A Revelation: Alan Macfarlane On Writing

I have written all my life: articles, features, essays, diaries, letters, columns, seminar papers, speeches, lectures. I have experienced writing as burden and as bliss. Writing never stopped to fascinate me. Still I felt unsatisfied with my way of writing. Most of the time I have written for money as I used to work as a journalist since my teenage years. This is certainly not the worst reason. But I always had this other longing. I wanted to experience a different kind of wirting and yet not a  poetic, fictional one. I was looking and longing for way of writing about the world, about so-called „reality“ as well as about art I neither learned at school for journalism nor at university, especially not at German university. Eventually today a friend of mine drew my attention to this interview on writing with the British anthropologist Alan Macfarlane.

Two of his students interviewed their PhD supervisor about his own writing career. Having written more than 20 books, numerous articles and having supervised 30 to 40 PhD sutdents, he definitely can be regarded as an outstanding expert for this subject. Having watched this video it occurs to me as a revelation. What impressed and touched me the most is Alan Macfarlane’s very special combination of wisdom, generosity and affection in which he shares his findings and advices with his students and the world.