Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why writing is like jazz

It's what we aspire to, and why we write and, I hope, why we read: the leap of the heart when it encounters something as perfect as this:
"The only thing to do, it seems to me, is to try for clarity, and stop worrying about it. Telling these stories is a delight it would be a pity to spoil by anxiety. An enormous relief and pleasure, like the mild air that refreshes the young count when he lies down to rest in "The Goose Girl at the Spring", comes over the writer who realises that it's not necessary to invent: the substance of the tale is there already, just as the sequence of chords in a song is there ready for the jazz musician, and our task is to step from chord to chord, from event to event, with all the lightness and swing we can. Like jazz, storytelling is an art of performance, and writing is performance too. "
Philip Pullman in today's Guardian, writing about the joys of retelling the tales of the Brothers Grimm. Some fascinating historical stuff about them as well. Read it all here.