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Monday, July 16, 2012

Gay Talese On Writing

Reporter Susannah Breslin, writing, as a blogger, for Forbes, talks about writing, and surviving being laid off and other things.  In talking about writing she recently said this:
Gay Talese said something once about how journalism is a stage, the journalist’s job is to show up, and that is the point at which the story appears.
I wonder if I can apply that to my blogging?

From the Wikipeda artice on Gay Talese we have this:
Talese credits his mother as the role model he followed in developing the interviewing techniques that would serve him so well later in life interviewing such varied subjects as mafia members and middle-class Americans on their sexual habits.  He relates in A Writer's Life:
I learned [from my mother] ... to listen with patience and care, and never to interrupt even when people were having great difficulty in explaining themselves, for during such halting and imprecise moments ... people are very revealing—what they hesitate to talk about can tell much about them.  Their pauses, their evasions, their sudden shifts in subject matter are likely indicators of what embarrasses them, or irritates them, or what they regard as too private or imprudent to be disclosed to another person at that particular time.  However, I have also overheard many people discussing candidly with my mother what they had earlier avoided—a reaction that I think had less to do with her inquiring nature or sensitively posed questions than with their gradual acceptance of her as a trustworthy individual in whom they could confide.
On the other hand, at the Althouse blog, on Friday we have this Matthew Arnold quote
Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.
This aphorism begins the first of 10 lessons in what Professor Althouse claims is an excellent book, Style:  The Basics of Clarity and Grace.

On the other hand, Plain Words is my favorite.

Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

Craig H said...

Poe (and at least one other person here who shall remain nameless out of shame) had a different approach.