Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Nobody wants to offend. In my case there may be ways of phrasing that would sidestep the deep disappointment that I feel. Having read a lot of the journalism — specifically profiles — of this particular writer, and also having read half of a memoir and a few pages of a novel, both by the same author, I feel disappointed. The writing in these last two works is wooden, opaque, self-conscious and uninspiring. The profiles, on the other hand, are interesting, witty, brisk and satisfying.

For my final assignment this semester I'm going to write about a piece by this author. To get more info, I plan to contact her at some point to talk about her work, how she got started in journalism — she's been at it since her late teens — and how she feels about writing profiles.

So I want to avoid mentioning the works I can't stand: the memoir and the novel, because they are truly dreadful. It's amazing that they emanate from the same pen that drafted the profiles. You wouldn't pick it in a million years.

Avoiding this topic is my aim. But what if it comes up?

3 comments:

Aesthetic said...

Any author should appreciate (if not like) constructive and fair criticism.

Meredith said...

Aesthetic, I disagree - writers are an arrogant, overly-sensitive lot. And anyway, Dean's purpose in the inteview is not to offer a critique but to gather material for his own work.

Dean, I reckon you just go in there with set questions about the profiles. If "the other" work is mentioned, you just nod politely and then skillfully guide the conversation back to your topics. It's your interview, after all.

Dean said...

I'm a tad anxious. The other stuff is so bad it's not even funny. She's only a few years younger than me, so we'll quickly cut to the chase. I really only want background material and a few quotes to pepper my essay with.