Posts Tagged ‘On Writing’

Barthelme and the writing dead[and how they can write better]

In Gupter Puncher/Oli Johns on January 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm



The ideal state of the critic, for Barthelme, is confusion…”

Donald Barthelme is dead, but not spent.

We’ll begin with the first tip and work our way workman-like to the last:

1] ‘No two sentences should be alike.’

A decent point. At its peak, we get a story like that one he did with King Kong. [He [KK] climbed through a window into a cocktail party of academics] Or his reworking of Snow White. If you haven’t read it, Snow White is a slut, living and sleeping with the dwarfs in a New York tenement or building. [Tenement – definition?] The Prince spies on her from a bunker underground. And the wicked witch goes through the phone book and tells strangers how easy it is to get their numbers.

But actually…more than two sentences in this are alike…not the exact same sentence, but similar…

A correction to this: [If Barthelme were alive again and could think the same way he thought before]…

no two ideas should be alike.

This makes more sense. No two pages of Snow White are twins.

Maybe there’s more to write about this one? More than two sentences…it’s a call to innovation, isn’t it? But how do we have this debate? Read the rest of this entry »