Essay I: Coming to be

Why write? Aside from the business of writing, in which the writer is an extension of corporate will, why write?

Those called to writing feel it is a way to know themselves as individual selfs. There is a powerful feeling of self-understanding involved.

The self is not a thing but a be-ing. More like an action, a happening.

It happens for the writer in the writing.

Whatever else the writing does —- and it may accomplish any number of things —- it embodies the writer’s ownmost incarnation to be. It is this particular writer’s sign of coming to be.

Lu Chi: When cutting an axe handle with an axe,/ surely the model is at hand. // Each writer finds a new entrance / into the mystery, / and it is difficult to explain.

The writer’s self emerges with the truth, the form, of the flesh of her writing.

The writer’s ‘coming to be’ involves her in the flesh. ‘Flesh is the porosity on the threshold of wording. In the flesh the porosity of being comes to aesthetic wording.’ IU 255.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

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