Wednesday, October 17, 2007


We Are What?

Are we what we read, I wonder? Probably not - no more than we are what we eat, or what we drive, or what we wear. I suppose those of us who try to write may be a little more of what we read than your average bear or Bears fan, but I think we need to be careful to live it, rather than just read about it, if we're going to tell stories that anybody wants to hear.
I came across the term "vastly unread" lately, in an article by someone I respect immensely, who suggested that the term would apply to you if you have not read a particular author. I take his point, but also that of the Clean Old Man who tells Ringo to put down his "boook" and get out and live life. Parts of life are not found in the pages of books, no matter how well written, and the best of writers, I think, don't JUST read.
Don't misunderstand me - read all you can - but do it when the sky is dark, the stars aren't out, and the bars are closed.
Are our heads just lovely jugs to hold the words we've read until it comes time to pour them back out? Did Conrad just READ about going to sea?
Tell me a story - but don't tell me somebody else's.

- Ralph Murre

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