Friday, March 18, 2005

Arlette Rosen on writing

Arlette Rosen, the book doctor in Esther Cohen's novel, has a philosophy of writing that I found interesting enough to transcribe here:

"About your book, it is a beginning, not an end. The point is not the book but the writing. Once you are able to make writing a part of your life, and that isn't easy, your life will be changed. I don't mean in a big way necessarily. You won't get another job, or marry a different kind of woman, or walk to work down different streets. Your bedroom won't look different either, although it could. But once you let yourself begin to describe whatever you see, the process of seeing itself is altered. You have a way to put the pieces together, or pretend. The kind of writing you do doesn't matter. Neither does its future." (ch 11, p92)

"You need time not to write, in order to write. A whole day, for three or four hours. Time to consider. And time not to think about what you are writing. Time to walk around in a circle. You may be sweeping the floor, or doing laundry. But you need that time for your characters to develop a tone that's consistent, and a strong clear heart." (ch 16, p126-27)

"To me, writing is learning how not to be afraid, how to be open, how to see and feel and hear. How to reveal secrets. Anais Nin (do you know who she is? She is controversial now, but she wasn't when I was reading with an avidity I've lost a little). Anais Nin said that writing is a generosity of the spirit, a jousting with energy, loving others, and giving away all of oneself to others, to celebrate life." (ch 23, p172)

And at the end, Arlette writes one of her prospective clients, "I no longer tweak" and we want to cheer for her. Maybe now, she writes.

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