The Power of a Great Mentor

Posted: March 30, 2014 by jamieschaffner in Uncategorized

From Andrea Arnold

For six years, Les taught me to be honest on the page and that writing was about emotions. The first piece of advice he’d given me was: “Think about what you’re committing to paper.” That is, every word counts. I can still hear his throaty cigarette-burned voice in my head: cut, more faster, pay attention, don’t be redundant.

I’ve often heard the craft of writing described as slicing open your flesh and bleeding on the page, as killing babies, darlings, et al, the implication being that it’s something of a brutal, ugly, masochistic endeavor for the sad, the angry, the messed up artists whose hearts are too wounded for any other type of work, who can’t work well with others, who are—eek—introverts. Maybe. But if I ever tried to romanticize it in Les’s presence, he would say “Aw, boohoo,” or “Oh, brother,” just as he would have to anyone who’d written something self-indulgent or with forced sentimentality. Continued…

  1. Janet Fitch says:

    Beautiful, Andrea. I’ll treasure this.

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