October 28, 2014

Zadie Smith - Typing out the work of other writers

Zadie Smith said in a conversation with US cartoonist Chris Ware:
"I had the same feeling when I’m talking with other artists or writers who wrote a lot when they were teenagers and some how I didn’t do that at all. I maybe wrote about four stories throughout the whole of my adolescence and they were perfect copies, that’s what I did, I copied an Agatha Christie story or a PG Wodehouse story, sometimes to the extent of typing out the story itself and sometimes changing it one way or another but for some reason that was my main instinct… it’s reading that is the practice, it’s not writing. I was reading obsessively, all the time, forever, every day. And that’s where I think you learn to write. Not in the actual writing. The writing was an explosion of 18 years worth of reading all the time."

Hunter S. Thompson said:
"If you type out somebody's work, you learn a lot about it. Amazingly it's like music. And from typing out parts of Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald - these were writers that were very big in my life and the lives of the people around me - so yea I wanted to learn from the best I guess."
Intrestingly, the poet, artist, and film critic - Jacqueline Valencia - took up this practice of typing out the work ot literary greats. She explained here:
"From March 11, 2013 - Dec.6, 2013 I retyped the entirety A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce (http://goo.gl/9YZ8C) On Dec. 9, 2013 I am currently rewriting the entirety of Joyce's Ulysses by hand into a paper journal. *** Starting July 1st, 2013 I am currently retyping George Orwell's 1984 three paragraphs a day and consecutively adding paragraphs from the first story of The Wall Street Journal (at the time I read it) online from that day (including a drawn reproduction of the headline photo). (http://goo.gl/9XNJN)."

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