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Atwood: the world grows around you

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Writing seems to have this increasingly outward-looking psychological mechanism–Margaret Atwood says that writing encourages a natural progression beyond one’s first hopes in art and beyond one’s narrow self:

The third period [of my writing] runs from 1976 … to the present [1982]. It covers my growing involvement with human rights issues, which for me are not separate from writing. When you begin to write, you deal with your immediate surroundings; as you grow, your immediate surroundings become larger. There’s no contradiction.

When you begin to write you’re in love with the language, with the act of creation, with yourself partly; but as you go on, the writing–if you follow it–will take you places you never intended to go and show you things you would never otherwise have seen. I began as a profoundly apolitical writer, but then I began to do what all novelists and some poets do: I began to describe the world around me. (“Introduction,” Second Words 14-15)

It would be interesting to see if we could trace this progression in different writers using different genres, including the new social media.

  1. Janet Kelley
    April 4, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Have you read Atwood’s take on Twitter? It’s on the New York Review Blog, March 29th.

  2. April 21, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Here is the link to the Atwood piece about Twitter: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/mar/29/atwood-in-the-twittersphere/

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