If you could have the writing ability of one author, who would you choose, and why? Would you exchange writing styles permanently?
Wow, good question. It’s interesting because as much as I admire the writing styles of some of my favorite authors (like Faulkner or Onetti), I would DEFINITELY never want to write like them. I dunno… it just feels like something very weighty and painful, to be able to write like a genius, you know?
Overall I prefer authors whose writing styles could be described as very simple, almost basic, as opposed to ornate or fancy. I’ve already said that if I could write like any author, it would be like Anne Tyler, namely for the loving and vivid characterizations in her novels. Give me Murakami for his descriptions of food, and Bolaño for his moments of insight, realization and description. Give me Tolstoy for his realism and his kindness towards his characters. Flannery O’Connor has some killer plot twists but I think I’d stop there. Give me Vonnegut for humor (a characteristic sorely lacking in most fiction). Give me Ali Smith for creativity (drawing the line at her more post-modern stories, which I enjoy but do not wish to emulate), and Melissa Banks for honesty. Give me “Mrs. Dalloway”‘s poetry and beauty. (Wow, this is turning into an ode to books and authors I love in general.) And finally for overall writing style, give me George Orwell–you can’t fail there with diction, word choice, clarity and overall “voice” of the writing.
And of course I would never exchange writing styles. What would be the point? Because then it wouldn’t be mine anymore!
Also, here’s a fascinating article on “Borges y yo,” my favorite Borges short story. The comment at the end left me wondering whether or not it was Borgesian-styled fiction–I honestly couldn’t tell. The link at the bottom to another piece by the author, Notes Towards the Memoirs of a Book Thief, is also excellent and very Arlt-esque. The idea of inscribing a book to oneself before stealing it is especially ingenious. The only book I ever remember stealing myself was “Saint Maybe,” but I might even be remembering that wrong, it could have been my sister who stole it. I definitely stole the Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath. Sorry, Colegio Bolivar library. Guilty as charged. We were the only ones who ever checked it out anyway.
Some other interesting articles related to books and writing I’ve stumbled upon lately, via the new Glory in my life that is Google Reader:
- Ten Rules for Writing Fiction – I like Elmore Leonard’s, Roddy Dole’s, Geoff Dyer’s and Anne Enright’s the best. I especially like this bit: writing is all about perseverance. You’ve got to stick at it. In my 30s I used to go to the gym even though I hated it. The purpose of going to the gym was to postpone the day when I would stop going. That’s what writing is to me: a way of postponing the day when I won’t do it any more, the day when I will sink into a depression so profound it will be indistinguishable from perfect bliss.
- More good writing advice from Salon.com: A Reader’s Advice to Writers
In other news:
– Next week is technically my last at the office, because I’m leaving next Friday to fly to Cali and visit my mummy, the Princess and whatever other pets may still be lounging around.
– I took a day off from the office yesterday because of tummy troubles and it was a blissful godsend.
– Today has been blissful as well: Corey and I watched Big Fish (a better movie than I remembered, surprisingly touching and Quixote-esque) in the morning and went to the beautiful botanical garden in the afternoon, which was HUGE. There were a ton of animals like ducks (<3), geese and enough tortoises to make you slightly alarmed. At the snack stand, we got to see a squirrel steal a lollipop from the store, and a tortoise eat the runny black poo that dropped out of a gosling’s butt. Hilarious, memorable stuff.
– Now we’re going to go out to dinner to a cevicheria :) Not that many days left here in Bucaramanga… always moving, always heading out somewhere, to something…
going my way
going to something