Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Open Love Letter

Dear Writers,

I love you.

Yours sincerely,

Ash

PS. I really mean it.

PPS. If you’re reading this and confused, there could be several reasons.

First of all, you could be perpetually in a state of confusion, trying to eat your keyboard, and licking plug sockets. If that is the case you have my sympathies. But the love letter wasn’t intended for you.

Or it could be that you’re not a writer and wondering to whom I’m sending a love letter. If that’s the case, then this love letter wasn’t meant for you. I mean, I like you as a reader: but I don’t love you as a writer. Let’s just be friends.

If you’re a writer and you’re reading this: I love you.

I simply love writers. I love people who put words down on paper and make other people (readers, they’re sometimes called) marvel at the words, images and ideas they have created. I love the imagination that goes into your literary creativity. I love your linguistic skills.

And my love extends to all writers. Good. Bad. Dead. Successful. Fiction writers. Non-fiction writers. All writers.

Good writers are easy to love. And they’re easy to find too. Seven days a week you’ll find one writing here at the Grip. Maybe more than one if you check out the comments boxes below.

Dead writers are also easy to appreciate. Shakespeare is dead and almost everyone raves about him and his writing. Wordsworth, Chaucer and Coleridge: Dead and Good. Dead Good.

Successful writers can tickle my jealous bone. (That’s not meant to be a crude dismissal of them. I’m not saying, ‘all you successful writers can tickle my jealous bone’ as though it’s some sort of euphemism for ‘kiss my arse’ or ‘suck my pencil.’ I genuinely mean that they inspire jealousy). But you have to admire the fact that successful writers are getting writing to a wider community.

Admittedly, it’s kind of hard to love the bad ones. I’ve written a handful of book reviews recently where I’ve trashed poorly written titles. With the last few titles I’ve been asked to review I’ve been sorely tempted to include phrases like the beautiful put-down, ‘I have read this book and much like it’ or, even more pithy, ‘I have received your book and shall waste no time reading it.’

But that absence of talent doesn’t stop me from loving the writer who created those titles. The effort of industry and imagination is worthy of love. It’s just a shame that the execution of the effort became somewhat mangled.

I love fiction writers for creating fantasy worlds that allow my imagination to follow a pre-planned journey into the unknown. And I love non-fiction writers, such as the brilliant Strunk & White who famously advised ‘omit needless words.’

And, it’s because of that final piece of advice that I’ve kept my love letter deliberately short this week. But, just to make sure you didn’t miss the message, I’ll say it again:

Dear Writers,

I love you.

And I really mean it.

Ash.

16 comments:

  1. I would have attempted something witty (and probably crashed) but it's 6am here and I haven't gone to bed yet. But thank you, and I think I love you back. :)

    -- Rowan

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love of bad writers is often what's required to turn them into good writers. The encouragement that says, "there's a hint of something beautiful here--can you clear away the muck and polish it up, please?" can make all the difference.

    I'm glad to see it in your list.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ashley,

    I constantly fall in love with writers. Currently I am in a love triangle with Charles Dickens and Margaret Atwood. I get butterflies just thinking about that :)

    Thanks for saying it though (and right back at ya). Someone's got to love us when we rarely love ourselves.

    Vicky

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is touching, thought provoking, and inspiring.

    Successful writers can tickle my jealous bone. (That’s not meant to be a crude dismissal of them. I’m not saying, ‘all you successful writers can tickle my jealous bone’ as though it’s some sort of euphemism for ‘kiss my arse’ or ‘suck my pencil.’

    And hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rowan,

    I'm feeling the love here :-)

    Thanks for reading,

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  6. Big Ed,

    There's a bad writer lurking inside all of us. I think your thoughts there are spot on and I would never shy away from the idea of encouraging someone with the inclination to write to properly master the craft.

    Best,

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  7. Vicky,

    Dickens and Attwood? The reading list is quite eclectic for literature this year, isn't it? I'm glad I've been able to lower the lofty standard by introducing everyone to Richard Laymon ;-)

    Best,

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jeremy,

    I wrote that line hoping you were reading the blog this week. (I also wrote that I love writers, hoping you were reading the blog this week - but I figured you'd get a giggle out of the 'tickle my jealous bone' material).

    Best,

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ashley,

    I look forward to 2012 when I will have time to read the likes of Richard Laymon once more :)

    Vicky

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Ash. We love you too.

    Garce

    ReplyDelete
  11. A great twist on the topic, Ashley!

    I'm not sure I'm as generous as you are. I really can't love all writers...but I do respect anyone who makes the effort.

    I do, however, love you--and send a special kiss in thanks for the great Valentine's rhymes you penned for ERWA this month. Truly brilliant, my dear!

    XXXOOO,
    Lisabet

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cloelia,

    If you want to borrow any Richard Laymon titles in 2012, give me a shout and you can raid my library :-)

    Best,

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lisabet,

    I'd forgotten I'd written some poetry for ERWA this month.

    I've just had an email from a friend of mine who'd used one my poems to teach a class on modern literature (it was my modern take on Edgar Allen Poe's 'Annabel Lee') and she said it had cracked up the class she was teaching.

    Loving you right back xxx

    Best,

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a delightful post, Ashley. Thank you, and I love you too!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Emerald,

    I'm sure you knew I loved you before I wrote this ;-)

    Ash

    ReplyDelete