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A Writer’s Favorite Complaint

Here’s a fascinating review of John Warner’s Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities. While I don’t agree with everything in the piece, I’m not about to miss yet another opportunity to remind y’all that, as reviewer Phil Christman says, “Writing…is hard, and has always been so.” He goes on:

It is recursive: at every level of achievement, the same difficulties reassert themselves. It is an activity in which renegotiating the rules as you play is part of the game itself. We not only expect wildly different things from different writers, depending on the situation, audience, genre, and era, but we read in the hope that a writer will flout our expectations in a clever way, or give us new expectations we’d never thought to have. There can be no “mastery” under these circumstances.

Read the rest of Christman’s review. It’s damning and infuriating – and a hot mess when you get to the obligatory “capitalism is the root of all evils” section – but thought-provoking throughout.



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