Sunday, August 3, 2014

Metaphors for writing

Walter Benjamin:

Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.

One-Way Street, in “One-Way Street” and Other Writings, trans. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter (London: NLB, 1979).
This three-part model reminds me of Betty S. Flower’s four-part model for the work of the writer: madman, architect, carpenter, judge. Flowers’s madman and architect are more or less Benjamin’s composer; her carpenter is his builder. Flowers’s carpenter and judge share the work of Benjamin’s weaver. I think.

What all good writers know is that the work of writing is many kinds of work, not to be attempted all at once.

A related post

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