Steve Martin is one of those comedians I can take or leave. Usually, I leave him. He always seems just a little too pleased with himself. And he was in Dirty Rotten Scroundels. Nevertheless, he has his moments and here's one of them. Writing is Easy! is one of the columns Martin wrote for the New Yorker (you can read more at The Compleat Steve). He explains just how easy writing actually is and how much better it comes out if you do it in California:
I feel sorry for writers - and there are some pretty famous ones - who live in places like South America and Czechoslovakia, where I imagine it gets pretty dank. These writers are easy to spot. Their books are often filled with disease and negativity. If you're going to write about disease, I would say California is the place to do it. Dwarfism is never funny but look at what happened when it was dealt with in California. Seven happy dwarfs.
He goes on
I took the following passage, which was no doubt written in some depressing place, and attempted to rewrite it under the sunny influence of California:
"Most people deceive themselves with a pair of faiths: they believe in eternal memory (of people, things, deeds, nations) and in redressibility (of deeds, mistakes, sins, wrongs). Both are false faiths. In reality the opposite is true: everything will be forgotten and nothing will be redressed." - Milan Kundera.
Sitting in my garden, watching the bees glide from flower to flower, I let the above paragraph filter through my mind. The following New Paragraph emerged:
"I feel pretty,
"Oh so pretty,
"I feel pretty, and witty, and bright."
Kundera was just too wordy. Sometimes the delete key is your best friend.