Lamar Herrin has a new novel coming out Nov 12th, 2013. He was kind enough to answer some questions.
What’s your favorite method of procrastination?
I’m not sure I have “a method of procrastination.” The older I get the more time I seem to take between novels, or to use a favorite cliché among writers, the more time it takes my well to fill up. I love to sit and watch people pass by. If I’m in Spain, say, that is a constant source of theater, and I never get bored. In small town USA, though, you’ve got to find the right coffee shop or café on the right day and then hope enough people are out of their cars and down on foot. But that’s not procrastination. That is simply being receptive to the whole human comedy, telling yourself it will serve you well later on. Having played a number of sports (basketball, tennis, golf, and especially baseball, which, like my father, I once aspired to play professionally), I tend to sit in front of the television too long, cursing certain obscenely overpaid players even as I cheer them on. But procrastinate, procrastinate? Fishing? I occasionally like to fish. But a case could be made that that is a way of plumbing the depths in “a cold and passionate dawn” (a Yeats’ phrase) and hardly counts as procrastination. Answering this question at such length instead of getting down to the writing that counts might be seen as a form of procrastination, but not by me. No, I’m afraid I’m not much of a procrastinator.
Describe your writing routine: any quirks or superstitions?
No superstitions. My routine is very much a routine. If I’m not teaching and the time is mine, I do more or less what I recall Amos Oz saying that he did. He was like a humble shopkeeper, he said. He opened the shop at 9 a.m. He sat behind his counter, before a wall of perhaps tarnished or dusty merchandise (I have an image of a one-man Spanish grocery in mind), and if anyone came in and wanted to buy he was there to serve him. At 2 p.m. he closed up shop for the day. But for those five hours he doggedly sat there and waited and waited for his customer, for something to occur. I used to tell my writing students it was necessary to de-romanticize the writing practice. Mulishness (to change animals) would pay off in the end. You had to have faith and perseverance. One hour frequently would redeem four hours of apparent inactivity. Keep the faith and be a dogged mule.