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V. S. Naipaul on Writing

"The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it."

So begin's V.S. Naipaul's novel, A Bend in the River. Any questions? His gift as a storyteller is so sure that it can be intimidating. But here is something that Naipaul wrote for the New York Review of Books back in 1987 that I found reassuring and useful

The late Philip Larkin—original and very grand, especially in his later work—thought that form and content were indivisible. He worked slowly, he said. “You’re finding out what to say as well as how to say it, and that takes time.” It sounds simple; but it states a difficult thing. Literature is not like music; it isn’t for the young; there are no prodigies in writing. The knowledge or experience a writer seeks to transmit is social or sentimental; it takes time, it can take much of a man’s life, to process that experience, to understand what he has been through; and it takes great care and tact, then, for the nature of the experience not to be lost...

[Photo Via: United Nations]

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