If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talking about writing or themselves. ~ Lillian Helman
I came across this quote the other day and felt compelled to blog about it. I can see how someone might worry about a student's personal style or voice being influenced, but is that necessarily a bad thing? I think of the authors I've heard speak, as a child and as an adult. For me, that is the stuff dreams are made of - the excitement and motivation and awe that keep us going.
Just recently, I heard Chris Crutcher speak. I laughed, I cried, and I left there determined to work harder and to write better. Two years ago I met Brandon Mull, and I watched as the line at our local Borders wrapped its way through the store like the world's longest snake. While waiting 30 minutes in line (so my son could have his moment to drool) I thought to myself, Look at how many kids he has touched. That's what it's all about.
Isn't blogging exactly the kind of thing she warns against? What are we all doing if not seeking out other writers - "listening" to what they say about writing and themselves, about individual process, successes and failures? Young writers are no different. Like all of us, they crave motivation, encouragement, stories of success that reassure them dreams really CAN come true.
Maybe it's just me, having some kind of allergic reaction to this particular quote. What do you think?