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Make. Perceive. Communicate.

Auden in 1946 for LIFE Magazine

Auden in 1946 for LIFE Magazine

I read this just now in A Twentieth Century Reader: Texts and Debates. It was written by Auden in 1938 for the introduction to The Oxford Book of Light Verse:

‘Behind the work of any creative artist there are three principal wishes:
the wish to make something;
the wish to perceive something, either in the external world of sense or the internal world of feeling;
and the wish to communicate these perceptions to others.’

I liked it very much because it is exactly how I feel. He went on to say:

‘Those who have no interest in or talent for making something, i.e. no skill in a particular artistic medium, do not become artists; they dine out, they gossip at street corners, they hold forth in cafés. Those who have no interest in communication do not become artists either, they become mystics or madmen.’

So we’re all mad, or gossipy diners, or artists. I wonder if I could fit everyone I know into just those three categories!

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I ‘made’ a 900 word story today, I felt something in my characters and I’ve submitted it to a competition because I’d like other people to read it and it just seemed a perfect fit. I quite like the thought of being a gossipy diner though!


  2. Peter Spenser #

    Oh, I think probably.


  3. Peter Spenser #

    And I have a thought to send back to you. It’s from fantasy author David Wisehart:

    “Creativity is like a snoring husband; it won’t let you sleep.”



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