Look Outward, Writer

Here’s a lovely reminder that writers need to turn outward, not just inward.  In writing about “the other,” one writes the self.

“We think that to find ourselves we need turn inward, examining the intricacies of origin, the shaping forces of personality.  But ‘I’ is just as much to be found in the world; looking outward, we experience the one who does the seeing.  Say what you see and you experience yourself through your style of seeing and saying.”

That quote is by Mark Doty in Still Life with Oysters and Lemon

Still Life with a Glass and Oysters
Jan Davidsz de Heem (Dutch, Utrecht 1606–1683/84 Antwerp)


Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Memoir writing theory

14 responses to “Look Outward, Writer

  1. I like it. I need to look outward more. We started this blog at the advice of a counselor. She wanted Barry and I to stop holding things in. She said we needed a place to get our feelings out about everything we are going through. I have discovered I do not need to post when I am upset. I’ve started writing my congressman with complaints! Nice post!…..Jill…xo

    • lucewriter

      Hahaha, I love that about writing your congressman. Yes, that’s what they are for! I’m glad you started your blog BTW because that’s how I met you! This idea of looking outward for writing is wonderful, I think, because it helps get us out of ourselves and yet when we write about something else, we are also expressing our own selves, too.

  2. I love this — it gives us a whole new perspective

  3. So true. What any character or narrator observes characterizes him or her.

  4. free penny press

    Love the quote and such a good reminder that “out there” can be so much more to the story. 🙂

    • lucewriter

      I’m so glad you liked the quote–I thought it was great, too! I have to remind myself periodically to look outside!

  5. A good reminder indeed. As an introvert, I tend to look inward. But none of us can walk alone.

  6. What an utterly ravishing, blissful picture… exquisite… fills my heart to bursting… thank you

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