…please tell anyone you know in the writing game that I’m too selfish to be of use to anyone. If you photocopy this letter and pass it around I will think it a favor.
That handwriting! Exquisite. I want to copy every letter.
I’d never heard of Gray or his work until a few years ago, when Elizabeth McCracken (author of Bowlaway, and, not coincidentally, Edward’s wife) sent me this charming video of him talking about his writing and art:
“I couldn’t make a living by either of them,” he said, “so the writing helped the painting and the painting helped the writing.”
I particularly loved his response to the ever-worn-out question, “Can writing be taught?”
Of course! I couldn’t write before I was was taught! That’s why they give it to you in primary schools. Writing and speaking are things that have to be learned first. Some people at a certain stage think that they don’t have to learn any more. If you’re very interested in words then you try to keep on learning more. And the best way, of course, is by reading other writers. Good ones! Or even bad ones are better than none to begin with.
Delightful video. Do watch.
Related reading: Edward Carey at the APL