Thursday, May 15, 2008

Working Just For Fun

Kartnerstrasse, Vienna 2008

Sunday night on Vienna's main pedestrian street was pure entertainment. The shops weren't open on Sunday, but parents carrying babies, intertwined sweethearts, flocks of teenagers, old folks, homeless people and society's finest could be found strolling downtown. Artists and musicians of every description gave buskers new credibility. They were working hard just for the fun of it.

Musical Glasses

Classical music was everywhere. An opera diva, dressed in her finery, stood on a bench and reached all the high notes. The crystal glasses on the next corner were in danger of shattering! A musician dipped his fingertips in water and rubbed the tops of the glasses (which were filled to various levels) and played a Strauss waltz. Down the way a pianist in a tuxedo played a concerto for an appreciative crowd.

Are you from Dixie??

This little band played Dixieland style. It's polite to drop a few coins in the banjo case when you stop to listen, or take a photo.

Street Theater, Vienna 2008

A German speaking marionette told jokes, sang and danced. None of these entertainers could do this for a living. One could be employed as a chef, another as a taxi driver, another as a kindergarten teacher. But they were all talented and obviously in need of someone to enjoy their work with them.

Do you ever work just for fun? I could be a busker. I set up my little talent show every night on my blog, just like a guitar player finds a place in a subway station. It's fun to have someone on the other side of my efforts.

Gail Sher wrote a book called One Continuous Mistake, Four Noble Truths for Writers.
She has a chapter called A Writing Habit. Speaking of Ralph Waldo Emerson, she said, "He wrote constantly, he wrote about everything, he covered hundreds of pages. When he had nothing to say, he wrote about having nothing to say. He read and indexed and reread what he had written. He copied letters into his journals and prose from his journals into his letters."

I've got a serious writing habit. I can do it in some form all day long. I'm thinking about what I'll write, getting stuff done so I can write, or reading about ways to write. I work hard, don't earn a dime, and it's totally fun!

What are you obsessed with? Is your work fun?

A few weeks ago someone asked if I'd tell how I study writing. Here's a list of some of my resources.

Blogs About Writing:

A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye

Write Your Life

Memory Writers

Books About Writing:

Writing the Memoir by Judith Barrington

Mastering Online Research by Maura D. Shaw

The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

The English Language by David Crystal

Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman

Write Right by Jan Venolia

The Art of Column Writing by Suzette Martinez Standring

Spunk and Bite by Arthur Plotnik

Online Writing Courses:

Gotham Writers Workshop

Writers Online Workshops

Have fun!


Lillie Ammann said...

I'm honored to have my blog included in your list of resources to learn about writing. Thank you.

Christie said...

Those are some great references. Can't wait to check them out!

kenju said...

My work with flowers is always fun, except those times when I am forced to be in the sun with no sunblock or hat for six hours straight.....LOL

Arthur Plotnik said...

Thanks, Oma, for including my SPUNK & BITE in that illustrious group of writing books. But Vienna---ah, Vienna. Bill Bryson said that if aliens landed in Vienna they'd think they were in the capital of the universe. I hope you got to visit the Freud museum, where you can stand in the very room where patients were psychoanalyzed, feeling your own repressed traumas about to explode through the tall windows into the Bergstrasse.
Best wishes to you and your blogmates.

Sheri said...

Your study of writing has paid off. You are a terrific writer. Please write a book on tips and ideas from Grandmas--you are so creative--I think a book like that would be a best seller.

Beck said...

I found your blog throgh my sis-in-law Tina's blog, and I've been reading off and on for a while now. I just wanted to tell you that I love your ability to provoke feeling and a sense of "being there" in your unique writing style. It makes me want to try harder to be a better blogger...Maybe when I don't have a rambunctious 18-month-old to chase around the house... :)

Suzette Standring said...

Thank you! I was so pleased to find my book, The Art of Column Writing, listed with your other wonderful resources. I just heard that my book was picked up as required reading by DePaul University and the University of Southern Maine. So being on your blog was another great surprise. Keep writing!

They call me Annie said...

Thanks for the syllabus! I've been looking for a good summer reading list--since I've already finished all the Nancy Drew Mysteries.

Bev said...

Marty, thank you for posting this -- right now it feels like it was just for me (an answer found in unexpected places is alway a good thing)