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  •  I do laugh a lot. But I try not to judge tastes; (2+ / 0-)
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    RiveroftheWest, KenBee

    or at least I try to listen first, with an open mind. Most people who know a lot about books are way too judgmental, considering "lowbrow" books a waste of time. When you start reading critics, you absorb condescension before you're aware of it.

    I find it much more important to form opinions of your own - to read whatever you enjoy, and then consider what the author gets right that matters to you. Then, when you state your opinions, you can tell me things I don't know, instead of echoing ideas I've read three critics say before you.

    So, for example, I think that Stephen King ignores a lot of "literary" aspects of writing, and there are certain kinds of subtlety and craft I haven't found in his work. On the other hand, he knows what matters to him, he's put a lot of thought into his own methods, and there are other sides of writing where he's in a class of his own.

    I learn nothing by dismissing King as "popular", or "horror". I can learn a lot about writing by examining King's work to ferret out the peculiar magic that he has made completely his own.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 07:45:52 PM PDT

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    •  You're very kind. (2+ / 0-)
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      Brecht, KenBee

      I do think that the more real-world experiences a writer has, the more likely he is to actually relate in a valuable, human way to the reader. Hemingway seemed to feel that way too. Spinning words gracefully onto paper is nice, but distilling life onto the page is the real art.

      •  The interviewer asked about academia (2+ / 0-)
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        RiveroftheWest, KenBee

        One reason that Hemingway was able to distill fresh experiences and environments onto the page is that, unlike so many writers, he didn't define himself by the life of the mind. He pursued the life of the body, and he distilled experiences we'd never seen made so clear and lucid in print. After he'd done it, many other writers set out on similar paths.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:44:19 PM PDT

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