Tuesday, December 9, 2014

R. A. Lafferty's Advice On Writing

QUESTION: What thing is most necessary for a young person wishing to become a writer.

ANSWER: A good spoke-shave of matched flint-stones is the most necessary thing for a young person wishing to become a writer. Without a good spoke-shave, there is no way to fashion a good lance. Without a good lance there is no way to kill a grown Wooly Rhinoceros. And really elegant writing can only be done on the shoulder-blade bones of the Wooly Rhinoceros.

Do not cheap-jack it, young people. Do not settle for less than the best. Do not write on the shoulder blades of a cave bear. A cave bear is much easier to kill. It may be killed in its sleep. But what you write on its shoulder blades will lack elegance.

The shoulder blades of the Wooly Puma may be used for writing elegant short poems. And the Wooly Puma is almost as dangerous as the Wooly Rhinoceros to encounter and kill. But its shoulder blades are not big enough to allow longer and more substantial writing.

Do not, in any case, write on a bull's shoulder blades. The inferiority of the writing on such a surface will give you away.

For elegant narration, there is nothing like the shoulder blades of the Wooly Rhinoceros to write on, an obsidian blade set in antler handle to cut the letters into the elegant bone, and "Fat John's Dragon Blood Ink" (he really makes it from Dire Wolf blood) to fill in the notches and cuts for high visibility.

Go first-class in everything you use if you wish to attain distinction.

-- R. A. Lafferty, "Calamities Of The Last Pauper."