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Why write when so many forces in the world seem pitched against writing?
Why write when it sometimes feels that so few people really read? I mean read slowly, tasting the words: read deliberately, as if their lives might be changed by what they’re reading.
Too often now the public reads for information, not enlightenment. People read to be brought up to date and put in the know. They want telegraphic bursts of prose. They want the words to be transparent, not artful or arresting. They need to get right to the truth, or failing that, directly to the facts. It can seem now that writing is a service: the writer dishes up information the way the counterman dishes lunch at the fast-food restaurant. In his worst moments, the writer feels that the world doesn’t really want writing: if by…
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