May 13th, 2009

Behind the Scenes From Where I Write: Harry Harrison

I first knew Harry Harrison from reading "A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!" in my youth. Lots more people know him as the author of the extraordinarily popularStainless Steel Rat books and those who don't know him from that know him as the author of Soylent Green the classic movie starring that guy who played Moses (cue Burns shouting "Soylent Green est Menchenflesh!)

Now I know him as totally charming. Harry Harrison, who was just awarded the Nebula Grandmaster award, is just a ball of joy to be around. He's loquacious, captivating, and engaging. When I did his portrait for Where I Write he was nothing short of useful, wrapped around successful, stuffed inside gregarious. He's been a graphic designer (back when they did everything with pencils and razors), a comic book artist, a soldier, and a novelist, and he learned Great Things from all of them.

I could listen to him all day. coppervale was quoting something that Frederick Pohl mentioned in his autobiography. It was very similar to something that Harry Harrison told me that day I was sitting on his sofa, trying to out drink him, -- I think it's useful for more than just people who write or draw, so I'll post it here:

When I write, I just sit down and I write. If you can't do that, you can't be a writer. Even when you're sick. Sometimes I'd be very sick, coughing, with a fever and I'd be going down the stairs to work and my wife would say "You're sick, don't work today" -- but really, if you don't work, who else is going to do it?

-- Harry Harrison

Wisdom from a titan. Work hard, everyone.

Work hard. That's how you fill the dream gulch.