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'The tactic of a secret bully'

13 July 2022

'In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It's an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want with veils of subordinate clauses and qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions-with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating - but there's no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer's sensibility on the reader's most private space.'

Joan Didion, author of 19 books including The Year of Magical thinking, Slouching towards Bethlehem, Play It As It Lays and The Panic in Needle Park.