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Thursday, 11 February 2016

WRITERS ON WRITING #77: Elizabeth Jane Howard


I have a power, a little beyond me, to design a certain type of communication for people who have not got this power.  I can show them a certain sense of proportion –– give them some balance –– which is all that a design is for –– to put something in its right place in relation to whatever lies on either side of it.  Proportion is always beautiful: beauty is always significant; therefore design is always necessary, and I am one of the thousands of designers… He was warm and smiling from the centre of his heart and he kept his head very still until the glow had spread to it, as he had learned long ago not to fly to a piece of paper with the first little vestige of an idea, which merely blunts the memory and renders it indiscriminate.  He remembered an argument with Jimmy about this, because not immediately recording them meant that one forgot some of the idea, and Jimmy had thought this lazy and wasteful.  He couldn’t make Jimmy understand that it wasn’t:  that it was wasteful and lazy not to make one’s memory work for one; it had to select what was worth remembering and then wait for it –– instead of premature explosions of paper.

The Sea Change (1959)



Click HERE to read an interview with UK novelist ELIZABETH JANE HOWARD (1923-2014) by ELIZABETH DAY published in the online archive of The Guardian.

You might also enjoy:
KINGSLEY AMIS That Uncertain Feeling (1955)
WRITERS ON WRITING #52: Sarah Waters
WRITERS ON WRITING #48: Hilary Mantel

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