Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Writing

Here is my favourite passage on writing, which I am posting specially for my friend Rayna, who is working on her first book.
Here we have J.D. Salinger's Seymour Glass writing to his brother Buddy Glass, from “Seymour – an Introduction” .

“When was writing ever your profession? It's never been anything but your religion. Never. I'm a little over-excited now. Since it is your religion, do you know what you will be asked when you die? But let me tell you first what you won't be asked. You won't be asked if you were working on a wonderful, moving piece of writing when you died. You won't be asked if it was long or short, sad or funny, published or unpublished. You won't be asked if you were in good or bad form while you were working on it. You won't even be asked if it was the one piece of writing you would have been working on if you had known your time would be up when it was finished – I think only poor Søren K will get asked that. I'm so sure you'll get asked only two questions. Were most of your stars out? Were you busy writing your heart out? If only you knew how easy it would be for you to say yes to both questions. If only you'd remember before ever you sit down to write that you've been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart's choice. The next step is terrible, but no simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself. I won't even underline that. It's too important to be underlined. Oh, dare to do it, Buddy! Trust your heart. You're a deserving craftsman. It would never betray you.”

4 comments:

the mad momma said...

what a lovely excerpt. All the best to your friend.

Sue said...

Writing as religion? An end in itself?

Banno said...

Wonderful piece of writing/reading. So inspirational.

Not enough hours! said...

Thank you so much, Dipali. You couldn't have given me a better gift that this. I spent much of last week battling with the revisions I thought I should be making, but after reading this, I gave myself a break over the weekend, and now the only question I am going to ask myself is "would I want to read this?"
Thank you so much, Dipali.

~ Rayna