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The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

The "play-girl" in fiction,   pp. 217-223 PDF (2.6 MB)


Page 220


THE "PLAY-GIRL" IN FICTION
dience the thing that they demand of you. The moment a man who is
writing feels his emotion, he is absorbing it himself and not giving it
out. I feel sure that this is true with painting as well as writing, per-
haps with sculpture, because a painter travels, or studies his model, or
imagines his composition, and then with a technique so fluent that he
is unconscious of it, he uses a cool brain to try and make the subject
that has interested him interest the onlooker. And if a writer presents
his people'in this way, with a knowledge of the conditions in which
they are living, of the tendencies which control their lives, he has done
all that he can accomplish. He is playing in luck then if the world
feels what he felt when the first impulse to write came to him.
   "Writing is, I believe, today a matter not of emotion, but of clear
thinking. If you feel while you work, you are confused and you con-
fuse your audience. Writing is an intellectual achievement, not a
matter of emotional excitement. I find that as my interest in life
increases, as my range of vision extends and I know more of the world
and of the people in it that my impulse is naturally to write of these
things, of the tendencies of my own age, of the new social conditions,
and as all social conditions change with the younger generation, nat-
urally my interest is in the people who are a part of the new civilization
of my country. Things have vastly changed since my youth. There
is a universal freedom today among young people which was unknown
in my boyhood. A keener sex feeling is all around us, many barriers
are down that were essential years ago, the young people come in more
intimate contact with life, dancing and cabaret life have changed
young human nature far more than many people realize. There is an
intimacy of companionship, a greater freedom, there is a stirring of
emotional enjoyment which has never before been felt in America, and
with this liberty there has come naturally a certain license among
the unthinking and unguarded. We are not like the old Latin races
-vivid and emotional, with centuries of joyous experience back
of us, centuries of artistic output, of delight in life, of knowledge, of
beauty; we are just waking up emotionally in America and it is the
new, very young generation who are born with a sense of spiritual
freedom-something we others did not have in our youth."
T ASKED Mr. Chambers if he felt that the new young "play-child"
    of America today was rather a barren type mentally and spirit-
    ually, and if that type would be likely to hurt our civilization, to
leave it without inspiration; in other words, if the youth of today were
without the lyric quality, could we hope for artists, nation builders,
home makers, mothers? His answer was: "The seemingly barren
type has always existed in every country, in every age of the world
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