pretty mixed feelings


Q. Is being demanding a function, or a necessary result, of writing artistically? If the actual ability to read and decipher a sentence is diminishing, does that concern you as a writer? And do you have a particular relationship, at least in theory, to readers?

BM: This is a very interesting question. If you were a painter living on the island of X, where the people were blind to the color blue, would you use it anyway because blue is so beautiful? Maybe you’re not painting for the people of the island? Or maybe you believe that if only these people could see your version of blue, then their blindness would lift? You’d like to fix your audience, correct them. If, upon encountering your relentless use of blue, the people of X chastised you and called you an elitist, would you strengthen your resolve and add more blue, or would you apologize and try to determine what colors might please them more? I think about these issues with pretty mixed feelings, but some writers I love, Lydia Davis and David Markson, for instance, use highly transparent language that is deceptively simple. The obstacles and conflicts and complications in their work don’t tend to appear on the surface, in the access to their language. I have more recently become interested in this approach.

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d r e a m s

One of the several humiliating features about writing fiction for a living is that here after all is just about everybody else, all along the capitalist spectrum from piano movers to systems analysts, cheerfully selling their body parts according to ti… Continua a leggere

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There she goes

In all the versions of Little Red Riding Hood there is never any mention of what she does or where she goes in the time between her encounter with the wolf on the path and arriving at Grandma’s. That is her me time. The first jump cut. All we know is, after that, whatever lonely wandering she gets up to, she arrives – different in different versions – but often cocky, prickly, ready to talk back, to speak truth (not premeditated, perspicacious – what big eyes – yuk), to name Grandma’s grotesque appearance. And this thing of letting herself be eaten, before cutting her way out of wolf’s belly: it reminds me of times I’ve been beaten in Chess, when I’ve rushed ahead thinking checkmate might be mine, but then I’m checkmated; I didn’t see the scissors in her hands as I pressed forward and swallowed her up.

What’s nice about Angela Carter’s ‘The Company of Wolves’ is the consideration she gives the wolf:

There is a vast melancholy in the canticles of the wolves, melancholy infinite as the forest, endless as these long nights of winter and yet that ghastly sadness, that mourning for their own, irremediable appetites, can never move the heart for not one phrase in it hints at the possibility of redemption; grace could not come to the wolf from its own despair, only through some external mediator, so that, sometimes, the beast will look as if he half welcomes the knife that despatches him.

And she’s ready to give that to him.

Now I’m thinking about other missing moments like Little Red Cap off on her ownsome – what crucial things the reader cannot be privy to…

It isn’t quite the same, this is more a question of the different narrative requirements and allowances in film, but Submarine the film doesn’t feature Oliver’s comeuppance, and Trainspottingthe film doesn’t have Begby meeting his father

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Find an analogy


‘As I suspect is true with many who write for a living, as I write I think about all sorts of things. I don’t necessarily write down what I’m thinking; it’s just that I write as I think about things. As I write, I arrange my thoughts. And rewriting and revising takes my thinking down even deeper paths. No matter how much I write, though, I never reach a conclusion. And no matter how much I rewrite, I never reach the destination… All I do is present a few hypotheses or paraphrase the issue. Or find an analogy between the structure of the problem and something else… 

I don’t know what significance running 62 miles [a "Supermarathon"] by your self has, but as an action that deviates from the ordinary yet doesn’t violate basic values, you’d expect it to… add a few new elements to your inventory in understanding who you are. And as a result, your view of life, its colours and shape, should be transformed. More or less… this happened to me, and I was transformed.’

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