We're excited to share this treasure from John Steinbeck, whose thoughtful reflections on the art of writing constitute an invaluable resource for all writers. Below is Steinbeck's "letter" to beginning writers:
It’s been years since I’ve fallen in love. The old-fashioned, moon-eyed, swooning, heart-palpitating kind of love. A love like the first time, or the second, third, or even fourth time, when all the good moments were pure bliss and the bad ones led to black pits of self-hating despair. Am I too jaded for that kind of love now, too smart, too set in my ways? Do I even want it?
Monday, January 28, 2013
Freedom to Write News
A French military truck passes a bus in Mali as the army advanced towards Timbuktu. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA
Just as our bodies need shots to ward off disease, our minds need vaccines against negativity. We're surrounded by negative messages all the time, not to mention those we produce internally, so I’ve found that giving my mind a shot of positivity on a regular basis helps fend off negative self-talk.
I can write. What I mean is that I usually have no trouble sitting down and stringing words together. Sentences beget sentences, and eventually, when I’m lucky, I find a crumb of a story. The hard part isn’t the writing, but maintaining control of it.
In Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern says, “A beautifully complex story is often complex not because of a complicated surface, but because of an impressive depth.”
In fifth grade, Mrs. Ran told me I wasn’t allowed to bring notebooks to school anymore, which I thought was ironic, because that’s exactly what happened to Harriet in my contemporaneously favorite book, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.
Workshop began this week. I got tons of great feedback, and in the next two weeks I'll do a major rewrite of the story we workshopped. I also have an assignment from Antoine: I need to identify my central character's presence, both thematically and physically, in each of my stories.