“Write Posthumously”

I found this piece this morning and fell in love. It’s always a lovely push to be reminded of why writing is the essential compulsion, a reason for being, a reason of its own, in my mind. It was one of those glorious, beautiful kick in the pants type moments. And a reminder that writing, as an art form as an impulse and a need and a love, does not sprout originally from a desire to get something back from others, by way of pleasing the wider audience. It’s helpful to at least get to the point where you can please yourself with what you write, of course…

Fashion will come at you from two directions, from outside and in. You might start noticing what’s getting attention in the press. You might begin to forget the person you are in order to write and sound like someone else. Alternately, you might be tempted to repeat yourself. To follow the fashion of your own previous work, to stop exploring, learning and trying new things, for risk of failure.

If you try to write posthumously, however, fashion doesn’t apply. You step off the catwalk, ignoring this season’s trends and resigning yourself to being unfashionable and possibly unnoticed, at least for a while. As Kurt Woolf, Kafka’s first publisher in Germany, wrote to him after Kafka’s book tanked, “You and we know that it is generally just the best and most valuable things that do not find their echo immediately.” Fashion is the attempt to evade that principle: to be the echo of someone else’s success and, therefore, to create nothing that might create an echo of its own.

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