I first saw this video clip many years ago – I believe I was in junior high at the time. I knew about Jacob Two-Two of course, but I hadn’t read any of Mordecai Richler’s other works. I remember being fascinated by the writing room, by his description of the writing life and by the man himself.
I was writing short stories by then, but never dreamed that it could be a career. Being an author was something someone else did – someone eccentric and brilliant, living in a far-away, exotic land. (Yes, for the 12-year-old me, Montreal was both far-away and exotic. Hell, anything beyond the overpass was far-away and exotic.)
Fast-forward thirty years and here I am … writing my first book. My office is much like Mr. Richler’s – a little smaller and with less paper (doubtless that will change if my daughter ever stops using old chapter drafts for her papier-mâché or latest pastel drawing). My hair is (sometimes) neater, and I compulsively rewrite every paragraph until it shines.
I used to fret that I was doing this “author thing” wrong … going too slowly, not writing the chapters in sequence, endlessly rewriting … and who knows, maybe I am. But hey, it worked for Mordecai Richler.