Thursday, July 31, 2008


The internet is an amazing, sprawling thing. In the past 24 hours, I've added 2 new blogs to my list that I check daily: Hayden's Ferry Review and Kenyon Review. I like the trend of journals turning to blogging. There is often such a long lag-time between issues, and there is so much potential for posting extras. I just can't keep up with who is out there. These two blogs have been in existence for quite awhile without my discovery.

In a post yesterday on the Kenyon Review blog, Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky brings up the ever present debate about talent, craft, and hard work. Are writers/artists born or made? Can we teach an art to someone born without instant talent? In his introduction, he says, "Good writing can come from talent or craft or plain hard work, but great writing requires all three." Then, later, as he proposes the long view of building on talent/will/desire to create/etc. through careful practice, he imagines a student disappointed by a tough critique in workshop. This is Lobanov-Rostovsky's response to the student:

"It’s not that 'we just don’t get it.' You just didn’t get it right! But no worries, mate, because you don’t have to prove yourself a genius by writing a perfect first draft. Geniuses revise. (I’m having that printed on a t-shirt as we speak.) And your first book won’t be your best book. You’ll mature; you’ll ripen. You’re not a morning glory, but a slow-growing vine. Only your author photo will remain unchanged as the years pass."

I love it! "Geniuses revise." My new motto.

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