Authors on Writing: Metaphors and Intellectual Labor by B. Tomlinson

By B. Tomlinson

Drawing on a few 3,000 released interviews with modern authors, Authors on Writing: Metaphors and highbrow exertions unearths new methods of conceiving of writing as highbrow hard work. Authors' metaphorical tales approximately composing spotlight now not inside worlds yet socially located cultures of composing and apparatuses of authorship. via an unique approach to analyzing metaphorical tales, Tomlinson argues that writing is either somebody task and a collective perform, a solitary job that is determined by wealthy, sustained, and intricate social networks, associations, and ideology. This new e-book attracts upon interviews with writers together with: Seamus Heaney, Roald Dahl, Samuel Beckett, Bret Easton Ellis, John Fowles, Allen Ginsburg, Alice Walker and Gore Vidal.

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Rather than seeing inspiration and illumination as standing for the whole of writing processes, we can see them as punctuating moments in the continuing engagement with discourse that makes up composing. We can then see inspiration and illumination stories as they are instantiated in the interviews: as stories of rare moments, or as stories embedded in other stories that emphasize composing as embodied labor and discursive sociality. For example, Geoffrey Hill uses an inspiration story that situates itself as also a story of labor.

Socially derived and approved knowledge consists of sets of instructions (Schutz, 1962)—in this case, instructions for going about writing, but also for thinking and talking about one’s writing. Instructions establish what people should expect to experience as they write, helping them interpret their metacomposing experiences coherently and memorably. Instructions provide writers with explanatory frames of reference for understanding and remembering their writing activities. 7 By means of these frames of reference writers can perceive and evaluate information from their writing experiences, integrate new understandings with previous knowledge, and communicate their conceptions of the writing process.

Many metaphorical stories of writing, including stories of labor and sociality that I examine in Chapters 4 and 5, focus on one task or another in writing. Metaphors of collecting and accretion, for example, represent writing in early stages, before the author might claim to be “writing,” but are also persistent, cyclical, rhythmic. … inspiration … having me accumulate the known materials for an unknown structure. (1980, p. 4 Task-oriented stories are probably the most common kind of metaphorical stories of the intellectual work of writing.

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