Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On writing

I have been confined to the loft writing a paper/article. It has been a bit of a struggle and made me think about the process. Basically, it is weird. I used to think that Orwell's line was the best:
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
But now he has been surpassed by Robert De Niro at the Oscars.
The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.
Yes. Spot on Robert.

I would have left it at that if it hadn't been for a horrible piece of contemptuous arrogance by Hanif Kureishi. A professor of creative writing describing creative writing classes as a waste of time is a classic example of biting the hand that feeds you. It craved a robust response. And Tim Clare was robust indeed; and wise; and funny. Read it all, it is well worth your time. It is relevant to more than creative writing as well. It is a wonderful, touching post about education as a whole and one that everyone who teaches should read and digest. The money line is this:
So it may come as a surprise to learn that I agree with Mr Kureishi, insofar as a creative writing course probably is a waste of time, if your tutors have been picked on the basis of literary prestige and not on their ability – or willingness – to teach a fucking class.
Hat tipped towards Alan and George 

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