Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"When I Was Old: Simenon on Simenon" by Georges Simenon

I'm a fan of the writer's journal.  Basically, nothing really happens in a writer's life, except what's in his or hers head.  Georges Simenon is no different.   This journal takes place in the early 1960s -in fact, it ends in spring 1963.   Simenon is in his late 50s and often his journal writing deals with aging and his life with the family.  What's interesting about him is one, he's close friends with Charlie Chaplin and Henry Miller (all three lunch or have dinner together) and also a friend of Gide and Blaise Cendrars.   

As a writer myself, I'm totally fascinated with a writer's writing schedule.  Simenon wrote hundred of novels in his lifetime and at the time of writing "When I Was Old," he was contracted to write six novels a year.  How can one possibly do something like that?  Also, he had a full family life.  A wife, young children, and then occasionally having sex with four women in one night.  Which doesn't seem to be that much of a big deal for this busy writer.  Still, he suffers from depression, has strong doubts and thoughts about his daily take of alcohol.  Very much the normal Joe, except he can write six novels a year, and most, are pretty good books.  

Early this year I read John Cheever's journal, which is very similar to Simenon's book.  Both are into self-examing their purpose in life and their art.  And real life enters the picture with respect to drinking, love, and family.  And both were successful writers at the time of their common journals.   I recommend this book to anyone who is writing or having trouble sitting down and getting the work done.  Simenon was a very disciplined writer and had his life organized pretty well.   Which makes him sound dull, but believe me, he's not a dull man whatsoever. 

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