Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Practicing the scales

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Katherine Anne Porter

There is a technique, there is a craft, and you have to learn it. Well, I did as well as I could with that, but now all in the world I am interested in is telling a story…But I had spent fifteen years at least learning to write. I practiced writing in every possible way that I could. I wrote a pastiche of other people, imitating Dr. Johnson and Laurence Sterne, and Petrarch and Shakespeare’s sonnets, and then I tried writing my own way. I spent fifteen years learning to trust myself: that’s what it comes to. Just as a pianist runs his scales for ten years before he gives his concert: because when he gives that concert, he can’t be thinking of his fingering or his hands; he has to be thinking of his interpretation, of the music he’s playing. He’s thinking of what he’s trying to communicate. And if he hasn’t got his technique perfected by then, he needn’t give the concert at all.

Katherine Anne Porter

Written by nevalalee

December 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

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