Part I: What it means to be an accessible writer
…Poets in our civilization, as it exists at present, must be difficult. Our civilization comprehends great variety and complexity, and this variety and complexity, playing upon a refined sensibility, must produce various and complex results. The poet must become more and more comprehensive, more allusive, more indirect, in order to force, to dislocate if necessary, language into his meaning.
– T.S. Eliot, ‘On the Metaphysical Poets’, first published in the Times Literary Supplement, October 1921
No apple pie; that postcard is just about the most ‘American’ item I own (It’s a collage titled ‘I Was A Rich Man’s Plaything’, 1924, by Eduardo Paolozzi)
“I don’t understand it.”
“It’s just not very accessible.”
I’m often told either/both about my writing: the content eludes, the style obscures, the tone inflates. Jen, piss off with your pretentious patter, please; that self-indulgent bombast of yours, eugh.
Three years ago, my slightly more defensive self would have dismissed these as ad hominem remarks, purposely made to make me feel bad about myself because WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T WRITE WORTH SHIT. These days though, I tend to take them on board as instructive feedback. I’ve never been a sucker for clichés, but it takes two to tango, and so goes the relationship between a writer and his/her readers, I guess.
Or maybe now that my readers are no longer college tutors paid to hear students spew feel-good BS on a weekly basis, but real people in real life, I’ve come to be more aware of my stylistic quirks and flaws.