Saturday, January 27, 2007

Why I Write

I write fiction to be more modest than I am in real life. To think less about tiny inconveniences and insults. To harbor less antipathy toward others. My characters don't react effectively to situations, especially distressing situations. Almost everything is expressed ironically.

I no longer wish to impress anyone with anything I write. I no longer wish to impress or get attention. It's too costly. I say too little; I attract too much attention. I would rather say what is nearer to truth.

What if there is no audience (and God has no material existence), why write?

I write to express joy.

As a woman writing I am interested in a particular kind of spiritual and physical freedom that living in the world extinguishes. Writing is a way out of the world, to another world that can offer what the 9-to-5 plot cannot. I am not insensible to the demands of straight, narrative fiction, and I enjoy reading straight, narrative fiction when the language is interesting or when its withholding is. I am also wooed by poetry. My poetry is becoming algebraic, masculine, square with suppressed emotion.

What I remember of most narration is not plot but atmosphere.

I find the greatest power in creating concrete images.

(Oct. 14, 1990)

1 comment:

mark wallace said...

What I've always loved about "Why I write" statements is the chant-like element of the form; there's always a new twist to be added, something else to be asserted and/or denied. In the most thoughtful and inventive ones, like yours here, I don't know what's going to happen next--and isn't that great (as long as it's writing we're talking about).