Guest contributor: Bill and Dave

Tour de Blog: Bill and Dave Join the Great All-Universe Blog Tour

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

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Bill and Dave were invited to participate in the MY WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR by Dinty W. Moore, a truly remarkable individual (ask him sometime about Paul McCartney’s ashes) who also happens to be a kick-ass writer, and who just happens to be the editor of the first and best online journal, Brevity, which is devoted to short nonfiction.  The Brevity Blog is one of the greatest on earth, though Bill and Dave’s is quite a bit better.  Dinty loves to garden and crack jokes.  His books show greatness and include Between Panic and Desire; The Accidental Buddhist; and The Rose Metal Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction.

Bill’s and Dave’s answers to the four Blog Tour questions follow below, and our nominations come after that:

Question One: What are you guys working on?

BR: Sadly, I’m working on this questionnaire.  Also replacing the sewer line under my kitchen, which stinks.  How about you?

DG: Well, to be honest, I’ve been in photo permission hell for about four months. My new book, All the Wild that Remains, is in part a biography of Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner, which means I have to do all sorts of grown up things I’ve never had to do before like footnotes and photos and an index. Getting back to work on fiction or memoir or some essays or the sewer line under my kitchen seems like a dream.

BR:  It’s kind of fun, especially with the kid up the street helping me.  I couldn’t have dug that trench and found the old ruined pipe myself.  I’ve been working on the pilot script for the HBO multi-year drama-series adaptation of my novel Life Among Giants.  It’s really fascinating, moving those characters into a new medium.  I’ve got a co-writer, who’s a genius, and two production companies, and we have these huge group calls and get great notes and ideas, and make our revisions.  Right now, we’ve finished the first draft of the pilot script and gotten notes, and we’re working on implementing great suggestions.  Also working on a new novel when I can.  And getting ready to tour with The Remedy for Love, which comes out October 14, yikes.

Question two: How does your work differ from others in its genre?

DG: This answer is a judo flip on my first. Because though it’s been somewhat exhausting I am really excited about the book, in part because it really isn’t a biography, or at least not only a biography.  I did the work of a biographer–went to the libraries and did the interviews and all that–but the book is also about my own travels through the American West, and the places that meant so much to Abbey and Stegner, which means that it mixes travel writing and nature writing and personal essay writing and memoir with bio. It’s been challenging to get the mix right, and I couldn’t have done it without my editor, Alane Mason, but its a mix that, whatever else it is, is, I think, uniquely my own.

BR: Plus, of course, it’s the best book ever written. By far.  I don’t know how to answer, as I’m not sure what the genre of my books is, and surely not what the genre of our TV series might be.  The book has elements of mystery, as will the show, but that, to me, is peripheral.  So I’ll say it’s exactly the same as other work in its genre, because it’s sui generis, the book I was able to make at the time I was making it.

Question Three: Why do you write what you do?

DG: Because I read what I read when I was younger. About 5 years ago my wife and daughter and I visited Walden Pond. My daughter was 6 and my wife pointed to the old foundation of Thoreau’s cabin and said “That’s where the man lived who ruined Daddy’s life.”

BR: “A man is a god in ruins,” Emerson said.  I don’t know why I write what I do.  I like putting characters in motion, I guess, and I like watching as they take over…

Question Four: What is your writing process like?

BR: It’s different for every project, really.  Right now, I work in little bursts throughout the day when I get a minute, just sloppily putting together a draft to work on later.  Revision is where all the rock ’n’ roll happens, all my best ideas, all the real fun.  More and more I work late at night.  I draft and and redraft and redraft, moving between the kitchen table and my studio, between standing and sitting, between daydreaming and pure focus.  I count hiking and gardening and skiing and many other things as writing, because as long as I’m alone, I’m doing all the associative thinking that’s required to always be on fire when it comes time to type… ha ha ha.

DG: For a long time I got up at a ridiculously early hour ever day–sometimes as early as 4–so that Bill could call me before he quit writing for the night. The idea was the same as Bill’s late night–to have an island away from the world where the focus could be all on the work. I still do that though my hours have gotten slightly more sane. Another change that has occurred over the eons has been working on multiple projects on multiple burners, letting them feed off each other, while in the old days I was a one-project-for-four-years kind of guy.

For the next stop on the Blog Tour, we nominate Caroline Leavitt, one of our favorite bloggers and novelists.  Her blog is called CarolineLeavittville. Check it out.  She’s the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You, Girls In Trouble, Coming Back To Me, Living Other Lives, Into Thin Air, Family, Jealousies, Lifelines, Meeting Rozzy Halfway.Various titles were optioned for film, translated into different languages, and condensed in magazines. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, New York City’s unofficial sixth borough, with her husband, the writer Jeff Tamarkin, and their son Max, who’s a great actor. Watch her read one of worst all-time reviews here:



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