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A writer asked me why I thought Denis Johnson was a bad writer

Sunday 11/7/21

My answer:

Because it's all a pose, there's nothing there. Because it's empty, it's thin, just a prose bag of air. Like that quote you put up on Instagram. I think that's sixth grade writing, and a sixth grader's idea of deep writing. I think it's childish, inept, laughable. That quote made me laugh over how bad it was. The "a sky as blue and brainless as the love of God" thing. It's so lazy, cliched, rope-y. It pretends to say something and there's nothing to it. The words are always interchangeable. They could be so many other words. It's all predictable. I know where it is going the entire time. I think it's bad writing for lit mag fan boys that are perpetually stalled in some mental adolescent state. I think it's easy to imitate. Soft serve yogurt. It'd be difficult for me to have less respect for a writer, but then again, sure, it's better than Justin Taylor. Uncreative as well. In every way. I think it's the antithesis of good writing. It's like druggy Hallmark. I don't think it's better than Hallmark.

I feel bad sending this. But I also know I won't be dimming your own enthusiasm. It's just what I think.

Anyway. I'm sorry again to be slow, I'm glad your book worked out, and if you need me for something you can always text me if it seems like I'm missing something on here and I'll hop to it.


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