On Writing

Despite the commercial market, writers exist — God bless ’em — who pen only what intellect, passion, and stubborn conscience demand. Writers with a stubborn conscience are at once the most arrogant and humble of people. Arrogant because they are constrained to adhere to an excellence which is by its very nature elitist; humble because, adhering to excellence, they are often derided or looked upon with suspicion, if not downright hostility. In most cases, writers of literary conscience earn far less than writers of mass-market work. Excellence can be a lonely and impecunious place in which to dwell. But would you choose to dwell elsewhere?

December 22, 2009

Most writers would write even if no one read their words. Writing is not a pastime, not a career, but a compulsion. But if it is additionally a means of communication, then it doesn’t communicate fully until someone reads or hears the words.

Every essay, novel or poem is as many essays, novels or poems as the number of people who read them, for we each come to the page with our own individual experiences and beliefs (our filters and interpreters), quite difference from those of the person next to us. And we must therefore come away having read a different piece of work!

December 21, 2009

There is a difference between sentiment and sentimentality. It is a fine line, and one must tune an acute ear to the difference, because the difference will be the diference between literature and Hallmark cards.