|by David Levine from The New York Review of Books|
Thank you for the easy roll of your sentences, the graceful arcs of action your characters describe, the brilliant miniaturist details within the vast canvas of your plots - for the pleasurable hours the company of your words affords.
And thank you for passages like these in your memoir Giving Up the Ghost.
On how to write:
I will trust the reader. This is what I recommend to people who ask me how to get published. Trust your reader, stop spoon-feeding your reader, stop patronizing your reader, give your reader credit for being as smart as you at least, and stop being so bloody beguiling: you in the back row, will you turn off that charm! Plain words on plain paper. Remember what Orwell says, that good prose is like a windowpane. Concentrate on sharpening your memory and peeling your sensibility. Cut every page you write by at least a third. Stop constructing those piffling little similes of yours. Work out what it is you want to say. Then say it in the most direct and vigorous way you can. Eat meat. Drink blood. Give up your social life and don't think you can have friends. Rise in the quiet hours of the night and prick your fingertips and use the blood for ink; that will cure you of persiflage!
But do I take my own advice? Not a bit. Persiflage is my nom de guerre. (Don't use foreign expressions; it's elitist.)Thank you for saying all this so well.
(And thank you, Melody, for your last month's litany of daily thanks. You've inspired me.)