Writer’s Desk: Go Where the Action is

In the early 1970s, Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzman was preparing to document the most exciting (to that point) events of his life: the rise of popular leftist leader Salvador Allende. Still early in his career, Guzman was lucky to receive some advice from the great French director Chris Marker (La Jetée):

When you want to film a fire, you need to be in the place where the first flame is produced…

The same thing could be said about writing. Yes, it’s a lonely art and cannot be accomplished without spending a good part of your life alone at a keyboard. However, without getting out into and involving yourself in the world, what will you have to say?

Get close enough to the fire to feel its warmth. Then you can write about it.

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