There are writing manuals... and there are writing manuals. Endless Joke casts a somewhat ironic and satirical eye over the current state of publishing, very much from one independent writer's perspective, but certainly far from a partisan one. It pokes affectionate fun while genuinely wrestling with some of the complications produced in the wake of traditional publishing's seismic changes. But don't be fooled: it somehow manages to be both punk-rock irreverent and devout as a choirboy—while often funny, and at other times filled with the kind of awe that a lifelong love of writing will generate, you will learn much from this book. About lists. About movies. About how to begin a story and how to end one. And ultimately, about how to stay in love with writing amid the flood of new authors marketing their books, upon the new battlegrounds created by the e-publishing revolution. You will laugh. Maybe even cry. And you will enjoy every moment. Except for maybe a couple low points about halfway through.
Even though I still don't think I nail it fully here, this is one of the clearest pieces I've written on why I believe writing is essential. To me, floating out there in abstract land is some kind of equation comprised of the following component parts: communication, imagination and love. And that they somehow add up to why writing is a sacred act. Only I can never fully do the math. Sure, I'm part way there, but I can't help feeling this bedrock Newtonian instinct needs the stellar blast of an Einstein.
It’s all about writing. Which is
essentially communication. Which, in its turn, is how we connect
with our fellow humans. So, it’s about love. Because we can’t love
any one or any thing if we surrender to the awful
void of the world’s loneliness. Isolation is narcissism. When we
magically talk to another, and we get even a portion of our meaning
across, with all its beauty or frustration or uncertainty or
hunger, we are performing the work we once attributed to gods. It’s
alchemical. It’s akin to magic. Love can’t fully happen without it.
I take back what I said earlier: we should never give up writing.
It would be like a bird giving up the air.