My Writing Journey

GUEST Paul Andruss: Style and the Glorious Bird

I’d like to welcome a special guest to the blog today, please meet my blogging buddie Paul Andruss! Paul is an author in the works who’s published some books to his website: and you can find his great blog here: Odds & Sods!

Now, please make sure to give Paul a warm welcome in the comments section and go follow his blog ASAP. That’s an order. I mean it. Yes you. We’ll be waiting here while you go click the link and come right back!

Guest: Paul Andruss

Style and the Glorious Bird


Gore Vidal with Tennessee Williams: Key West 1950

Gore is the younger man – as he delighted in pointing out.

Advice for Writers from a Reader Who Loves to Support Writers: Guest Chris Graham (TSRA)  – The Story Reading Ape’s guest post on Rachael’s blog left me thinking about something in Gore Vidal’s memoirs.

For me, Vidal (1926- 2012) is a writer’s writer. He was the writer I grew up wanting to be; probably because we share the same birth sign. Although after reading his biography, I must say, star-signs apart, we are not the same man: he is far too glamorous; I like dull.

His memoir is called ‘Palimpsest’. As Vidal explains it, a palimpsest is a parchment sheet, scraped clean by a medieval monk for re-use. Such finds are invaluable. As the original words are faintly visible underneath, works otherwise lost, endure.

Vidal preferred memoir to autobiography because memoirs do not need to be weighed down by historical fact. In memoir history may be re-written. Yet, like a palimpsest, the initial version remains… if you look hard enough.

However, I digress. This post concerns Vidal on the technique of his long-time friend Tennessee Williams. Vidal christened Williams ‘the Glorious Bird’; then admits to forgetting exactly why.

Before moving on let’s clear something up. Vidal and Williams were friends: just friends. Vidal recounts how Tennessee loved to tell the following story. After unsuccessfully prowling around Saint Germain for trade together, Tennessee said to Vidal: ‘Well, I suppose that just leaves us.’

To which Gore retorted: ‘Don’t be macabre!’

In was also in Paris, or on Page 154 if you prefer, the following occurred.

(Tennessee)… ‘gave me the story ‘Rubio y Morena’ to read. I didn’t like it. So fix it, he said… curious to see what I would do… So I reversed backward-running sentences, removed repetitions, eliminated half those adjectives and adverbs that he always insisted do their work in pairs. I was proud of the result. He was deeply irritated. “What you have done is remove my style, which is all I have.”’

I guess the moral of the tale is this.

Although Tennessee’s unique brand of histrionics made him the most successful playwright of his generation, with a rollcall of hits: ‘A Streetcar named Desire’, ‘Suddenly Last Summer’, ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ & ‘The Glass Menagerie’. Unfortunately for most of us, when we start writing, what we consider our unique style is often, simply, inexperience.


Don’t forget to check out these:-

Novels & illustrations1:


  1. Thomas the Rhymer & Finn Mac Cool are available as free e-book downloads on website
  2. Musings! Honestly! It makes me sound like a consumptive Victorian poetess

13 thoughts on “GUEST Paul Andruss: Style and the Glorious Bird”

  1. Our style, our voice, makes us unique. Makes our writing…well, ours. “What you have done is remove my style, which is all I have.” Yes. That. We (and others reading our work) are too quick to say we’re inexperienced or poor writers or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a style thing. It’s who we are as a writer. I love this post.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. To find a voice and have confidence in it… there are so many articles out there purporting to tell you how. I always liked Neil Gaiman on that one, “The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

    Liked by 4 people

Please leave a comment, question, or idea! I'd love to chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.