Goldie Alexander's Blog

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What Works for a Writer.

I am presently reading a collection of essays by Ann Patchett who worked for many years as a freelance journalist before she hit fame as a novelist.  If anyone would like to know more, this collection is called “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage”. This extract from one of her essays on writing is worth considering as I suspect many writers feel the same:

“I am a compost heap, and everything I interact with, every experience I’ve had, gets shovelled into the heap where it eventually mulches down, is digested and excreted by worms and rots. It’s from that rich dark humus, the combination of what you encountered, what you know and what you’ve forgotten, that ideas start to grow.”

 Then she adds, “I could make a case for the benefits of wide-ranging experience both personal and literary as enriching the compost, but the life of Emily Dickenson neatly dismantles that theory.”

 

 (For those who haven’t come across Emily Dickenson, she was an American poet of the 19th Century who supposedly never left her house and her room yet wrote exquisite if unpunctuated poems.)

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