Why Write?: A Master Class on the Art of Writing and Why it Matters
If a memoir is “a guy talking to himself” as Mark Edmundson says in Why Write?, then Why Write? is very much like a conversation with Mark Edmundson.
His latest book imparts sage wisdom and random thoughts on the subject of writing. It is not the usual ten-step writing program that leads to publication. Comparisons are drawn between writing today and the struggles encountered by the greats: Shelley, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, Joyce, and a plethora of others. There is no promise of fame, fortune, or any of the usual window-dressing that the aspiring writer may associate with the craft. He warns of the distractions writers will encounter that can derail even the best of writing careers.
This is a seasoned veteran imparting straightforward advice, describing the requirements of serious writing.
Conversely, he inspires and encourages by providing the reasons that make writing worthwhile and rewarding, including, surprisingly, its benefits to the writer transitioning into his or her elder years. Just as diet and exercise must become part of a lifestyle and not a six-month journey, meaningful writing is a lifestyle and is not segmented into a slot marked “career.”