Reading About: the writer’s mind

Reading About: the writer’s mind

“It still comes as a shock to realize that I don’t write about what I know, but in order to find out what I know. Is it possible to convey the enormous degree of blankness, confusion, hunch, and uncertainty lurking in the act of writing? When I am the reader, not the writer, I too fall into the lovely illusion that the words before me which read so inevitably, must also have been written exactly as they appear, rhythm and cadence, language and syntax, the powerful waves of the sentences laying themselves on the smooth beach of the page one after another faultlessly.

But here I sit before a yellow legal pad, and the long page of the preceding two paragraphs is a jumble of crossed-out lines, false starts, confused order.  A mess.  The mess of my mind trying to find out what it wants to say.  This is a writer’s frantic, grabby mind, not the poised mind of a reader waiting to be edified or entertained.”

—  from I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory by Patricia Hampl

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