Admiring a pro at work

Amazing. Yesterday’s fine September 11 piece by James Lileks was simply something he came up with after he accidentally deleted an earlier effort.

And I had nothing. I just looked at the screen for fifteen minutes. This never happens to me. I can always write something. Doesn’t mean it’s good – but as I’ve said, in this trade you have to write when called upon to do so; it’s how you pay the rent. But I wasn’t being called upon. There wasn’t any deadline. No editor would be annoyed if I didn’t write anything, no paycheck would be cast in jeopardy. I wrote a 9/11 column for Newhouse last week, and wrote about the subject earlier this week. The spleen had been vented. For a few minutes I thought, great: September 11 is turning into an essay-writing contest. Well, count me out.

I had a drink, smoked a third of the tiny evil cigars I favor, then wrote what I posted yesterday. I’m glad I put the piece up, as some folks seemed to like it.

Read the result here. Read today’s essay here.