Writing is Entertainment

Colum McCann > Letters to Young Writers > Writing is Entertainment

Never forget that it is entertainment. (Be wary of those who say that Nietzsche is pretentious, but sit up and take notice when he says that we have art so that we shall not die of too much reality!) This is not to deny that the world can so often be a terrible place. But that’s no great revelation. Just about everyone knows that. Go through the despair. Go deeper than the despair. Yes, it is your duty to reflect the world, but it’s also your duty to bring a bit of brightness to it too. Go down the dark places. Bring a flaming torch. It is art, after all. Make it colourful at least. Make it funny. Don’t remain on one note. Shake it up. To do this we have to keep ourselves open to all possibilities. Be interested in meaningful ones, not happy ones. Work hard. Go over your words over and over again. The best writing makes us sit up and take notice. It makes us glad that we are – however briefly – alive.