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The Art of Writing Is Not a Competition

August 01, 1996

I applaud Kelvin Christopher James' brashness and his efforts to get his work before the public ("He Takes a Lot of Pride in His Fling With a Demon Lover," July 23). More writers should do the same.

However, when he lets his ego fly and tells us his writing is "superior to anyone else in America right now," I'd like to remind him of a few names, since he sounds like someone who doesn't read much: Jayne Anne Phillips, Toni Morrison, Peter Mathiessen, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Caputo, Lucia Berlin and Dorothy Allison. Oh, and Charles Johnson, William Gass, Eudora Welty, William Styron, Pete Dexter, Jamaica Kincaid, Gretel Ehrlich and. . . .

James should not allow himself to be in competition with other writers, but to exalt them and the words they use to illuminate the tenuous human condition.

DONALD SOMMERFIELD

Chatsworth

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