Patty Yumi Cottrell Recommends...

“‘Everything will be very simple,’ wrote Thomas Bernhard in a letter to his publisher, ‘so long as we remember to service our complicated, our enormously complicated (mental) apparatus.’ It’s possible when Bernhard wrote about servicing the mental apparatus what he meant was to stop writing and to water the plants or walk up a steep hill or cook a meal for a friend or clean the house. There is garbage on the ground and in my thoughts. It needs to be picked up and thrown away properly. One thing I say to myself when I am struggling is that the purest, most lucid form of writing cannot be rushed or forced or dictated by the pressures of publishing. Most of the writers I admire are dead; their judgments from various graves pervade my practice. That is how I live. I am failing every day. Remember to service the mental apparatus. I need to take a lot of walks—because I’m certain my favorite dead writers took writing so seriously they walked much more frequently than they wrote. It’s something any human can draw inspiration from: less writing, more walking.”
—Patty Yumi Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace (McSweeney’s, 2017)