"Look, before we go on, I want to say a little more about craft. It is a grab bag of procedures, tricks, lore, formal gymnastics, symbolic superstructures—methodology, in short. It’s the compendium of what you’ve acquired from others. And since great writers communicate a vision of existence, one can’t usually borrow their methods. The method is married to the vision. No, one acquires craft more from good writers and mediocre writers with a flair. Craft, after all, is what you can take out whole from their work. But keeping in shape is something else."
Norman Mailer (via theparisreview)
Thought about James Wood’s words on Zadie Smith’s NW when I read this.
"Last Christmas, standing in an apartment building in New York, I was struck by a hallway where papier-mâché Stars of David and holy crosses came together in a decorative seasonal theme. Here these “people of the book” (whose religious texts overlap and divide as deeply as either text with the Koran) lived peaceably in the same space, finding one another’s religions by turns amusing, irrational, beautiful, banal. What enabled it? It took generations; it passed through periods of unspeakable horror; sometimes people forgot, sometimes they forgave, and they did both these things imperfectly. Practical matters helped. General economic parity, difficult acts of good will on both sides, and a democratic country in which the apparently impossible has the freedom to happen. It is not a perfect relationship—there’s no such thing—and it took two thousand years to get this far. We forget: these things take time. “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., who presided over another meeting of supposedly irreconcilable peoples. Not everyone is a monster."
— Zadie Smith | Monsters | New Yorker