An enlightening question and answer this evening. The fear every writer carries into each new work that we cannot create anything new, that there are no new ideas. Harold Bloom’s Theory of Poetry discusses the relationship between the individual artist and every great artist that has come before us. How can we escape the influence of every great author we’ve read? Because truth is, we were readers before we were writers and it is our love of reading that likely made us want to be writers. It was Of Human Bondage that made me want to write a story that I felt was as complicated as real life. And I am sure each of you can pin the spark of desire on one particular text or piece of art.
So this is what we talked about. Writing in your own voice and promoting platforms for all of the unheard (silenced) voices is the best way to escape the influence of the Maugham’s of the world, and create new art powerful enough to influence even greater work.
Thanks Stephen Smith, Alicia Elliott, Ruth E. Walker and Ben Stephenson for the lively discussion and for sharing your unique, funny, touching, “different” voices with us!