Part of the Being

July 14th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Sometimes we sit and ponder articles for a few days before commenting (seriously, that’s why we have the world’s largest collection of links to articles on literary reviews — we’re sure we’re going to pull it all together into something brilliant). This article, from the Los Angeles Times, was a thinker. On first read, we said, “Yeah, that’s true.” Then we thought, “But it’s part of them.” This is not wishy-washy thought; we’re not sure that “A” can be separated from “B”.

We tried to think of so-called minority writers (so-called because if you spend more than five minutes on the streets of Los Angeles, you realize this may be the biggest joke ever*) who don’t necessarily use their skin color as a touchstone. In a way, Walter Mosley writes without that aspect. Yes, he sets his works in black communities — but is that any different from, oh, any other writer who sets his work in predominately white communities? If you write about your world, sometimes you have to spend a little more time drawing pictures for the reader, but that’s true of all writing.

Young writers, we think, are more likely to focus on the sense of alienation and use common touchstones to explain what they’re feeling. It’s a starting point for exploring other stories. However, the author does make one excellent point: in putting together anthologies that feature writers of all ilk, why not push deeper? Artists are notorious for stealing from other artists. It’s a time-honored tradition. By exposing young writers to a wider range of possibilities, you expand their work from Day One.

* – Unless it’s the writer who’s the minority. Must ponder this.

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