The Numostic cycle

When you look at Sontag’s progression, when describing a writer’s development, of nut → moron → stylist → critic (ie: passionate impetus → spewing forth → aesthetic shaping → deeper thought and purpose), it becomes clear that a mature writer will not experience a simple progression so much as a cycle:

As one becomes more clear in one’s thoughts and purpose, internal passions will change and evolve to reflect this. For example, an author might have started writing in response to the pain of a failed love affair, but the things she writes will open doors to new passions long after that love affair has receded to a distant – and even somewhat nostalgic – memory.

But the intellectual doors that writing can open, both in the writer’s mind and in her interactions with the world around her, will fire new passions, new questions and enthusiasms. And this is especially true of the mature writer, who has reached Sontag’s “critic” stage. Because such a writer is tackling real issues, she will find herself in a place that is rich with new doorways and passages, new questions to ponder and new nuts to crack.

The exhilaration of this process of endless enrichment that is one of the greatest rewards of writing.

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