adult prose Tag

There’s a story called ‘Saint Sebastian Mounts the Cross’ in Parables, Fables, Nightmares that includes two quotations from two collections by the creative-writing guru John Gardner. I am a card-carrying, sleeping-inside-a-tent-outside-the-venue Gardnerite, having come to his books The Art of Fiction, On Moral Fiction, and On Becoming a Novelist multiple times, often in crisis, over the course of my writing life. The quotes refer to his theory that many if not most writers work from a ‘wound’—in our near or far past there’s something that happened that turned us to writing, that made all the hours spent alone conjuring worlds seem like a sensible thing to do. In Gardner’s case it was an almost unimaginable tragedy, for some writers it’s the shock of a loss, a move, or a sudden change in circumstance with effects that lingered on for decades, for others it’s an ongoing suffering that’s even greater. For the collective it’s the catalyst, the spur, the thing that, at root, all our work thinks through.
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