Working Stiffs

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I admire Elmore Leonard and Woody Allen because they just keep working. Elmore is 87, Woody is 77. And they don't stop.

Dig this Vice interview with Elmore:

Your pace is incredible.

I like to write books, so…

It’s just what you do.

That’s what I do. I don’t take time off in between for any particular reason. I mean, if I do then maybe I’m just thinking of the next one.

A lot of writers will do something like three books in ten years—or even less.

Well, they go out to lunch and all that. They talk about it with their friends.

And here's a recent story on Woody by Charles McGrath for the Wall Street Journal:

"Why does Woody still make movies?" [Marshall] Brickman asked. "Because he can. Because they still let him...He has a very strong, perhaps overwhelming work ethic. I don't think he knows how not to get up in the morning, get on the treadmill, practice the clarinet, write."

Allen ventured a slightly different explanation. "You know in a mental institution they sometimes give a person some clay or some basket weaving?" he said. "It's the therapy of moviemaking that has been good in my life. If you don't work, it's unhealthy—for me, particularly unhealthy. I could sit here suffering from morbid introspection, ruing my mortality, being anxious. But it's very therapeutic to get up and think, Can I get this actor; does my third act work? All these solvable problems that are delightful puzzles, as opposed to the great puzzles of life that are unsolvable, or that have very bad solutions. So I get pleasure from doing this. It's my version of basket weaving."

[Photo Credit: Marc Hauser/Getty Images]