Intrusive Writer Syndrome

Earlier this month, the latest issue of my writers’ association’s journal dropped onto the coir mat behind my uPVC door. As I do, I skimmed through the table of contents and flipped through the pages. One article caught my attention and I sank into the chair at the breakfast table. I’m not revealing the association or the author or the title of the article, sorry, but this subject knocked me off my pedestal.

How can a writer not intrude on her own story? Isn’t that what we are all about? Isn’t that why we read? Isn’t that why readers pick up a book? If we are not in our work, what value does the work have?

Did Vermeer paint without his vision and personality encroaching on the subject matter of his work? When you experience Picasso’s Las Meninas, are you only allowed to see two women and a girl or is it Picasso’s interpretation of this celebrated scene that is most important? Could Van Gogh have seen the sunflower without his dark depression forcing the issue? I doubt we would be inspired to stare into the depths of these works if we were not looking for ourselves inside and to make that invaluable connection with the creator.

Listening to Mozart, are we meant to be deaf to his agonizing desperation? Would Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73, Second Movement: Adagio Un Poco Mosso move us without the underlying sadness and hope of the composer enhancing our listening pleasure?

Tarantino, Stone, Lucas, Speilberg, Kubrick, Welles et al – do we expect them to make their films without stamping their ideas all over the images?

Writing without personality, vision, opinion, commitment, emotion all creeping in to flavor and dismay, delight and mystify is inconceivable. What is the point?  We may as well not write at all.

Don’t we lose interest in books that have no personality? Don’t we cease writing a story when we can’t find the spark of our own inspiration?

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