The Post-Modern Elixir

From “My Basic Philosophy (as it comes to writing),” by Po Bronson:

Po Bronson writes inside this isolation chamber/"closet" to concentrate. I believe that writers don't have to be forged by some radical autobiographical experience. Rather, I believe writers shouldn't be romanticized. Most writers, rather unglamorously, are really just people who find some solace in expression. Combined with some tenacity, or refusal to give up, we spend years learning the skills of writing. One day we get published and expression becomes our profession. We continue to seek an elusive mastery of our art. What makes us good writers is our constant devotion to this craft, a willingness to keep learning. More tenacity.

We want authenticity in what we read. Authenticity is the post-modern elixir. In an age of lies and corruption—an age of irony and mass-marketed pop product—we have a longing, a craving, for authentic work, for authentic people. As a lazy shortcut, we've made the mistake of looking to the author's biography on the dust jacket as the stamp of authenticity. Authenticity is only properly earned on the written page.

When we tie a work's authenticity to a writer's autobiography, we are severely limiting our creativity. We cannot restrict our curiosity or creativity to that narrow spectrum of "things we've already experienced." Creative expression should never be handcuffed.

[Thanks Dyan!]