Friday, October 24, 2014

A. L. Kennedy writes for us

I'm just about to take "On Writing" by A. L. Kennedy back to the library, wanted to share a couple of quotes with you. She writes about seeing one of her published books for the first time:

Although I've seen a number of my own books by now, I always experience the same little shock when I unwrap them and they look so ... well, like a book - a book that anyone might have written - a proper book, by someone else.

One minute they're a buzzing pain behind your eyes, then they're a screen full of gibberish and rewrites, then they're mangled papers in coffee- and red-stained heaps and then suddenly they've scrubbed up nicely and are off to meet the readers. Or the pulpers. Either way, that first moment you meet what is effectively a neatly bound section of your own mind is certainly an excuse for a short pause, maybe a cup of tea and perhaps a bit of hefting, before you slot it into the shelf with all its brothers and sisters.

I love that - "a neatly bound section of your own mind." May you all have that experience. And here's a beautiful diatribe about art:

When we make art, art to which we commit ourselves, art which isn't simply a commercial artefact, a pose, a gesture toward a concept, when we go all out and really create, we do a number of remarkable things. We take on a little of what we usually set aside for the divine - the troubles and delights which spring from overturning entropy and bringing something out of nothing. We excel. We offer something of ourselves, or from ourselves, to others. We allow and encourage a miracle - one human being can enter the thoughts and life of another ...

What we make can reveal us to ourselves as greater than we were and help us practise addressing the world with courage and - because it is practical to involve such a thing - with love. As the listener, the viewer, the reader, the recipient of art, once again we are, of course, encouraged to be greater.

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