Some Random Thoughts on Voice (Or, Why Writing Programs and Workshops Aren’t Really Worth Your Time)

Last week I shared with you some of my thoughts about the works of John Updike, Richard Yates, and William Gaddis as representative of what I call the ‘Literature of Angst and Malaise.’ This week I want to examine the notion of ‘voice’ in one’s writing, what having a Voice really means, and how it is widely misunderstood.

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What Is Your Vision? The Literature of Malaise and Angst vs. the Literature of Redemption

Last week I shared with you some of my thoughts about what is wrong with American literature. This week I want to take a closer look at three American writers to see if their writing is transcendent (i.e. redemptive in the way David Foster Wallace used the word), or if they are part of the ‘Literature of Angst and Malaise.’

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What Is Wrong with American Literature? (Or Why Bob Dylan Was Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature)

Last week I shared with you some of my thoughts about finding the proper entry point into a story. This week I want to examine in broad strokes why I think American literature of the last fifty years has lost the power to impress the world.

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The Proper Entry Point

The name of this column is taken from Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel. The entire passage is as follows: “My dear, dear girl [. . .] we can’t turn back the days that have gone. We can’t turn life back to the hours when our lungs were sound, our blood hot, our bodies young. We are a flash of fire—a brain, a heart, a spirit. And we are three-cents-worth of lime and iron—which we cannot get back.”

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What Are the Origins of Great Fiction?

A note from the writer, Peter Damian Bellis: The name of this column is taken from Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel. The entire passage is as follows: “My dear, dear girl [. . .] we can’t turn back the days that have gone. We can’t turn life back to the hours when our lungs were sound, our blood hot, our bodies young. We are a flash of fire—a brain, a heart, a spirit. And we are three-cents-worth of lime and iron—which we cannot get back.”

Continue reading “What Are the Origins of Great Fiction?”