Staff Profiles

Patrick West


The best writing is unpredictable writing

I am interested in writing across many different genres-the short story, literary journalism, the personal essay, documentary and fictional screenplays, poetry. Following the lead of writers such as Janet Frame, I regard all writing, regardless of its genre, as an 'experiment' in thought and affect. As well as being wary of rigid genre categorizations, I am also suspicious of many of the words that have come to be associated with the practice of what is so often, perhaps less than usefully, called 'creative writing'. 'Creativity' itself, I think, is fast becoming a worn-out term, similarly 'imagination' and 'self-expression'. What's wrong simply with writing? This word contains universes.

One advantage of treating all writing as an experiment is that the scaffolding of writing, the terms we surround it with, itself comes under scrutiny. For as much as it may generate meaning, any given piece of writing may equally strip away layers of meaning, clearing the way to fresh understandings of the word and the world. The best writing is unpredictable writing, not unpredictable as in lacking rigor but unpredictable in that it doesn't end up where the reader, or for that matter the writer, thought it would.

Writing always seeks its own path. Writers must be modest enough to trail along behind writing, at least some of the time, gathering up and arranging the discoveries of language, embellishing what only writing itself is able to uncover.

Yet writers must also be bold.

In a word then, be bold!

thumbnail image - cover - The World Swimmers Book launch 28 September 2011



Copyright Deakin University Home SCCA home Feedback
Short Cuts
course enquiry

go to Evolutions web site