for the Bookworms, for the Writers, Showcasing other Creatives

Book Review: The World Split Open

Great Authors on How and Why We Write

This is a collection of speeches (in written form) on how and why we write. I have to admit some of the transcript seemed odd to have been spoken – it made me wonder if it was altered for text or if the person who spoke it planned in out on paper without thinking of how it’d come across orally. Then there were other parts that seemed more spoken than written. It was an interesting balance.

World Split Open

The speeches were given anywhere between 1988 to 2012. Some seemed outdated, but not in a way that made it less interesting, just in a way that made me wish there was a continuation of what this means now. For instance, “No, but I saw the Movie.” First given in 1999, much has changed, progressed in the book-to-movie world, and I wonder what new revelations there are.

Some speeches I loved, some I found more boring, and each was unexpected. So many great stories to be told in these pages. All of them made me think – of writing, of reading, and of humanity. Here’s some of my favorite quotes:

From “On Beauty” – My theory of narrative as a fundamental act of consciousness implies to me that paranoia might be entrapment in a bad narrative, and depression may be the inability to sustain narrative.

From “Childhood of a Writer”….(and you must read the story that led up to this quote!) – I believe nothing of any beauty or truth comes of a piece of writing without the author’s thinking he has sinned against something – propriety, custom, faith, privacy, tradition, political orthodoxy, historical fact, literary convention, or indeed, all the prevailing community standards together.

From “305 Marguerite Cartright Avenue” – And so my best friend, in her complaining, said to me, “Well, just kill the character already so we can hang out!” And I said, “What are you talking about?” And she said, “Well, in your writing somebody always has to die.” And I wasn’t quite sure how to take that – I was quite taken aback, actually – and then I thought about it for awhile, and I realized, you know, she is right.

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