Suspend Your Disbelief

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Dating Advice as Writing Advice

alone-with-youOver at The Elegant Variation, Marisa Silver guest blogs, drawing some parallels between love and writing:

On love:

3. You will never know your partner.

4. You should never know your partner.

5. You will never know how things will end up.

On writing:

3. People will ask you what your work means and you will try to explain it to them, but you won’t really be able to explain it even if it sounds like you are saying something intelligent.

4. You should not be able to explain it. There should always be something ineffable and mysterious about it, even for you. If you’ve got all the answers, your work will not soar.

5. If you write with a narrative goal in mind, or if you write trying to shoehorn themes and big ideas into your work, it will become leaden and sink.

Here’s what’s brilliant about this list: is there anything that better approximates the utterly confusing, exhilarating, heartbreaking, maddening, yet totally-worth-it process of writing than love? I don’t think so.

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