Friday, May 1, 2009

Umrigar on Words to the Would- be Writer

I am somewhere in the middle of reading Thrity Umrigar's Novel, The Space Between Us. I didn't pick it, and thus far I haven't figured out who in the not quite yet coalesced book group I am in did, but I find Umrigar's writing to be rich in complexity, bold in theme and tender of heart.

When I am done reading it I may want to write about the story or the applicability of the underlying themes, but I happened to flip to the back of the book and found a post-story section called "Words to the Wise Would-Be Writer...Fifteen Tips."

A journalist for many years and now a creative writing and literature professor at Case Western Reserve University, Umrigar has much to offer.

Here is her "tip" # 15 : " And finally, write for the right reasons. This is a bit of a personal superstition, I suppose. But the ability to write is a gift, a special grace. It should not be used for cynical purposes. Resist the temptation to write according to a formula or to imitate what is currently commercially successful. Write what is in your heart. Write the stories that make you proud of yourself, not embarrassed. And never lose the ability to know the difference." ( Page 16 of the "Read On " section of the Harper's Perennial PB Edition)

While it is delicate of her to suggest that her tips embody personal superstition, I don't see them that way. *See what you have ( in this case the ability to write) as a gift, resist various temptations, write what is in your heart that will be for the good and grow and hang onto your ability to know the difference.*

It's a good word for me...reminds me of the writings of a guy published back in the 1st century A.D. named James.

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