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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Image of Yourself As Writer


Following up a theme I've developed here recently, I'd like you to visualize your image of yourself as a writer.

Roland Barthes talks about André Gide and the image of the writer, a kind of conventionalized topos that, according to Barthes, was a little old-fashioned: he couldn't imagine a young kid wanting to grow up and emulate Gide. If you look at Woody Allen's recent picture "Midnight in Paris," you see a kind of image-repertoire of the writer in cartoonish form.

The point here is that you might carry in your mind a stereotype that doesn't correspond to your own identity. You might not have a tweed jacket with elbow patches, or be able to picture yourself in one. I certainly couldn't. You have to imagine yourself as a writer, and that might entail a revision of your image of what a writer looks like.

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