My Grandfather was fond of giving advice, to everyone, everywhere regardless of whether they wanted to hear it. I used to do the same thing and for the same reason. I always thought it silly for people to make the same mistakes I made, if they could avoid the pitfalls I fell into -they should by all means avoid them! But, I’ve learned that advice is not always welcome and people sometimes think you’ve made mistakes they would never make because they are so frigging perfect. I am so far from perfect, I hesitate to breathe their air.
My favorite memory of my Grandfather’s efforts was an exchange we had on the way to my first husband’s funeral. I am surprised I remember it, since so much of that time was lost to my fugue state.
Listen, I want you to take up golf. I brought you your grandmother’s golf clubs. Now, here’s what you do: listen to what everyone says and try it once. If it works for you, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, for God’s sake, don’t do what your Grandmother does and keep doing it! Er, um, that goes the same for life. Then, he slipped me a handful of cash, not a crazy amount but a few hundred dollars. He whispered for me to use it for something nice and I wasn’t to use it on medical bills!
I never played golf and the golf clubs were stolen from my condo’s storage locker in Boston. My husband’s roommates sold them for party drugs, that was long before he became my boyfriend and a decade before he became my second husband.
So, the golf advice is good, whether you use it for golf or life. I was reading other writer’s advice and was intrigued by Henry Miller’s Program, which is close to mine, so I can’t be totally screwed up!
If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.
If in fine fettle, write.
Work of section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.
See friends. Read in cafés.
Explore unfamiliar sections — on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry.
Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program.
Paint if empty or tired.
Make Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.
Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.
More Tips from More Writer’s: