Random Quote: Dinaw Mengestu on writing when tired

I found this great item: 5 writing tips by Dinaw Mengestu in Publishers Weekly. Mengestu is the author of ALL OUR NAMES and has a host of honors and awards.

This is from Tip #4 about growing “less precious” about conditions under which writing happens.

Steal time from the crowded world even if it’s only a few minutes, or a blessed hour. Take being tired and emotionally exhausted as an excuse to take excessive liberties with language, with your imagination.

I am often tired and emotionally exhausted. How wonderful, instead of always bemoaning this fact, to think of it as liberating.

James Salter on finding the best word possible

James Salter, who died last week at 90, was known for his wonderfully precise prose style.

Here is a memorable quote from a Paris Review interview with him:

I’m a frotteur, someone who likes to rub words in his hand, to turn them around and feel them, to wonder if that really is the best word possible. Does that word in this sentence have any electric potential? Does it do anything? Too much electricity will make your reader’s hair frizzy. There’s a question of pacing. You want short sentences and long sentences—well, every writer knows that. You have to develop a certain ease of delivery and make your writing agreeable to read.

You can read the rest of the interview here at the Paris Review. My only warning is that it is full of elegant, thoughtful expression, and glimpses into an entirely enviable writing life. After encountering it, I took several hours to go back to my work, which I felt was entirely frizzy-haired and unagreeable. Such are the hazards of reading author interviews!