“Being a writer is an act of perpetual self-authorization”

Back in October, Harris Sockel posted a sort-of-love-letter-cum-book-recommendation on Creators Hub. I had never heard of the author (Verlyn Klinkenborg) or the title (Several Short Sentences About Writing), but Sockel’s devotion to the book came through, and I was intrigued.

Sockel wrote:

This book calms me down. It reminds me that writing is slow and difficult because it’s a technology humans invented to communicate with each other thousands of years ago — not something we do “naturally.”

I found a copy of Klinkenborg’s book on Libby, and I can see why someone would read and re-read this strange and wonderful book. There’s a hypnotic flow to the sentences — the kind of flow that Klinkenborg insists is cumbersome for the writer, while appearing effortless to the reader.

This paragraph resonated with me, as it hits on the theme of permission that I’ve been noticing and thinking about:

Who’s going to give you the authority to feel that what you notice is important?
It will have to be you.
The authority you feel has a great deal to do with how you write, and what you write,
With your ability to pay attention to the shape and meaning of your own thoughts
And the value of your own perceptions.
Being a writer is an act of perpetual self-authorization.
No matter who you are.

Like Sockel, I’m sure I’ll be reading this gem again.

Written by

Writer based in Brooklyn, NY.

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