Martin Amis passes away, aged 73. A poignant moment and one that causes some reflection. After all, I am the same age :-). Martin grew up with well-established writers in both his parents; I was fortunate to have a father who loved writing, taught creative writing, and had his short stories published. Anyway, back to Martin.
In the prelude to his new autobiographical novel, “Inside Story,” acclaimed writer Martin Amis shares an anecdote about speaking at an assembly at his daughter’s school. When he asked the adolescent audience how many of them wanted to become writers, he said nearly two thirds of the room raised their hands.
Amis wasn’t surprised at all by this. Amis believes a desire to write is innate in almost all of us, especially at that young age.
“I think that the urge to write is almost universal,” he said. “I think it is something that naturally coincides with adolescence. This desire you have to commune with yourself, and to take notes, and to write poems, that comes upon us when we become articulate in this new sense when we’re adolescent.”
The subtitle of Amis’ book is “How To Write” and he’s turned the structure of “Inside Story” into something akin to a literary mixtape.
When asked why he decided to go about putting the book together this way, Amis offers another lesson by gently admonishing that “why” is the wrong question to ask a writer. “‘Why?’ did you decide is usually the wrong verb, because in writing you make dozens of little decisions every page, but the big decisions are subconscious. They emerge with the force of instinct and not from the front of the brain, but from the back,” Amis said.