Reference Blog

I don’t know if anyone will see this, but if anyone wants to use this as a reference blog for Mr. Ouzas’ writer’s craft class please do so.

Edit: If you have a question about any of the posts on this blog, leave a comment and I will probably respond.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Fox

This is featured from my poetry blog

He sees the diamond

With baited breath he waits

For the right opportunity

For his paws to take

His acceptance rides on this

His family, his life

For which fox is not cunning

Which fox does not steal

His reputations exceeds him

Surpasses him

Engulfs him

He could use his cleverness

For works of the just

A doctor, A preacher

A builder, A teacher

But yet he lies wait

His paws ready to take

He is a fox

He is a sly fox

He could be helpful

He could be good

But which fox is not cunning

Which fox does not steal

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Short Story Final (With Comments)

Having a lot of trouble uploading this. If it doesn’t work I’ll keep trying.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Work Diary – Short Story Reflection

Short Story Workshopping and Process

It is so difficult to take criticism. Anyone who says that they feel nothing when somebody makes suggestions or tries to change something is lying. When we write stories, we intended on writing in a specific way. This is how I wrote it and why. You may think that something is powerful, but the person reading it thinks it replaceable. This is where the whole writing for yourself thing comes in. You may think it’s wonderful, but it really appears jumbled and nonsensical to another. But, as Jean-Paul Sartre says, a work is unfinished until someone picks it up and reads it. It’s a lose-lose situation sometimes. Editing feels terrible, and you grind your teeth with every change they make, but it is something we as writers must sit through to make our stories more than just feelings spilled out on page. We want to convey it effectively, and we will never know if it is effective until someone reads it.
I was absent frequently in this unit, but I liked the exercise when we highlighted showing and telling. That was fun, and it also made you think about the piece in individual slices rather than a whole. Could this area use a little more showing? This one a little more telling? How do I move the story along at a quicker pace to get to my point? How do I convey the message of this story at this part? Is this part really needed? Even though I really became confused as to what was showing and what was telling, it made me think about the piece a bit more. My grandmother, a retired English teacher and writer, enforced the idea that showing is ALWAYS better than telling. She drilled it into my head when I was little, until my dad took me aside and said she writes like a sappy schoolgirl who thinks continuous lines of adjectives make the most wonderful novels. My grandmother in turn whacked him on the head with her cat shaped pillow. Still I send her my writing, even though she’s living in New Zealand with my great grandmother. Writing keeps us both in touch, as she’s the type of person who won’t talk to someone unless she has a reason to.
Initially, I thought my supporting characters would play a much larger role than they did. Donna was initially going to play the mediator between Ariah and Heather, and in general Ariah and Heather were going to have more confrontation. But I soon realized that’s not the kind of story I wanted to make. I really wanted to go deeper inside Heather’s mind. I like thoughts as a way to define character. You can say or do one thing, but no one could hear Heather’s thoughts but her. Not until she started acting strange, and translating her guilt into words. Donna and Felix played the roles of the believers, those who understood both Ariah and Heather. Felix bore no resentment for Heather, unlike Donna. He just loved Ariah so much more. I don’t know if it was an adoring love, like the love Ariah had for Heather, or a deeper love. I feel like he abandoned all judgement (Heather clearly thought so as well) when he chose Ariah over Heather. I would have loved to explore that element more, as it would have deeply shaken Heather and made her conviction more absolute. Ariah never felt anything for Felix though, and she never used him either. He alone decided to prop her up in front of the crowd. If Heather was given the same chance I doubt she would have disagreed. But her personality would have made it difficult to let anyone do that. Ariah got the role out of passion and goodness, rather than Heather vying for it with confidence, experience, and her obvious mean streak.
I had to do this at the opera. I could have used regular singers, actors, something like that, but I chose the opera since I know it better than any other theatre form. It’s not my fault that it was all I was exposed to as a child. I suppose I could explore plays, musicals and such now that I’m older, but I’ve never felt the need to. I’m happy with my experience at the opera.
Both Donna and Ariah are based on real people. Ariah is based on Ariana Chris, my step mother’s best friend. She’s on wikipedia! Here : . I think that’s cool! Ariana is probably the kindest person I ever met, and she gave me a lot of advice in the preliminaries of my story. She’s the only person I know who has played Carmen. She remembers admiring all the singers when she first arrived on the scene, and she looked up to a woman named… can you guess? Her name was Dawn. She was a makeup artist for U of T back in the day, and they kept in contact ever since. Though Dawn was not a singer, she really understood how things worked, and she offered Ariana lots of advice. Dawn always laughed about the ‘divas’ she used to work with before leaving the opera to go to LA and do more stage makeup. Dawn was actually the Dawn Rivard in my essay Behind the Curtain. Circles within circles. Dawn and Donna and Ariah and Ariana are my parallels with real life people in my story. Felix Chant is actually a play of the minister of music at my grandparent’s church, Paul Chant. They’re very similar in demeanor, but I always imagined Felix looking more like Bruce than anyone else. Heather is not based upon a real person, but upon a collection of the ‘divas’ Dawn would always bring up. A woman who believes she’s better than everyone else. Looking down on people who only try to bring you up. Dawn’s stories definitely helped with my ideas for the way Heather acted, but not in the way Heather thought. That was probably the most difficult part, making her sound confident on the outside while her insides were shaking. That was also the most fun part.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Work Diary – Minot Diary 3

Characterization Creating Credible People
Part 1
Minot took a very interesting approach in creating credible characters. He treated this section more as a lesson, and almost made exercises based upon what he had said. Basically, Minot came up with three ways that we use to learn about a character; through dialogue, through thoughts, and through actions. These are all important in defining a character, and they exploit the readers need for variation when used to convey the same message. I read Play Me Something by John Berger in the Art of Short Stories.
Dialogue is a wonderful way to get to know someone. As I said before in my minot diary about dialogue, we are defined by the way we speak. Our character shines through our words. Not only that, but we have the ability to change how we appear by the way we speak. In a manga I’m reading, the heroine is desperately lonely and wants to have friends, but her anguish is conveyed by her insulting those around her. Not the best way to make friends clearly, but the way in which she insults people really conveys her loneliness. The majority of those around her just thinks she’s nuts. In Play Me Something, the majority of the story is based on dialogue between the narrator and the woman. Through the dialogue, we learn much about both. We learn he works on a cow farm, she a chemist’s shop. We learn their names, Bruno and Marietta. We learn he plays the trombone, and she likes to dance. We learn about his mountain, and her village. All conveyed through dialogue. We solidify basic ideas about each through the way they speak to one another. She speaks her mind, he tries to restrict his.
Thoughts, though grouped together with dialogue in Minot’s section, are very different. For starters, you usually have access to one character’s thoughts. Anymore than that and the story becomes jumbled, and it’s troublesome to determine whose thoughts are whose. We can also learn more about the character when we hear his thoughts when he is talking to others. The narrator in this story thinks one thing, yet doesn’t say it.

You, do you live down here?

In Mestri, across the bay, where the oil tanks are. And you – I’d say you work on a farm.

How do you know?

I can smell the cows.

If she had been a man, he would have hit her.

What do you think I smell of?


Correct. I work in a chemist’s shop.

One look at your hands told me you didn’t work with them. Do you know what my father calls that?


Infantile proletarianism.

He said nothing. Perhaps it was a Venetian expression.

This story was interesting, as it didn’t use quotation marks to indicate speech. Yet it is clear where thoughts break from speech. We learn much about the woman, besides where she lives. She does feel free to speak her mind, and does so. Maybe another person, more polite and more tactful, would have asked the narrator what he does for a living, instead of telling him he smells like cows. But it’s the thoughts of the man that we are able to see that defines him better. If you took out the thoughts, we would have no reason to believe he was annoyed with her at all. But he thinks ‘If she had been a man, he would have hit her’. This shows his morals, coming from a society where that would be frowned upon greatly. So he continued politely, as if nothing was wrong. His last thought, when he didn’t know what she was saying, showed much more of his character. He didn’t question her, or asked what she meant. He was too proud to admit he didn’t know what that meant, possibly because this woman seemed less intelligent to him. I believe that because we would look at the woman as a person without tact, and impolite people are often regarded as unintelligent. Through his thoughts, we learn much more than we would have than with dialogue alone.
The last way to define a character is through his actions. Bruno, the narrator, is alone in the beginning of the story. He is approached by this woman who asks him to play something on his trombone. He refuses, but she doesn’t leave him alone. She tells him she could find him work here in Mestri. In his thoughts, he is apprehensive, saying ‘everything between a man and a woman is a question of how much you give up of one thing to have another’. To us, this shows us his fear of having a wife and giving up things for her needs. We think he will leave her alone, but instead she takes his hand and they dance together. They make love in the bottom of a boat, and he finally plays her something on his trombone. She asks him again to come to Mestri, but he ends up on the his bus at 3 am, completely alone, watching wives rest their heads on their husbands and vice versa. Though much of the story was told through dialogue, his actions are almost contrasted to what he thinks. He believes having a wife is more trouble than it’s worth, but his actions dictate that he desperately wants one. His actions also show his fear, and they place him back on the bus he began in. We learn much about him through the sets of actions, and how people can think one thing and do another.

Part 2
I listened to Shakespeare’s Memory by Jorge Luis Borges. The first thing the host and reader noticed about the characters was that they were extremely bland and the things they did were mundane. I completely agreed. The characters, all of them, were very empty and they never did anything meaningful. And they were the focus for the entire first half of the story. Even when the narrator obtained Shakespeare’s memory, it was drab too. Shakespeare was described as a grey man,  a dull man, just like the rest of them. Of course, to us this makes no sense. Shakespeare’s works are full of colourful characters who do the exact opposite of mundane things. To think of Shakespeare as a drab man is almost unthinkable. The reader attributes this to the narrator. The reader believes the narrator initially connects with the mundane of Shakespeare, since the narrator is mundane. It is later when the true darkness of Shakespeare comes out, when the narrator is consumed by him. He starts speaking in a 16th century accent, he sees things in ways he’s not supposed to. The reader feels that it was important to have the characters be dull, as they created the vessel for Shakespeare’s memory to explore itself. In a way, the characters were the carriers for all that is good and bad in Shakespeare’s memory, and illustrates that he was not only just a brilliant writer; he was just a man.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Work Diary – Minot Diary 2

Setting Where am I?
Part 1
Setting can either play a major part in a story or a minor one. Ultimately, the reader must understand why they are there, what part does this play. Whether it’s in a small town, a big city, a deep jungle, an asteroid, there must be details about it. I decided to read A Song Outside by John Hawkes to help me illustrate this point (pg 300 in the Art of Short Fiction).
Using Minot’s theories, I use many relevant settings. Minot gives us three examples of settings in stories and why they are used. Distinctive settings are adapted from places the writer has been; a hometown, a workplace, etc. A setting which is familiar to the writer, and comes more naturally to him versus a place he’s never seen for himself. Specific settings (specific details) create a more vivid picture of than vague adjectives do. Relevance includes minor details which contribute to the theme. A Song Outside is set in a desert village in most basic sense. At first, the focus is more on the vulture than its surroundings, but the surroundings start playing a major role. “…at the entrance to a narrow way, brushed aside a drapery of black netting and climbed through a low door into a patio which was walled with rock and which radiated in the white sun,” This was what the men walked into after the scene in the desert with the vulture. The men themselves were described as white and thin, looking more like skeletons than flesh and blood men. The ground was reddish brown, resulting from the sun shining on the sand. The earth, full of life and blood is contrasted with the white of the sun which burns the men pink and dries them out. Significant details of the setting leans me towards the specific setting that Minot describes. It might be a relevance setting as well, but I might be overthinking it.

I like to use settings as a way of symbolism, mainly because I hate dialogue. I rely on my surroundings to do the work my speech cannot. This might change overtime, as I improve my skills in writing, but relevance is what I lean towards. In class, I answered a question about details while reciting my analysis on Flannery O’Connor. I said that specific details must mean something. You should not include something so specific then not call upon it later, or make it relevant. You risk the reader being confused as to why you decided to include it in the first place. In my short story (which does currently not have a name) includes a window. And a cool breeze flows through it. I could have chosen to leave it at that, but that breeze matches the personality of my main character perfectly. When she realizes what she has done to her co worker is wrong, ‘A breeze flowed through the window. Heather slammed it shut. For the first time in that room, she felt cold’. I used the significant detail to make it supportive to my general theme. I think settings are great way to convey a message, and set the mood for the character.

Minot also talks a lot about real settings and imagined settings. For myself, I feel like imagined settings are places that can’t possibly exist in our world. I feel it is relatable to fantasy settings, sci-fi settings, and things of the sort. Though I know most would group made up towns with fake names into the imagined settings, I don’t. I put a third category in between the real setting and the imagined setting. For reference purposes (and to satisfy my needs for drama), I call them the shadow settings. Where some stories include the exact name of a place, and exact settings, (eg, this story is set in Toronto) others manipulate the place they are thinking of to create more imagined detail. They can pick and choose the best parts of Toronto and they can add elements that make it different and suited to their needs. To explain further, I’m going to use comic book references (woohoo). Longtime rivals, Marvel comics and DC comics have many similar heroes/villains. In fact, it’s rare when either company comes up with something original. What makes the companies different is how they set their stories. Marvel comics uses real settings, with a few notable exceptions like Asgard and Atlantis. Spider Man fights crime in New York, Doctor Strange enjoys his time in his town house in Philadelphia, and you’ll most likely catch Wolverine up in his hometown in Alberta. DC on the other hand uses shadow cities. Superman hails from Metropolis, an echo of New York, and Batman hails from Gotham City, a mix of NY and LA. Both places were used when shooting major Batman films. For me, there is a fine line between imagined places and shadow places. I know a lot of people would disagree with me when I compare imagined places to shadow places, but I feel that there is a point where a world doesn’t feel like my own anymore. The second I feel that, imagined places come into play for me. In the short story I read, it is set entirely in a deserted village in a desert. Not once did the author name the village, or the desert, but it felt familiar, like I had seen a place like this before. For me, this is a shadow place, where the exact location is undefined, but I know I’ve seen this place before.

Part 2
I listened to Roy Spivey by Miranda July. In summary, the story is about a woman who meets a famous hollywood heartthrob on a plane. He gives her his number on a pink curtain in a magazine she had, and told her to memorize the last number he didn’t give her.  The number, 4, became somewhat of a lucky charm for her throughout her life. The exchanges between the woman and Roy were hilarious, but she never called the number, and she hides it. She did try to keep up with him, and when she finally decided to call when she finds it, the number was no longer in service. All she felt was missed opportunities, and wondered what could have been. She had spent her whole life relying on this number, and she knew she had nothing to rely on anymore.  My favourite part of this whole reading was when the reader exclaimed “that was the saddest thing in the world,” and the host laughed along with him. This story had a mixture of happiness, hope, satire, irony, comedy, and really ended in disappointment. Some parts really made both the host and reader laugh, but some parts really made the reader in particular sad. The narrators condition where she stops in the centre of a room really set the stage for that scene, the reader pointed out. Although it wasn’t in particular the room the author was describing, it was the feeling of it. The emptiness of the room that the narrator noticed and stopped in. Perhaps the room was more a representation of her isolation from reality, and her reluctance to move from that room because of the hope she still has. The host and reader didn’t mention much about the plane, but I don’t think it was as important as the room was anyway. I really enjoyed listening to the reader, as I thought he connected with the piece way more than the host did. He felt a lot more emotion whereas the host didn’t feel quite the same way. Maybe that’s because she is the host, but I felt like she didn’t quite understand what he was talking about. It was very enjoyable nonetheless.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Work Diary – Minot Diary 1

Minot 1 – Dialogue The Illusion of Speech
Part 1

Dialogue is not my strongest point. I find it difficult to figure out how to manipulate words in a way where it gets a point across, but still sounds as though someone was actually speaking. I find it hard to get what I’m thinking now down on a page. I find thoughts and speech choppy, and the majority of conversations flow this way.

“Did you see the new James Bond movie?”

“No I didn’t, was it good?”


“Daniel Craig is so good.”

“I know.”

It just feels weird to write! Maybe that’s just me. I much prefer thoughts, as you can manipulate those easier. It sounds more smooth. One thing I do like about spoken dialogue is the ability to create a character. We are very much defined by the way we speak. It is how we portray ourselves to one another.

Minot begins his exploration of dialogue by saying almost all stories with two or more characters use dialogue, with good reason. He says that if you do not let your characters explore themselves through thoughts or speech, your work of fiction risks becoming an informal essay with lots of commentary. I thought this was hilarious, as I’m sure some of the things I considered to be fiction before could fall under this category. For Minot, he most important reasons to use dialogue are to create convincing characters and to advance the plot without the author explaining what will happen next (hello essay). I decided to read Obst Vw, a story by Sharon Solwitz given by Minot in this particular section.

There is much more dialogue in Obst Vw in comparison to other stories. In Obst Vw, much of the dialogue was relatable. Rachel and Demien in particular spoke in fragments whenever they exchanged words. This made them sound more relatable, as I talk this way all the time. It felt like I was overhearing a conversation between friends, and I liked how that sounded.

She says, “They’re not my real parents.”

“I’m going to divorce them,” she says. “There’s a new law, in Vermont.”

“In Massachusetts, I think.”

Minot describes this scene as half joking and half bitter. Using the dialogue to convey these messages makes them sound exactly their age; teenagers. This conversation does foreshadow moments later in the book, where Rachel’s real frustrations begins to show. Using short, choppy dialogue gave this scene the appropriate mix of a lighter feeling and frustration contrasted to the heavier atmosphere later, when Rachel is truly anguished.
“Has he ever knocked your mother down? Called her a slut? Said he could smell it on her? I’m in the same room, here at this very table eating my cantaloupe.”
This is not a quick exchange between friends. Subject matter aside, the tones of the dialogue are different. Even if Rachel didn’t use the same words she did, the mood is implied by the way she is speaking. Since Rachel did use the word slut, it packed a certain punch. There was no other profanities in the story, so when the author did decided to use it, that also helped to set a certain tone. This was far from the exchange that was only a little bitter before. This is Rachel battling herself with her words. Though Damien is there, speaking to Rachel, it feels more self centered. She’s telling a story in her questions. I think that is one of the more effective uses of dialogue; when you can show a story within one.
Minot brings up an excellent point that I really hadn’t thought of before. Though the people speaking in the stories may speak one way, they can think in other ways. It creates a believable persona, and creates variation for the reader. It also avoids too much of the identifiable speech patterns that can become repetitive and tedious. However, some identifiable speech is good. The fact that Damien spoke like a typical teenager made the story believable. His fragmentation and quick pace makes an identifiable pattern for us to follow. It also makes a heavier hit when he speaks about more important issues, which he draws out and makes him sound much more mature than we are used to him being. Patterns are good, but variation will always keep the readers interest.

Part 2
I decided to listen to Love by William Maxwell. I really thought I had chosen the wrong story for this section as there was barely any dialogue. But I realized that the dialogue that was there was essential to move the story and convey the message appropriately. In summary, the story is about a grade 5 class who fell in love with their teacher. They wanted her to be their teacher forever, but she became very ill. When two students, the narrator and his friend, went to visit her, they realized she was not longer belonged to them. She belonged to her illness, and died as a result. Much of the discussion between the reader and host had to do with the dialogue, or the absence thereof. The reader explained the absence of the dialogue by saying that the story was all thoughts of the older writer, the man reflecting on his experience as he stood near his teachers grave. The dialogue that was there was very innocent. “Open the card!” “No, you open the door!” “I hope you get better soon.” All the dialogue was less than a sentence, and it accurately reflected what the writer was trying to achieve. The reader said that you knew the younger boy was speaking, but the words were read by an older mans voice. The reader believes the notable absence of dialogue was the strongest in getting the age of the narrator at the time across. It’s not what he did say, it’s what he didn’t say.
Minot and the reader believe the same things when it comes to dialogue and emotion. Minot encourages the avoidance of spelling out the emotions of the words to follow. “said angrily” or “said shyly,” should be avoided since the meaning is clear in the words. The host brought up the same point, saying that we don’t want to write emotion, we want to feel it. We want to invoke it through language, not through statement. Dialogue has major roots in telling, but we can use it to show as well.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Work Diary – Harper’s Index of a Character

For myself:

Number of days until I can vote – 96

Number of days until I realize my vote doesn’t matter – 96

Number of days until I can drown my sorrows about my vote with alcoholic beverages – 462

Number of seconds it took me to figure out I added 96 + 365 wrong – 7

Estimated grade on my next math test – 21%

Number of times I’ve denied playing a game when I’m supposed to be cleaning my room – 27

Times I’ve actually been playing a game when I’m supposed to be cleaning my room – 92%

Amount of time I’ve spent being completely unproductive today – ~4 hours

Amount of assignments I could have finished in that time – 3 or 4

Amount of time I spent on Essay 1, Behind the Curtain, which you graded 41/50 – ~2 weeks

Amount of time I spent on Essay 2, The Torture Room, which you graded 44/50 –  ~2 hours

Amount of time I’ve spent being confused about the marks – ~2 days

Number of journals I have in my room – 17

Number of characters I’ve come up with – 17

Number of pages in each journal – ~100

Number of pages that are filled in each journal – 30-60

Number of characters I’ve deemed worthy writing about – 1

I think that numbers can tell you a lot about someone. Everything can be quantified in some way; that’s why we have to continue with math until grade 11. Still, we have to continue with our english courses until grade 12. Why is that? Is language still the most effective way to communicate? Is it (brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen), the oldest form in which to convey messages to one another? Surprise! It is! Shocker, I know, with all the numbers that surround us these days. A friend of mine has found himself a career (mind you, he’s still in high school) coding databases for websites. I will sit there in my math class, staring at his computer, knowing that though those numbers mean absolutely nothing to me, they are a whole new language for him. This is where I kind of become a hypocrite. I’m sure you could use those numbers to write someone a whole message, an essay, a book. Someone will understand it, and the computer definitely will. Who am I to say that numbers aren’t a language anymore? Though I must say, numbers and I will probably never get along enough for me to write a novel using them.

Numbers can be used to tell us basic information about a character. My favourite character, the one I mentioned in my exercise, is 5’11, 25 at the times of the major events in my story, 160 pounds, call sign 368-ABS. Numbers used in the way of this exercise can expand a lot about someone. Elements about your life that you feel passionate about can come forward much easier. A sarcasm about my age and my opinions on the worth of politics can soon turn into my fears about math class. And the only way you would know how I felt about all of these things are solidified by the numbers I attach to them. In the school system, I am not Shannon Wood. I mean, my name is there, but there must be another Shannon Wood in Canada somewhere. At least, that’s what facebook says. They decided to number me, along with my fellow classmates. Names are unoriginal, but numbers are exclusive. 309041234. That defines me. That’s the strange thing. Words can be used over and over, and they generally have the same meaning. Coin means a little circular thing you can use to pay for chips and cheese pizza buns when you’re hungry at work. Oh, and about my essay the torture room. I did end up getting the job, if I didn’t mention that before. Go figure. You know what, I have a number there too! Cashier 220. Back to the coin. The coin is independent, since it has only one meaning. So what makes my story different from Dickins? We might be using the exact same words! Strange, isn’t it? What makes numbers interesting is that the mean nothing and everything at the same time. 24. That number means nothing to you as there is nothing attached to it. That means it could actually mean anything. So it really means nothing and everything at the same time! I think that’s really cool. But what if I said 05/24? It’s a date. What happened on this date? Nomenclator (the first printed catalog of an institutional library) of Leiden University Library appeared, Mary had a Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale was published, Queen Victoria of England was born (hence Victoria day), Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary in WWI, and 309041234 was born. Numbers are nothing without words. In math, words are the independent variable while numbers are the dependent variable. Even that statement, though it is math, would be nothing without words. Maybe the key thing that makes Dickins’ writing and mine different is because we come from a different year, a different age, a different level of understanding. All quantifiable, of course.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Work Diary – The Art of Short Fiction 3

Reading as Directed Creation – Jean-Paul Sartre

For me, one of Sartre’s ideas stood out from all the rest, as it strictly opposes what I and many professional writers have said for a long time. Sartre claims that one does not write for themselves. Reading that sentence alone makes absolutely no sense. I write to enjoy it, not to have anyone else enjoy it! Sometimes. Well, not usually, but sometimes. In fact, he regards work as unfinished if a reader does not pick it up. Even with that, I did not fully understand. He explains it like this “If the author existed alone he would be able to write as much as he liked; the work as object would never see the light of day and he would either have to put down his pen or despair. But the operation of writing implies that of reading as its dialectical correlative and these two connected acts necessitate two distinct agents. It is the joint effort of author and reader which brings upon the scene that concrete and imaginary object which is the work of the mind. There is no other art except for and by others.” in fewer words, the words on the page mean nothing until someone decides to create meaning from them. The writer may understand, but unless that message is conveyed, there’s no point to writing it. 

Sartre also gives great credit to the reader. He believes it to be the readers job to find out the meaning between the writers words. Every word is somewhat of a metaphor; it represents something. I can write the word pen, and my reader will pick up that I’m referring to a pen. Not just any pen, but a pen which shows I’m starting to get my life back on track and planning things according to the paper I’m writing on with it. It’s up to the reader to gather clues about what the author is writing.

Sartre’s main point appears in the paragraph I’m talking about, “Reading is directed creation.” Reading is guided and shaped by the writers words, but the meaning must come from the reader. King writes “Take Charms story for instance. Do with it what you will. Tell it to friends, turn it into a TV movie. Forget it.” You can do different things to a story as you envision it in a certain way. Charms story may be different as a TV movie. A director will be making it interesting for him and his potential audience. A screenwriter could take out a few words. A camera man could emphasize a certain part. It’s all based on how they interpret the story. I think that the last few scenes of the last Harry Potter movie were ridiculous, because that was not the meaning I gathered from the book. That movie was totally different. But that’s okay. Even though I didn’t see it in that way, someone did. Someone much richer with many more cameras than me. That was how they interpreted the story; who am I to complain? If one person on this planet enjoyed that story, than it was worth making. As King writes “Once a story is told, it cannot be called back. Once told, it is loose in the world.”

The last thing I wanted to mention was about the phrase “Writing is a certain way of wanting freedom; once you have begun, you are committed.” When you write about something controversial you must be prepared to defend your words. Once they’re there, they exist forever. That’s why one must write with meaning, as readers will interpret it differently. You need to be prepared to defend your meaning against all those who will question it. As long as you understand, you can show others why. Literature throws you into battle, so be prepared. That is Sartre’s advice to us all.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment