The Prompter Room

For Friday, July 21, 2017:

 

“‘A poet’s work,’ [the satirist, Baal] answers.  ‘To name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep.'”

Salman Rushdie, THE SATANIC VERSES (pg. 100)

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The Prompter Room

For Friday, March 11, 2016:

 

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.”

Truman Capote – McCall’s, November 1967

Once in a great while, I have heard that music as I write, and it is a wondrous thing.  I wish it happened more often, but I am grateful that it happens at all.  So it is a joy to read the words of other writers who obviously have that inner music.

Salman Rushdie’s newest book is such a one.  The dustcover blurb for his novel Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (2015) describes it as “an enduring testament to the power of storytelling” and “a spellbinding work … that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story.”   Rushdie takes the tales of 1001 Nights as his foundation to introduce the jinns of ancient times into the world of today and how the jinns’ lives and ours are inextricably interwoven, whether we know it or not.  The jinns do, of course, and therein lies the story, there are the stories.

I’m only about halfway through, but every time I pick up the book to read, I hear the bards of old in Rushdie’s words.  Like 1001 Nights, I want to hear this story spoken – nay, sung – aloud.

I keep trying to say more about this novel, but nothing feels right.  Everything I try to say seems to get in the way.  Let me just finish, then, with this: If you want to get caught up in a story that will challenge you, if you want to read words that will delight and sing to you, then find this book.  I think you will hear the music of the wind beneath a magic carpet.

 

The Prompter Room

For Sunday, November 8, 2015:

“Until you know who you are you can’t write.”

Salman Rushdie

Far be it from me to disagree with the venerable Rushdie, but I believe that we write, in part, to learn who we are as individuals and who we are in community.  A friend explains it this way:

“I write to mend/those places that got/snagged, ripped or frayed/while being human/with other humans …” (Erika Harris, empathicwriter.com, in “Why I Write,” 2014).

If I had waited to know who I am before I started to write, I’d never have put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.  I’d still be waiting.  Instead I’ve got drawers and portfolios and notebooks and stray pieces of paper full of my efforts to discover who I was at all the different stages of my life, who I am today, and — most important, I believe — who I am becoming.

This is not to say that we can’t be better writers as we progress in our craft and in our lives.  That’s something for which we must always strive.  But don’t wait.  Get to know who you are today, right now.  Discover and understand those around you better, make the world a better place because of your words.  Write something now.  Today.