Immortalizing R.H.

Give me your interpretation of this quote, please*

I’ve been reading “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein. I don’t call it ‘re-reading’ because it’s actually the first time I’m reading it in its original english version and, even more, the complete uncensored text. (“The earlier edition contained a few words over 160,000, while this one runs around 220,000 words.”)

If you read my About the Author’s page, you’ll find out that this book is very special to me, but I’m not going to talk about the book here because I’ve come to the conclusion that it is very boring to read about a book that you’re not actually reading, yourself. (If you ever read it, let me know.)

This post is to take note of the wisdom I find in this writer, in such a way that I find myself agreeing with every quote I find of him. But because pasting a list of quotes reads boring as well, lets just think about one that got me filled with interrogation marks since I read it and only now, after having written the post “Are You Real” two days ago, do I really understand it. (I hope.)

* Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.

Robert A. Heinlein

If you are reading this, let me know what is your interpretation of it.
I am very interested.


4 thoughts on “Immortalizing R.H.

  1. Well, my interpretation is that writing is a private matter, almost confessional.
    You take an every day scene that your subconscious has picked up on, something you liked, hated or desired and you use it to make up your characters and plots. You then project your innermost fantasies onto paper for all to see; and yet only you know what has turned you on, repulsed or shocked you about how these thoughts and idea came about.
    You do it on your own and then wash the guilt and subliminal mess away when you’re finished.
    Perhaps there’s a deeper, cleaner meaning but that’s the one that jumps out at me.
    It’s a very good line.

  2. Humm, very interesting. You helped me a lot, particularly on this one bit:

    “You do it on your own and then wash the guilt and subliminal mess away when you’re finished.”

    That is, it relates to the fact that we all have strong memories (good and bad) and the only way we feel comfortable enough to share them with others is when we fictionalize them. In doing so, writing is also a way to get them out of our system and be done with it.


    What got me thinking was “wash your hands afterwards”. The fact that we shouldn’t obsess over what we’ve written AFTER it’s done, or talk about it all the time — guilty! What I mean is, although “writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of”, this writer seems to be aware that it isn’t a profession to be put on a pedestal and blab about it all the time, because:

    1. it will drive us crazy
    2. it will drive everyone around us crazy
    3. if you make it you’re only focus/interest, it will kill your spontaneity
    4. there are more important things in life, like the things you’d think about when you’re dying (if it was a slow death of course, lol).

    By the way, guess what’s next on my reading list? — two clues: they’re dead and they’re German! ;)

  3. As ever V, you manage to put across what I thought far better than I ever could, lol.
    As to your question, Brecht and Goethe? LOL
    Mmmm, well, that’ll be an interesting read ;-)
    I really am looking forward to reading what you think, actually.
    No holds barred, direct and to the point. I can handle it, (he proclaims in a lamb-like voice…)

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