The Meaning of ‘Write What You Know’

Here’s a nice, quick video from Nathan Englander, author of the short story collections What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank and For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, among other things. Englander, who grew up in suburbia without thrilling adventures was worried that he’d have nothing of substance to write about. Sometimes, I feel the same way. I haven’t had much turmoil in my life, or if I’ve had it, I’ve gotten over it and it doesn’t affect my psyche much. I’m not depressed, I’m not an alcoholic. I haven’t been married or conversely divorced — nor suffered any of the anguish that goes along with it. I don’t have children who break my heart. I live a happy life in a wonderful neighborhood with an adorable dog and a fantastic man. So what the hell am I supposed to write about? Here Englander explains that the age-old writing advice “write what you know” isn’t about necessarily having experienced tragic events, it’s about universal emotions — like longing, even if it’s for an Atari 2600 game console. via Andrew Sullivan

p.s. I have family visiting for the holiday so my blogging will be sporadic this week. Look for more regular posts starting the week of July 9. Happy Independence Day!

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