Stephen Kuusisto posted an insightful take on writing workshops today. Though I have had the good fortune not to encounter those workshop leaders “who want to wave from a considerable height,” his words (and those of St. Augustine) ring true with regard to the conviviality necessary to have a meaningful discussion of art. Sobriety is for the sciences; with aesthetics one must dance around a little in the bacchanal of subjectivity. In this game, stimulation trumps pronouncements, and questions beat answers hands-down.
I had the privilege of hearing Stephen Kuusisto, the remarkable writer, blind since birth, indict us writers for not listening well enough. He rightly pointed out that images have dominated contemporary writing, at the expense of other senses, since Hemingway’s time. He has generously posted the text of this insightful and moving talk, which he spoke to us flawlessly and compellingly, only seconds after hearing it in his earbud, synthesized in a robotic voice. You can read the complete text, with comments, on his blog. Enjoy!