It’s Not Written in Stone

June 30th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We attended a reading last night, and, as is our habit, eavesdropped shamelessly on others. At one point, a writer (we can identify them quite readily) put her hand on her hip and, addressing a younger (chronologically) writer, said, “So, are you first or third?” Which makes it sound a bit like you’ve registered in a particular party and must henceforth remain there. Then we encountered a post about Norman Mailer on The Elegant Variation where a comment on point of view caught our attention, especially in light of what we’d overheard.

We didn’t quite get what we wanted from the source article. In fact, we were so curious about this sentence from the Citizen’s Voice story, we actually did a little research to see if we could get more information (the previous paragraph alludes to the emphasis Mailer placed on point of view, yet this, in our mind, doesn’t seem to, uh, sum up Mailer’s comments):

Mailer felt that a first person narrative (using the word “I” to tell a story) could be an effective tool, alluding to the works of legendary author Earnest Hemmingway.

Alas, the best we could do was learn that writers should stick with it. Writing, not point of view. Though we suspect there may be a certain element of sticking to it there, as well. How is it that we know every nuance of Bill Clinton’s writing experience, but can’t get more than a bizarre half clue about Mailer’s thoughts on point of view. Not that we require said thoughts, but, just as a chance comment made us see where changing POV in a particular story would improve the experience, we are always curious about what others have to say on the subject.

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