Thursday, August 02, 2007

Loving Other Writers


Excerpts from "Writing is a Communal Act", a chapter from "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within" by Natalie Goldberg


We always worry that we are copying someone else, that we don’t have our own style. Don’t worry. Writing is a communal act. Contrary to popular belief, a writer is not Prometheus alone on a hill full of fire We are arrogant to think we alone have a totally original mind. We are carried on the backs of all the writers who came before us. We live in the present with all the history, ideas and soda pop of our time. It all gets mixed up in the writing.

Writers are great lovers. They fall in love with other writers. That’s how they learn to write. They take on a writer, read everything by him or her, read it over again until they understand how the writer moves, pauses, and sees. That’s what being a lover is: stepping out of yourself, stepping into someone else’s skin. Your ability to love another’s writing means those capabilities are awakened in you. It will only make you bigger; it won’t make you a copy cat. The parts of writing that are natural to you will become you, and you will use some of those moves when you write. But not artificially. Great lovers realize that they are what they are in love with.

And don’t be jealous, especially secretly. That’s the worst kind. If someone writes something great, it’s just more clarity in the world for all of us. Don’t make writers “other,” different from you: “They are good and I am bad.” Don’t create that dichotomy. It makes it hard to become good when you create that duality.

It is also good to know some local people who are writing and whom you can get together with for mutual support. It is very hard to continue just on your own. ..Kill the idea of a lone, suffering artist. We suffer anyway as human beings. Don’t make it harder on yourself.”


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4 Comments:

Blogger The Nashman said...

...and you kinda wonder all these pinoy bloggers claiming 'plagiarism' as if their work was worth copyrighting...

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy bday frank!

8:31 PM  
Blogger lovelyn said...

I wish every one who considers himself a writer would digest what's posted. Maybe it takes a "true" and "wise" one to do so.

Leaving comments on other's blog is "Loving Other Writers" too right? How about replying on that comment?

What a good find this is!

7:43 AM  
Blogger frank cimatu said...

try to look for that book, Lovelyn. Or steal Nash's copy

10:15 AM  

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