Stephen Watson was born 6 November 1954, and died 10 April 2011
- A person writes so much about a place not because he belongs, but because he wants to belong. He writes about a city, seeking out its hidden coordinates, the substructures that might define it – the character of its light, the dryness of its stone – not only because instinctively, as the American writer Flannery O’Connor once put it, that ‘if you are going to write you’d better have somewhere to come from’
- The writer belongs to the world; but only by belonging to himself first of all. (In some cases, doubtless, last of all as well.) And this is, in good part, his ethical problem as a human being, as well as a writer.
- Real writing begins where ideology ends, in that silence on the far side of it, where, for whatever reason, the structures provided by an ideology prove no longer adequate to the nature of our experience … Real writing does attest to the fact that we are not totally entwined in the tentacles of an ideology, as some theorists would have it. Implicitly, it provides us with one of the best arguments we have in support of the belief that, however constrained we might be, however monolithic the controls over our lives might appear to be, we nevertheless do possess a margin of freedom which is inalienable. Any real creativity attests to this. The end of art, according to my view, is the defeat of ideology and ideological thinking.
Stephen Watson was a South African creative writing teacher, poet and critic. He edited A City Imagined and wrote The Music In The Ice: on writers, writing & other things.
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