Thursday, February 06, 2020

The sea and literature …

… Waterlines: On Writing and Sailing | The New York Review of Books | Daily. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A boat, like a piece of writing, is first of all conceived as a structure. Whether it is a cargo ship, an ocean liner, a ferry, or a pleasure boat, each has a primary function, a part to play. Its purpose defines its size, its shape, and its overall dimensions. When I write, I proceed in the same manner. The form—short story, novel—must be fitting for the story I want to tell. Its architecture underpins the words. It is with this specific aim that I divide it up and seek a balance. Each part, each chapter, has its own function. Just as the engine powers the boat, as the bow cleaves through the waves, and the keel ensures the stability, even the shortest paragraph fulfils a certain purpose. In my case, the engineer endows the writer with a desire for efficiency.

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