“leaving only desire”

My friend Corinne Duchesne, working on a painting, uses her hands to block off parts of the painting so that she can see what’s needed, what her eye desires.

The single best piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten remains Corinne’s “paint what you want to see”—”write what you want to read,” translated.

This advice removes questions about good/bad, fashionable/unfashionable, even about genre (“is this a poem?”) from the process of creation, leaving only desire, which is (I’m not going to say right) wonderful.

But these questions don’t go too far off. What, after all, forms what I want to see or read? Some things that I can’t control or select–news, weather, accidents, my childhood. But also some things that I do control or select–what I read or saw last, my fantasies, my friends, my shopping habits.

So: at all times I am forming the sensibility that makes my work. Nothing does not matter.


About lightseydarst

Originally from Tallahassee, Lightsey Darst writes, dances, writes about dance, and teaches in Minneapolis. Her book Find the Girl was published by Coffee House Press in April 2010, and her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She also hosts the writing salon “The Works”.
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2 Responses to “leaving only desire”

  1. Kevin Fenton says:

    I’ve always loved the idea of “write what you want to read” because it seems the most honest starting point, but I realized now it really is just a starting point. “Why do I want to read that?” is the interesting question, provided I don’t get too tangled up in it.

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