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The Right to Write – A NYT article

July 2, 2014

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Here’s how Roxana Robinson begins her article, The Right to Write, in New York Times:

I sat on a panel once with another novelist and a distinguished African-American critic, to discuss Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The critic said, “Of course, as a white woman, Stowe had no right to write the black experience.” The other novelist said lightly, “No, of course not. And I had no right to write about 14th-century Scandinavians. Which I did.”

The exchange made me wonder: who has the right to our stories?

She also goes on to ask:

Who owns the story, the person who lives it or the person who writes it?

 

This is how Robinson concludes her piece, and I could not agree more. 

A writer is like a tuning fork: We respond when we’re struck by something. The thing is to pay attention, to be ready for radical empathy. If we empty ourselves of ourselves we’ll be able to vibrate in synchrony with something deep and powerful. If we’re lucky we’ll transmit a strong pure note, one that isn’t ours, but which passes through us. If we’re lucky, it will be a note that reverberates and expands, one that other people will hear and understand.

You really should read the whole post.

Image credit: vistage.com.my

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