write in short declarative sentences because he thinks simplicity
and directness a moral as much as an aesthetic virtue. He may under-write
with the complacency of the over-writers of other eras, or he may
over-write with the faith that the wider he casts his net, the more
likely he'll catch something that at least looks true~slippery fish!
. . .
However he writes~simply or elaborately, in gruff Anglo-Saxon or silken
latinism~he uses style and syntax, vocabulary and grammar as tools,
or weapons, to capture reality~of circumstance, of personality, the
hidden thoughts and more deeply hidden feelings, the dark heart, in
every person, the traumas and farces of human relationships.
What is odd is that, for all his effective writing, he may be haunted
by a fear (and the fear can deepen with the very power of the writing)
that, no matter how careful he is, no matter how conscientious, at
bottom he's something of a fraud~that, far from capturing "truth,"
he has simply created one more convincing deception. He wonders if
he isn't just a better liar than other people, or other writers. If
he has a conscience he may feel guilty; may even go back over his
writing like an especially unforgiving editor, and test it~not for
literary effectiveness but by that tougher and exacting, that
more perilous, standard: truthfulness.
More perilous, the reader may well wonder? Isn't truthfulness
what writing, in the end, is all about? How can making a piece of
writing more truthful be "perilous"?
To which I will only suggest, like the serpent in the garden: "What
if the point of literary writing never was truthfulness,