Wisława Szymborska on Learning to Write from Life

Wisława Szymborska in Literary Hub:

A young musician attends the conservatory, a young artist studies at the academy, but the young writer has nowhere to go. You view this as an injustice. Not so. Schools for musicians and painters provide first and foremost technical knowledge you’d be hard pressed to acquire on your own in relatively short order. What is the writer to learn at his institute? Any ordinary school is all it takes to push a pen across the page. Literature holds no technical secrets, or at least secrets that can’t be plumbed by a gifted amateur (since no diploma will help the talentless). It’s the least professional of all artistic callings. You may take up writing at twenty or seventy. You may be a professor or an autodidact. You may skip your high school diploma (like Thomas Mann) or receive honorary doctorates at multiple universities (again like Mann). The road to Parnassus is open to all. In principle at least, since genes have the final say.

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