“It’s difficult to say what you really think. You’re too aware of the traps, the dead ends, the cul-de-sacs of utterance: all the ways we let cliché steer us in a certain direction, force us to say not quite what we mean…”
Early this summer I attended a disappointing writing workshop where a clearly unprepared instructor stressed the importance of creating air-tight sentences without bothering to suggest how. “Interrogate each one of your sentences,” she kept saying, then referring, over and over, to the first five lines of Lolita. While the overall experience was unsatisfying, it reminded me […]
To learn the craft, I’d just written random stories, whatever came into my head, attempting to storify any thought as practice for figuring out what works and what doesn’t. But just writing whatever wasn’t really being a writer. A writer, it seemed to me at the time, was someone with a creative or intellectual project that lasted not the length of a story but over years of writing many different things.