Writers on Writing

The book, “Journalism: The Democratic Craft,” by Roy Peter Clark and G. Stuart Adam, starts off with some great essays about writing. If you’re a writer, or if you care at all about the written word, you should check them out. They are:

“Why I Write,” by George Orwell

“On Being a Writer,” by V.S. Naipaul

“Why I Write,” by Joan Didion

-“In Good Faith,” by Salman Rushdie

-“The Reason for Stories,” by Robert Stone

A couple of my favorite quotes from these essays are:

* “I felt that to truly render what I saw, I had to define myself as a writer or narrator; I had to reinterpret things.” – Naipaul

* “During the years when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley I tried, with a kind of hopeless late-adolescent energy, to buy some temporary visa into the world of ideas, to forge for myself a mind to deal with the abstract. My attention veered inexorably back to the specific, to the tangible, to what was generally considered, by everyone I knew then and for that matter have known since, the peripheral. I would try to contemplate the Hegelian dialectic and would find myself concentrating instead on a flowering pear tree outside my window and the particular way the petals fell on the floor. I would try to read linguistic theory and would find myself wondering instead if the lights were on in the bevatron … and how they looked. A physical fact.” — Didion

* “I am not able, and I do not want, completely to abandon the worldview that I acquired in childhood. So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information.” — Orwell

Amen.

What are some of your favorite essays about writing?

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

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