you how many he has bought. so it's funny that you mention him :)
I'm with him. JT's music is amazing. Definitely a rare and talented musician.

While I respect DW Smith in many ways, I think he's almost entirely wrong with his idea that one should publish first drafts and forego polishing. Yeah, you might find a few individual cases where this works to the better, but I think it's safe to say the vast majority of stories need revision. Perhaps his school of thought stems from modern society's lack of patience? We're instant, microwave people these days. We demand fulfillment downloaded at screamingly fast speeds or delivered Next-Day Air. That mindset doesn't square comfortably with slogging through editing and revising and polishing.
 

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T.L. Haddix said:
This worries me with regards to the future, not just for writers, but for society in general. A lot of our master craftsmen are being lost. The new generations aren't interested in learning the crafts, because they take time, both to learn and to perform. People, at least in this country, are becoming so impatient, they're willing to settle for less in order to get it sooner. Also, they're being taught that unless your chosen career is to be a doctor or a lawyer or something equally prestigious, then you are equivalent to the guy working at McDonald's. Without going into the political arena, I can't say much more, but it's a very real problem that's only going to get worse in the future. The long and short of it is that we'd better start learning to do for ourselves, because the people who do for us - the little stuff that no one really thinks about - is a dying skill set.

Same thing applies in writing. Look at Arkali's thread about Indies not being the only recipients of one-star reviews for obscure reasons. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,137088.0.html We're moving away from literary fiction to an alarming degree, and moving toward books made entirely of texting speech, incorrectly used words, and just plain dumb writing. Now, I'm not advocating everyone pick up a 150-year-old dictionary and start trying to emulate Bram Stoker or Mark Twain to preserve the language. But this new trend to publish whatever crap you want and make a million dollars (or however many millions people like E. L. James has made) scares me. It also makes me angry. Those of us who do actually give a dang if we put a quality piece of work out there are losing big time to people who don't care. That's very frustrating. The message is very simply that hard work doesn't pay off anymore.

There is a book climbing the YA charts now that is Mystery Science Theater 3000 worthy. Not in a good way. I won't name it, but it's pretty big and growing. Books like that make me question why in the world I even bother with editing and beta reading. I will continue to do so, because I'm constitutionally unable to put crap out there and put my name on it, but it stings every time I see a new title pop up that is the "bestest book ev-ur wroted." Call it sour grapes if you want, but that's my two cents.
It's not that crazy Tolkien fellow, is it? That guy is such a talentless hack. Just kidding, in case that went over anyone's head.

Yeah, I hear you on the loss of craft. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal some time back about the disappearing craftsman in America. One of the focuses of the article was the art of making extremely fine gears. Kind of an invisible thing in terms of society, but vital to so many industries and products. The makers are becoming a dying breed. I guess it's not that sexy to make little gears.

Whether it's a story or a gear or a proper loaf of French bread, there's a beauty in the making if it's done right. And, usually, that sort of thing takes a lot of time to learn.
 
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