A Hot-Eyed Moderate: Essays by Jane Rule

By Jane Rule

The essays during this inspiring assortment research the craft of writing and the paintings of dwelling and loving Jane Rule stocks her insights into the artistic procedure, sexual constancy, feminist politics, and the transformative strength of affection. half I & mdash; & ldquo;On Writing & rdquo; & mdash;dispenses recommendation (writing is & ldquo;a craft that needs to be practiced & rdquo;); bargains observations (& ldquo;The inventive approach in  Read more...

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By Jane Rule

The essays during this inspiring assortment research the craft of writing and the paintings of dwelling and loving Jane Rule stocks her insights into the artistic procedure, sexual constancy, feminist politics, and the transformative strength of affection. half I & mdash; & ldquo;On Writing & rdquo; & mdash;dispenses recommendation (writing is & ldquo;a craft that needs to be practiced & rdquo;); bargains observations (& ldquo;The inventive approach in  Read more...

Show description

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Extra resources for A Hot-Eyed Moderate: Essays

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Whatever the choice, a certain detachment, aesthetic distance is necessary. Without it, the courage and ruthlessness of the autobiographical writer can become nothing more than vengeful self-indulgence. The clever inventions of fantasy must serve a deeper insight or be found empty tricks. The social realist can turn shallow propagandist. No matter is safe from mean use. None is beneath wonder. All choices are personal and justified only after they have been proven. As a writer, I have discovered my subject matter in the world we share in common, that is, what we all may experience as distinct from what I experience either in my unique life (autobiography) or my unique imagination (fantasy), though there are certainly elements of both in my work.

Only a fraction of what Anaïs Nin wrote has finally been published, carefully selected and edited in her old age, which provides a critical distance very useful for tempering past excesses of enthusiasm or rage, self love or self pity. Autobiography of the sort written and immediately published is, by far, the most difficult. One way writers avoid presenting a self so inflated as to block out even the immediate landscape is to take their experience more seriously than they do themselves. James Baldwin in Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name asks his readers to understand that what happens to him happens to black people.

I not only didn’t object to this instruction, I reveled in it. Even in my teens I identified myself as a writer, and I badly wanted to learn just those skills close analysis of a passage of prose or poetry taught. Since I also already knew I was a lesbian, I certainly didn’t want future critics of my work prying into what was then my private life or my psyche to do it. Letting Shakespeare, Milton, and even Dante off those hooks was a small enough price to pay for my own protection. “Form is content,” I preached to my students in my turn.

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