January 31, 2011

Pat Conroy's Why I Write

Sorry for the blog silence.  I could offer excuses, but they would be lame, so let's just say I'll mend my ways!  Maybe not this week, however, as I'm headed to AWP in Washington, D.C.  I'm very excited!  Expect a full report when I get back. 

Today, I thought I'd offer you a little fabulous Pat Conroy from his book My Reading Life (via Gotham).

Some American writers are meaner than serial killers, but far more articulate ...

Good writing is the hardest form of thinking. It involves the agony of turning profoundly difficult thoughts into lucid form, then forcing them into the tight-fitting uniform of language, making them visible and clear. If the writing is good, then the result seems effortless and inevitable. But when you want to say something life-changing or ineffable in a single sentence, you face both the limitations of the sentence itself and the extent of your own talent. When you come close to succeeding, when the words pour out of you just right, you understand that these sentences are all part of a river flowing out of your own distant, hidden ranges, and all words become the dissolving snow that feeds your mountain streams forever. The language locks itself in the icy slopes of our own high passes, and it is up to us, the writers, to melt the glaciers within us. When these glaciers break off, we get to call them novels, the changelings of our burning spirits, our life’s work.


Daisy Hickman said...

Loved the Pat Conroy segment, Tamara. Will have to find that book. Yes, as the snow melts ... words will come, profound or otherwise, but no matter ... the desire itself, to write, is nourishing. Best always, Daisy @ (sending sun from SunnyRoomStudio :)

Tamara said...

Thanks, Daisy! Yes, I don't have a copy in my grubby little paws yet either, but soon, soon! Sending creative energy your way.