How I Have Grown As A Writer Essay

How I Have Grown As A Writer Essay-84
Descended from prosperity, Melville was compelled by circumstances to exchange the stability of home and family for a life among some of humanity’s most desperate characters: mutineers, deserters, common criminals.

Descended from prosperity, Melville was compelled by circumstances to exchange the stability of home and family for a life among some of humanity’s most desperate characters: mutineers, deserters, common criminals.

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Not that I always knew what I was doing, either as a writer or as a student of writing.

I am both a poet and a critic, which means that I only encourage distrust in both camps, with my critic friends wondering why I would wallow in something so messy and subjective as poetry and my poet friends wondering how I could possibly squander the precious time I might use for versifying on the crafting of footnotes.

The footnotes on which I spent so much time on were intended to guide the reader toward the many worthwhile books and essays on Melville’s personal history and on his writings and away from the inferior ones, but the text itself focuses on the life of his most intense self, that is, his writer-self: how it developed, how it functioned, how it reacted to success and failure.

The Melville book is the fourth and, unless circumstances convince me otherwise, the last in a series of books I have written, books that, though very different in subject manner, nonetheless are of quite similar construction.

I would like to think that I know a little bit about writing, in part because I have written professionally for more than two decades but mainly because I have studied other writers for roughly the same period of time.

And I have studied them in the way that yields the best results for the student, which is to say that not only have I read but also I have written about them.Strand is one of America’s preeminent poets yet is also the author of short fiction, children’s books, and essays; in addition he has edited anthologies and translated the works of other poets.What we see in each of these cases is dogged persistence matched with a consummate versatility.A career as a writer is highly inadvisable; like actors and musicians, most writers don’t succeed, and the ones who do still have to cope as much with failure as with success—and even success can be problematic, as the headlines tell us.What I have learned from my four subjects, though, and from Melville most definitively—so definitively that, as I say, I see no need to write another book of this sort—is that successful writers have two traits in common, no matter how different they may be otherwise. The second trait, and it is closely related to the first, is that they adapt.They deal with Reconstruction writer Grace King, with novelist Henry James, and with contemporary poet Mark Strand.Like this book on Melville, each of the others is also the biography of a career.23, 1895: “I take up my old pen again—the pen of all my old unforgettable efforts and sacred struggles. And I will.” And he did: in less than a decade he published what many consider his three greatest novels, works built largely around scene, dialogue, and other dramatic conventions he mastered during his “failed” foray into the theatre.(Incidentally, late in life James tried again to write plays, though with little more success than before.) But even more than these other writers, Melville demonstrated throughout his career an aggressive resistance to discouragement; when he found one door closed to him, he looked around until he found another that was open.The most radical view sees writers as history’s lucky ducks, figures who, possibly because so many of them were white and male, were in the right place at the right time—that is, in a place of privilege—and who therefore often represent nothing more than a culture’s most anti-democratic values.Neither of these views is satisfactory, because each assumes the writer’s passivity.

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