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Friday, September 23, 2011

Writing Without Reading? Young Authors Say They Can...

In an article posted by The New Yorker  Macy Halford       passes on her recent revelations of a discussion between an author and 'Granta' publication news reporter:

August 18, 2011

Writing Without Reading is Like______.

Busy-Monsters.jpgLast night, I went to hear William Giraldi read from his very funny, very inventive début novel, “Busy Monsters,” which is narrated by a man, Mr. Homar, whose bride ditches him at the altar to go hunt giant squid. The book is like a literary cartoon (or cartoon literature?)—which I mean as a compliment—with Sasquatch and aliens and bodybuilders running around, and Mr. Homar coping with them “in an effort to prove his mettle as an American male,” as the press materials put it.
Giraldi, who isn’t uncartoonlike, gave a sensational performance, and just as I was beginning to suspect that he was made not of flesh and blood and intellect but of some kind of intelligent rubber, he sat down for a chat with Granta editor Patrick Ryan and began talking in a very lucid way about his profession. “I don’t enjoy writing,” he said. “I enjoy reading.” He teaches writing at Boston University, and has been amazed at how many of the kids possess a passionate urge to write without also possessing an urge to read. This strikes him as crazy. “There’s an analogy there that I haven’t been able to complete,” he said:
Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to ____ without wanting to ____.
He’d come up with a couple, unsatisfying answers, one involving race cars, one involving sex (he wouldn’t tell us what they were). But he threw it out to the audience to ponder, and now I’m throwing it out to you. What is wanting to write without wanting to read like? It’s imperative that we figure it out, because Giraldi’s right: it’s both crazy and prevalent among budding writers. I’d also welcome theories on why it’s prevalent—is writing a more natural activity than reading? Does watching stories unfold on TV or in film give kids the same creative urge that reading does? Is it just that it’s easier to see your ego in words you wrote yourself?

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2011/08/writing-reading-william-giraldi.html#ixzz1YnRHhj3O 
The Dame's Take:
Well, you know the Dame has a "take" on this one!  On first thought, I think it's absolutely absurd to think that one can write without reading. Then, again, I take that back.  A three year old can write without reading, but do we want to read it as literature?  Do they really have anything to say of significance in the long-run? Well, they do have the creative urge to write without reading, don't they?  So, the creative urge to write can come higher or greater than the desire to read.
I'm thinking about this question in depth...and I do believe that one can also write without reading if they understand how to write a length of words that are understandable as an idea or concept.  And, I would guess they could write, as well, if they sat at the feet of a rabbi or teacher of wisdom who expounded on subjects giving them a wide perspective of history and learning through the ages.  And, I suppose they could also draw upon their life experiences and those of their family and friends.  They could also use the experiences they witness on television and movies; as well as those they hear through music and talk radio.
Having said all of that, then, I suppose it is possible to get away with writing without reading in this new world of communications via heresay, higher education and modern inventions.  If musicians who were deaf and blind could produce works of genius...I suppose...   If artists without use of arms and eyes can paint masterpieces; perhaps.  Maybe it isn't such a stretch to think one could write without reading.
All this being said, it so goes against my every fiber that it's been difficult to accept and admit.  Would I want to read something written by such an author?  My first inclination is rebellion...my second is curiosity.
What do you think?  And, how would you fill in those blanks:  Wanting to write without reading is like wanting to ____ without wanting to ______.  ??


Deborah Batterman

I love your 'take' on this issue . . . I think it's an important one that speaks to a desire for both self-expression and visibility in a sea of anonymity. And, yes, it troubles me. So here's what popped into my head:
Wanting to write without reading is like wanting to talk without wanting to listen . . .

Share your thoughts!

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