So last night I’m sitting out on the front stoop (god help me, I’m becoming a stoop guy), reading Charles Bukowski’s The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, and I come across this: “The world can live much easier without writing than without plumbing.”
Again — the mysterious connection between writing and plumbing!
I’ve written about this before in “Why We Write” and “Again, the Plumber.” Especially when people start debating “what makes one a writer” — is it someone who writes every day, or every other day, or once a week, or only when their muse moves them? — I can’t help it, I think about it in terms of plumbing. I giggle at the prospect of a plumber waving his hands in front of him and shaking his head no, saying, “Oh, I don’t feel like unstopping that toilet today. Maybe tomorrow… but only if I feel really motivated to unstop a toilet.” Or, “I’m sorry, but I really need a certain amount of downtime to allow myself to get re-inspired before I snake another drain.” And, “Well, I installed a faucet and sink once, about five years ago, but, yeah, I’m a plumber.”
“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”
So sayeth E.L. Doctorow*, and I agreeth with him.
*Not a plumber.