The reader knows that the author in his memoir, The Tender Bar, is in fact going to become, not an attorney, but a writer, so it makes the conversation he records with a priest on the Amtrak stand out as a turning point for him.
"Can I tell you something?" the priest asked. "Do you know why God invented writers? Because He loves a good story. And He doesn't give a damn about words. Words are the curtain we've hung between Him and our true selves. Try not to think about the words. Don't strain for the perfect sentence. There's no such thing. Writing is guess work. Every sentence is an educated guess, the reader's as much as yours. Think about that the next time you curl a piece of paper into your typewriter."
(p. 225 The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer 2006 Hyperion N.Y.)
Unfortunately the author also tells us a few pages later that "The inspiration I took from my talk with Father AMTRAK wore off as quickly as the scotch." ( ibid p. 226)
I am feeling something similar about reading this 416 page tome. While it's inspiring in style, and well crafted, I can't wait for this guy to get into rehab! I suppose that means the author, whose voice is quite likable, has engaged me and that there is enough insight in his narrative voice as he recounts difficult events and his frequently misplaced hope and admiration, for me to trust that he will do more than survive the bar, his doomed lusty first love and the self defeating behaviors he documents so well. He's got me concerned for him, but I'm not yet fully convinced the tale is worth recommending.
This is what being in a book group does....gets you to read books you may not have otherwise encountered and finish them before you pick up any of the others you have stacked up and ready to read.
But this little word from Father AMTRAK also caught my eye because for just a moment it made me miss my typewriter..."curl a piece of paper into a typewriter..." I can hear the ratchet sound as I roll the wheel. ~~~~~~~~~~~