Paths of Least Resistance

In our apprenticeships as writers, we are often taught to subject ourselves to the currently perceived masters of our craft, to tie the wild shoots of our imagination to canonical, or at least publishable, forms. I do not think this is an insensible approach, as long as it isn’t considered the only approach. Any technique that might be helpful should be welcome. However, the notion of mastery becomes counterproductive when seemingly idiosyncratic writing desires are considered dismissible, or even dangerous to one’s writing career.

I believe the future lurks in us, beneath the level of instruction, that, though it’s crucial to read widely and deeply and live deeper still, the spirit of the time expresses itself in our perfectly honest pleasures and fears. They are what the times are calling us to be. So be it, I say.

I try to pay particular attention to what obsesses me, good, bad, or otherwise (though good is best), and then I write about it, regardless of what the masters might say. I say, if you love Shakespeare, but you also love Godzilla, feel free to write Sonnet Versus Haiku. If you love tongue twisters and Masters of the Universe, write He-Man by the Sea Shore. These are your paths of least resistance to pleasure, which is where all good writing begins and ends, even when it ends in death.

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