Friday, October 03, 2008

good will

"Whenever an encounter between a writer of good will and a regular person of good will happens to touch on the subject of writing, each person discovers, dismayed, that good will is of no earthly use. The conversation cannot proceed."

-Annie Dillard, The Writing Life (1989)


Hmmmmm. I'm not at all sure I agree with the above. Although I have certainly had the encounters Dillard describes. But I feel that it was because I was not able to express myself clearly, because I was not listening attentively, because I don't want to widen the divide. And You, Dear Readers, how do you feel?


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3 Comments:

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Ruth Armitage said...

I always thought writers were regular people. Am I horribly mistaken? I feel I have had wonderful conversations with the writers that I have met. I consider myself a regular person... am I missing something?

 
At 9:09 AM, Blogger Linera Lucas said...

Honey, you are not a regular person. You are an artist, and therefore on that side of the divide.

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger Shelly said...

I disagree with Annie on this. Margaret Meade, I think it was, said, "If you can't explain your research so a 12 year old understands it, you need to go back to the lab."

I think what she is saying here is do the work until you deeply understand it, then you can share it authentically with others. It seems to me some artists love the drama of being an artist and believe that if they could distill the essence of their own work, it wouldn't be art. But the opposite is often true. Cut away the bluster, the arm-waving, the need to impress, THEN the piece, or conversation, will ring. Nothing is more compelling in conversation than sharing a bit of truth.

 

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