Thursday, July 07, 2005

A few things Shelby Foote said

I watched a three-hour interview with Shelby Foote on Book TV this weekend. The interview was shot a couple of years ago at Foote's home in Memphis, TN. I wrote down a few things he said and wanted to share them with you:

He writes with a fountain pen that he dips. Why? "Because it makes me take my time," he said. "I don't want anything mechanical coming between me and the page."

He was asked about his philosophy of the sentence. He said that using different lengths of sentences is more important than we know.

He also read Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust nine times, which is what influenced the way he thinks about sentences.

And he quoted George Lucas: "Talent is always a writer's deviation."

Shelby Foote died last week. He was in his late 80s.


Jordan said...

Good advice from Mr. Foote. Word processors make writing "Cheap". That is to say they make it so easy to correct that one really doesn't have to think it out before writing it - perhaps like this comment.
The same can be said for digital cameras vs the old large format film cameras.

Anonymous said...

Donald Says:

Another great Blog, Barb. I think it is always much better for a writer to think of ways to slow down than speed up, and there is some wisdom there for non-writers too. Shelby Foote is known mostly for his massive Civil War history, but I would recommend his fiction to anyone interested in good prose. September September and Jordan County stand out to me.