What a Writer Does Best

What a Writer Does Best foreword) ne winter evening many years ago, some friends and I were entertaining ourselves with a game of free association. Weweretorespondwithouthesitationtowhateverwordorphrasethequestionerputtous.Insteadofaskingabouttheobviousthings--favoritehobbies,bestmovies,happiestmoments,etc.--myfriendwasbeingphilosophical.Tomehesaid,"Literature,"andmyunthinkingresponsewas,"Black andwhite." Thesearethebasicshadesnotjustofthisissuebutalsoofmuchofthebest literature,beginningwiththesimplefactthatwritingistypicallyembodied bymereinkonpaper.Inappearanceitissimple.Eventhemostpowerful writingappearsinamediumthatissilent,unmovingandtwo-dimensional. Yetthisseeminglypassive,staticformcreatesworldsthatcanbeexperienced byourdeepestselves,emotionallyandintellectually.Theevocativepotency of literature lies partly in the material simplicity of how we encounter it. Therearenostages,nomachines,noelectricalboxes,nospeakersorscreens, onlythewords,readinquietness. Language is a process deeply native to the human mind. We are the speakinganimal,andinwritingweareabletospeakthebest.Theparadoxicalauthorityofthestraightforwardmediumofwrittenlanguageisthatit can move as fast as our minds can move, without baggage or gimmickry. WINTER 2006 / ThE MIssouRI REvIEW Literatureshiftsreadilybetweenimage,scene,narrativeandcontemplation throughtheelegantlysimpleinstrumentofwordsonthesimplewhitepage. Reading this issue of TMR reminds me of that notion because of the blendofstarkness,mysteryandprofounddramaofthecontents.Severalof theselections,includingJesalKanani'sstory"SummersinAgaas"andRana Dasgupta'sbeguilingessay"ThePianoTeacher,"arerememberedthrougha veiloftimebutwiththeunadornedclarityofblackandwhite.Theenigmas oflifeanddeatharereflecteduponinSilasDentZobal'sfascinating"The Archimedes Palimpsest" and Courtney Brkic's "Gathering Up the Little Gods."SethFried's"TheSiege"isasurprisingandoriginaltaleofwarfare setinmythictwilight.PatriciaFoster'sessay"TheDeserter"dealswitha personal form of twilight: chronic fatigue syndrome. Kristine Somerville addstoherseriesonneglectedartistswithabrieflookatRomaineBrooks, whoavoidedthecolor-mad'ismsofherday,producingturn-of-the-century portraits and single-line drawings with the unadorned simplicity of black andwhite. SpeerMorgan ThE MIssouRI REvIEW / WINTER 2006 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Missouri Review University of Missouri

What a Writer Does Best

The Missouri Review, Volume 29 (4) – Mar 6, 2006

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-missouri/what-a-writer-does-best-0QDi3VvOd0
Publisher
University of Missouri
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by The Curators of the University of Missouri.
ISSN
1548-9930
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

foreword) ne winter evening many years ago, some friends and I were entertaining ourselves with a game of free association. Weweretorespondwithouthesitationtowhateverwordorphrasethequestionerputtous.Insteadofaskingabouttheobviousthings--favoritehobbies,bestmovies,happiestmoments,etc.--myfriendwasbeingphilosophical.Tomehesaid,"Literature,"andmyunthinkingresponsewas,"Black andwhite." Thesearethebasicshadesnotjustofthisissuebutalsoofmuchofthebest literature,beginningwiththesimplefactthatwritingistypicallyembodied bymereinkonpaper.Inappearanceitissimple.Eventhemostpowerful writingappearsinamediumthatissilent,unmovingandtwo-dimensional. Yetthisseeminglypassive,staticformcreatesworldsthatcanbeexperienced byourdeepestselves,emotionallyandintellectually.Theevocativepotency of literature lies partly in the material simplicity of how we encounter it. Therearenostages,nomachines,noelectricalboxes,nospeakersorscreens, onlythewords,readinquietness. Language is a process deeply native to the human mind. We are the speakinganimal,andinwritingweareabletospeakthebest.Theparadoxicalauthorityofthestraightforwardmediumofwrittenlanguageisthatit can move as fast as our minds can move, without baggage or gimmickry. WINTER 2006 / ThE MIssouRI REvIEW Literatureshiftsreadilybetweenimage,scene,narrativeandcontemplation throughtheelegantlysimpleinstrumentofwordsonthesimplewhitepage. Reading this issue of TMR reminds me of that notion because of the blendofstarkness,mysteryandprofounddramaofthecontents.Severalof theselections,includingJesalKanani'sstory"SummersinAgaas"andRana Dasgupta'sbeguilingessay"ThePianoTeacher,"arerememberedthrougha veiloftimebutwiththeunadornedclarityofblackandwhite.Theenigmas oflifeanddeatharereflecteduponinSilasDentZobal'sfascinating"The Archimedes Palimpsest" and Courtney Brkic's "Gathering Up the Little Gods."SethFried's"TheSiege"isasurprisingandoriginaltaleofwarfare setinmythictwilight.PatriciaFoster'sessay"TheDeserter"dealswitha personal form of twilight: chronic fatigue syndrome. Kristine Somerville addstoherseriesonneglectedartistswithabrieflookatRomaineBrooks, whoavoidedthecolor-mad'ismsofherday,producingturn-of-the-century portraits and single-line drawings with the unadorned simplicity of black andwhite. SpeerMorgan ThE MIssouRI REvIEW / WINTER 2006

Journal

The Missouri ReviewUniversity of Missouri

Published: Mar 6, 2006

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off