Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The sculptress

Why do we write stories? And not articles or diaries? So many words have been written about what drives a short story - whose are classical, whose are effective or trendy, whose deliver the most powerful punch. And how hard is it to better the works of Katherine Mansfield, Hemmingway, Chekov, Carver? Why even bother? Why dare to think your works could be valid, or quixotic or admired?

African traditional sculptors work within the parameters given to them by their ancestors. A Baule woman will always have an elongated body, her arms stuck to her sides, her hair divided into bunches, her breasts two prongs. Within this form, the artist will choose a particular grain of wood, will push the sculpture out of this, making a work that differs little from what is known, but it is different.

And what is there of human nature that we do not already know? What have we not yet discovered of the strains of life we all share? What on earth can there be that is not original?

And yet we write, we feel it hammering, we build, we sit back.

I still believe it is worth it.

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