On the Craft of Writing ↬

I knew better, of course, as teenagers do. I expect you did too. All this technique the pages were supposedly dripping with was mostly the English teacher’s wishful thinking. Blink. Twenty years just disappeared, and here we are. You’re there, and I’m here. I know a little more now, including the universal truth that was so deeply frustrating to gradually learn as an adolescent: it’s not that simple. Matt Gemmell

This essay about the craft of writing beautifully contrasts the attitudes of youth regarding literature against the clarity of a seasoned author.

Reading Matt’s words I feel wistful but also humbled.

The attitude he ascribes to his own youthful ignorance regarding the craft of writing, captures my own feelings of yesteryear almost exactly. Yet for me, that time and those beliefs don’t seem so very long ago. In many ways I remain consciously unaware of the depth in the material I read – or at least how to express my analysis meaningfully.

Similarly I am in awe of how much Matt has learned in the last twenty years of writing. It humbles me to realise that in that paltry space of time, he has moved from disbelieving skeptic of the intention in the art of authorship, to a purveyor of the craft himself.

While I read many books, and can appreciate true artistry in the prose I devour, the authors themselves often remain unknown to me. This somehow distances me from their act of authorship, almost as if I look on their completed works as having spontaneously evolved. Those who write personally from the heart, such as Matt Gemmell, I feel nothing but genuine appreciation for the gift they have so obviously cherished.

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