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The Six Motives of Creativity: Mary Gaitskill on Why Writers Write | Brain Pickings

The Six Motives of Creativity Mary Gaitskill on Why Writers Write Brain Pickings

Why do writers — great writers — write?George Orwell attributed it to four universal motivesJoan Didion saw it as access to her own mind. For David Foster Wallace, it wasabout funMichael Lewis ascribes it to the necessary self-delusions of creativityJoy Williams found in it a gateway from the darkness to the light. For Charles Bukowski, it sprang from the soul like a rocketItalo Calvino found in writing the comfort ofbelonging to a collective enterprise. ForSusan Orlean, it comes from immutable love.


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Quoting Nabokov’s famous words — “Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story there is a shimmering go-between. That go-between, that prism, is the art of literature.” — Gaitskill reflects on that ability to give shape to the ineffable as the essence of storytelling:

Stories mimic life like certain insects mimic leaves and twigs. Stories are about all the things that might’ve, could’ve, or would’ve happened, encrowded around and giving density and shape to undeniable physical events and phenomena. They are the rich, unseen underlayer of the most ordinary moments.

So essentially there are many reasons why writers write. And a lot of them are good reasons.

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