Monday, March 06, 2006

Every Writer a Thief

'Every writer is a thief, though some of us are more clever than others at disguising our robberies. The reason writers are such slow readers is that we are ceaselessly searching for things we can steal and then pass off as our own: a natty bit of syntax, a seamless transition, a metaphor that jumps to its target like an arrow shot from an aluminum crossbow.'
--from master essayist Joseph Epstein, the former editor of American Scholar, writing in The Weekly Standard.

UPDATE: Here's a nice overview, from the New York Observer's Media Mob column/blog, of the details of the real journalistic fabricators and plagiarists.


At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I agree.

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Chris McVetta said...


Very interesting stuff. Your posts make valid points - and make a writer THINK.

I am hoping to attend the Iowa Creative Writing Festival this summer - I know Cleveland does kind of the same thing at CSU - but it would be in their best interest to have you as a speaker/teacher/commentator. You bring up a lot of fascinating points with your posts.

Although you may have never seen the show "Lost" - it is also a fascinating study of different viewpoints forced to work together for a common goal - in order to survive.

I think it is a current issue going on with the current blend of talented writers "hashing it out" in Cleveland at the moment. I would like to hear them speak at Cleveland State as well. It would be a good thing.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I really hope you make it out to the Iowa program. I think it's important for writers to occasionally get the hell out of Dodge, away from their usual places and go be with other writers in a whole new place. The new surroundings will clear your head and help you see things better. I once got in a car and drove all the way to Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri for a writer's conference, and I've never regretted it.
CSU's Imagination conference, which I've always thought a bit overhyped and a lot overpriced, will always be here waiting for you when you return.


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