Sunday, July 1, 2012

Different Writers, Different Responses

Julie's recent post about writers and writing spaces made me think about how much I love to read about famous writers and every aspect of their writing lives: their habits, routines, passions, challenges. And I always appreciate their advice.

So when I came across this post on Flavorwire, detailing writers' responses to children's letters, I immediately clicked through. You should too! It's fun to share Maurice Sendak's delight, J.K. Rowling's empathy, and most of all, Harold Pinter's no nonsense answers to a list of literary questions.


4 November 1966.

Dear Master Seaman,

I’m glad to know of the interest of Form 5A in THE CARETAKER. I will answer your questions quite frankly.

i) Davies’ papers are at Sidcup because that’s where they are.
ii) His name is assumed because he assumed it.
iii) The two brothers see little of each other because they rarely meet.
iv) Aston fiddles with his plugs because he likes doing it.
v) When he goes out to walk, he walks.
vi) The monk swears at Davies because he doesn’t like him.
vii) Davies doesn’t like coloured people.
viii) He refuses to believe that he makes noises during the night.
ix) The Buddha is a Buddha.
x) The shed is a shed.

I assure you that these answers to your questions are not intended to be funny.

My best wishes to you all.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed, ‘Harold Pinter’)

Harold Pinter.

What I most love about this response is the brutal simplicity of Pinter's writer's imagination. He created a world and described it "as is". No more, no less. He leaves so much to the reader, and doesn't fear his readers having different interpretations. Or no interpretations at all.

What a contrast to the other writers and their responses to their young fans. But isn't that the beauty of writing? There is room for so many different styles. Lush, sparse and everything in between. And the beauty of reading as writers, is appreciating the work of other writers and writing styles that are totally unlike your own.

As for me, my writing falls more towards the sparse side than the lush side. Yet I can appreciate a good, epic saga that spans decades, even centuries. I love Michael Chabon and Jeffrey Eugenides.

Anybody else out there have favorites that are completely unlike your own writing?

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