Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A few things I know about Chuck Klosterman

  1. The Klosterman persona is not an act. It's truly the way he's trying to make sense of the world.
  2. He doesn't want to convince you that things are the way he says they are. He's condensing his own experiences into an argument primarily aimed at himself.
  3. His salient characteristic is passion. He cares deeply about his subjects. Which is why I respond to his writing, and which is why people who believe it's all some sort of ironic hipster pose are so completely off the mark.
  4. He doesn't care about criticism per se. He cares about music and sports, and he cares about writing, and the union of the two happens to be criticism.
  5. His first golden rule of good writing is: Be interesting. This means that you should make your reader care about your subject, if not as much as you do, at least more than they did before they started reading.
  6. His second golden rule of good writing is: Be entertaining. Try to find a way to infuse the spirit of what you're writing about into your writing. Make the experience of reading your writing similar in some way to the experience of what you're writing about.
  7. His third golden rule of good writing is: Be clear. Writing is a communicative art. If you are not getting your ideas across to your reader, you are failing. Great writing communicates the complex with such transparency that it seems like a revelation.
  8. He used to care about making lists and ranking things, but not so much anymore.
  9. He believes that everyone has an authentic self that their writing, if it's good, will express. He therefore doesn't think you can learn to write well by reading the writing of other authors with strong, unique voices. This can only lead to an attempt to imitate them, to the detriment of the discovery of your own voice.
  10. He tries to illuminate attitudes and perspectives on particular phenomena by grabbing metaphors from every part of life and piling them on almost indiscriminately. Somewhere in the world of publicly accessible examples -- from movies, music, sports, history, celebrity culture, books, whatever -- is the key that will unlock the private mystery of an internal life, and render it transferable to another mind.


Eric Grubbs said...

Thanks for sharing this, Donna. Those are ten good reasons why I like his approach and his writing.

Kza said...

*Thank* you. Especially #3.

the secret knitter said...

Interesting stuff. I suppose I ought to read something he's written other than his "Chinese Democracy" review.