A writer liking literature is like a fish who likes water.
A pig and mud.
My friend Chris and potato chips.
So when I ask writers to write for this blog they get all giddy, like I’m doing them a favor.
“Oh! I love to write about writing!
I have written for a small press, so I know how to handle working in that kind of environment.”
“I love writing!
I wrote papers in college on creative writing.”
“I love writing!
I got some of my short stories published in magazines.”
Some may even tell me of articles they want to write before we even get started.
Before I tell them about the blog.
What type of articles we accept.
What we are about.
That is how giddy some writers are from the prospect of writing about literature.
It’s like when a fish is out of water and then somehow gets back into the water and takes a long breath, relieved of being there.
Oh… You mean that is not how it works?
Fish just die when they are out of water?
If you say so.
Well… then it is like my friend Chris jumping up from the table when he remembers that there are potato chips in the cabinet he forgot about.
Is that not how that works?
No… Chris is too fat to jump up from the table?
Oh… wait… you know my friend Chris?
You get the point though.
Writers love to pitch ideas of articles they want to write.
“I know Holmes. I’ll write about him.”
“John Donne. I’m going to write about John Donne.”
“Ethan Frome is a book I am interested in writing about.”
Or the oh so popular comment,
“I have so many ideas to write!”
After reading through yet another writer’s resume where their passion is literature, they’d be a great asset to the blog, and they are excited to hear back from me, something occurred to me.
Chris doesn’t even like potato chips.
He is more of an ice cream guy.
And, I am looking for the wrong writer.
I’ve been searching in the wrong spot.
I went to the baseball field to find the best hitter.
I went to the courtroom to find the best debater.
I went to the restaurant to find the best chef.
But I was wrong.
By going to the place that produces the traditional talent, I am missing out on that hidden gem that is great without any of the burdens of modern culture.
The best hitter will be the one who sees the ball differently than everyone else.
The best debater argues differently than the rest.
The best chef knows recipes no one else knows.
They aren’t a part of the culture, but outside of it with how they think.
I don’t want the writer who loves literature.
Who can tell me that Holmes was an addict.
Or how good a lover John Donne was.
I want someone who has no interest in any of that.
The book reviews.
He hasn’t written for a small press.
He didn’t go to college.
He never got published anywhere.
I ask him about who he thinks is the best writer ever, and he answers, “Why does that matter?”
I ask him who he reads, he says he doesn’t.
I ask him about books in his library, he looks at me confused, for he doesn’t have a library.
He doesn’t care about the classics, the modern bestsellers, or any literary news.
Yet, when I read him, he is better than the other writers.
He’s got talent you can’t teach.
Some can swing a baseball bat every day, yet never make it to the Big League.
Some can attend the courts every day, yet never become a judge.
Some can cook a meal a day, yet never own a restaurant.
He doesn’t want to be a writer.
He’ll never publish a book.
He only stumbled upon the job by accident.
I want that writer.
“Oh. So you love literature and writing?” I ask him, expecting him to tell me yes.
Can someone be a great writer yet have no interest in this?
Have no interest in the op-ed piece, the book reviews, or the fiction?
Is this possible?
As long as literature looks for writers in the exact place they are meant to be, we will never find the unusually talented writer who is not exposed to any of it and will approach the field in a new way.
That is, if that writer even exists.
About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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