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Category: Wliiam Giraldi

Truth be told

“Language doesn’t lie. A cliché can’t hide itself. Platitudes can’t pretend to be meaningful. Solecisms can’t convince you they are something else. Easy verbs and indolent adjectives will never have potency. An assault of the quotidian will never be intellectually charismatic. You can’t dress up sentimentality as emotional truth. No amount of rouge will ever camouflage rhetoric and sophistry. Propaganda and dogma will always reek of immorality.  Defenders of the middling and bland might try to counter with the tired retort, ‘He’s not a good writer but he’s a good storyteller,’ which is rather like saying, ‘His food tastes like shit but he’s a good cook.’ Is he not telling the story with sentences? If the sentences are broken how does the story work?” — William Giraldi, “Letter to a Young Critic”


To tell the truth

“The problem isn’t that MFA programs homogenize fiction, or that they churn out novelists the way Detroit churns out automobiles, but that they make publication seem like every writer’s apotheosis. The publication of a book doesn’t ipso facto turn the author into an artist—the book’s mind and language have to be original and bold. Literature isn’t a children’s foot race; you don’t a get a medal simply for participating. MFA programs are useful because they allow what every writer needs most: time. But they can be poisonous in their system of false approval—a completely truthful instructor, herself fresh from an MFA, won’t stay employed very long—and in the outsized expectations they foster in their flocks.” — William Giraldi, “Letter to a Young Critic”

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