When someone hears the words “moral fiction,” or “moral art,” a person might wonder how to define morality. According to John Gardner, “moral” does not equal “not too blatantly immoral.” It can’t be simple, and it can’t be forced upon artists. Continue reading
Okay, so last week I mentioned how much I admired Nina Badzin’s article for TC Jew Folk, “Things I Don’t Write about on the Internet.”
I pretty much agreed with her on all points, although I will occasionally get political. (This is pretty much conditioning on my part: no meal shared with my family during the 1980s did not involve bashing of the Republican Party, so far as I can remember. But my memory might be faulty. Not that I’m a Democrat. Currently, my party membership is officially “decline to state.” You can do that in California.)
Anyway, there was one thing not on Nina’s list I kept thinking about while reading it, and it has haunted me ever since:
I DON’T TELL OTHER PEOPLE’S STORIES.
What are “other people’s stories?” Continue reading
A couple days ago, I read this post on the Florida Writers Conference Blog (I know I’m not from Florida, but I happen to really like this blog) about humor. And there’s a fun overview of contemporary religious Jews in comedy right now on Aish.com. So I was already contemplating the subject when I spotted an interview with Ruth Wisse on Tablet about her new book, No Joke.
Ten minutes in, Wisse talks about secular Jewish vs religious humor. If you’re a Jewish writer, it’s worth listening just for that bit.
The conversation as a whole gives a really interesting spin on Jewish comedy, but the most fascinating part is the end of the interview Continue reading
Today’s post from The Write Practice got me thinking. In it, Joe Bunting suggests that we worry too much about sales, and even about how good our writing is.
I love these two lines:
Does the fact that more people have read Twilight than have read [any book by] Mark Twain mean Stephenie Meyer is a better writer?
More important for us, does the fact that we are all less known than E.L. James (as far as I know) mean our stories aren’t as good?
Bunting suggests we think “Connection” (with readers) over “Competition” (with other writers).
What Bunting says really appealed to me. Of all the kinds of feedback I get from my stories and articles, the ones that mean the most are the ones where people tell me that they identified with some aspect of what I’d written–particularly if the person is really different from me. This the kind of thing that bonds together humanity. Bunting would call this kind of connection literary success.
I’d call it something else: a measuring stick to use if you want to judge your writing’s moral quotient: will this writing bind people together, or will it tear them apart with strife? In that sense, “Good Writing” has a quality beyond the writer’s style or storytelling ability. It’s “Good” in the moral sense, as well.
What do you think?