Thursday, December 26, 2013

Choice & neglect: the writer and reader

A rare quiet holiday season moment to post thoughts after reading two interviews from The Paris Review. I'm one of their twitter followers, one of very many and I often find interesting morning cup of tea reading via their tweets. Ways of finding what we read interest me: so many and so different now with the rise of social media. 

The interview with Joan Didion led me to writing in my pen to page journal about how as a reader I find writers and what I neglect. Didion's novels, for example, I don;t know at all, coming to her writing as I did after reading what she wrote after the deaths of her daughter and husband.
I noted down some reasons for neglect 
- firstly and simply, not knowing, and this means that there is then 'discovery', so hearing about the novel The Wife and being told about Brenda Shaunessy's poetry bought a novelist and poet,  previously  unkown writers, into my reading life.

- then some writers, some titles dash through the mind, don't settle there, its the wrong time, why am I only now reading the short stories of  Flannery O'Connor?

and then there is the not enough time, too much else going on type of negelect, the not the right poem at this moment for me sort of negect - this is just the start of a list, but it encouraged me to think about trying to read poets I have neglected ... so many, how to choose ... start small, just start, thats the important thing, to start. 

Then I read an interview with May Sarton, such a revealation, here is a writer I have dipped into regularly, someone who writes so well in many genres and I know so little about her as a person. 

Does this matter? Will it change how I read her? Should it? ... and might this especially apply to her journals and memoirs? She has said that it is different writing a journal for the readers out there, that most definitely someone, other than yourself, will read ... 

So finally, watching the BBC News review of potlicial books of the year, there's a discussion about the final diaries of Tony Benn, written for a. n. other reader, written to be read ... what else is wriitng for? well, there's a rather large question.

And before I close, I have just re-read the above, edited it a little ... because, of course, I hope it will be read!

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