Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Thoughts from a freelancer.

Perhaps his most famous book. About so much more than boxing.
One of the people that people no longer read is A.J. Liebling, the great "New Yorker" writer, who toiled for that magazine for 28 years, until he died in 1963.

I don't know why people don't read Liebling anymore. I think I've learned more about writing from he and Joseph Mitchell than from just about anyone. If you ever feel the desire to read crisp, clear, precise and biting prose, look Liebling up. You won't be let down.

What's more, Liebling wrote essays which I reckon most people could polish off in about 20 minutes. In other words, you can read a genius for the price of a sitcom or an episode of reality TV.

Liebling wrote about the little people, the forgotten people, the fringe people. And also some of the best books on boxing ever written. And the best books about horse-racing, crime, politics, Paris and food. He never fails to land a body blow or to hand you a laugh, sometimes in the same essay.

Liebling once said "I can write faster than anyone who can write better, and I can write better than anyone who can write faster."

I think that might be an apt epigram for me, too, as I finished up last night a week's work in a day.

I'm still learning the freelancer ropes.

I suppose I should pace myself more.

But what I've found thus far is this: a lot of times you're told to write an ad that's due at 1. You better have it done. It better be good. And it's not a bad thing to present four or six ideas that get people's wheels turning.

Despite what some long-time and successful freelancers gush about, I'm not sure the caprice of freelancing suits my cosmology.

I do like the inclemency of deadlines.

But I like a little security with my pressure.

For now however, I'll waft into Memorial Day weekend without a whole helluva lot to do.

Except maybe I'll read a little A.J. Liebling.

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