The ability to write is quite different from the ability to tell a story. Of course if you do both equally well you can conquer the world.
You have to have absolute humility about what you’re doing. You have to somehow know that you are capable of enormous idiocies and mistakes and yet not lose your self-confidence in what you’re doing. It’s a difficult line to walk because I know that writer’s block comes almost always from self-doubt. At the same time you have to know that this is a life-long learning process and you’re going to find yourself every 10 years looking back on what you wrote 10 years ago and feeling appalled by it. And that’s good; it means you’re learning and growing.
I’m an author. We don’t want to lead. We don’t need to follow. We stay home and make stuff up and write it down and send it out into the world, and get inside people’s heads. Perhaps we change the world and perhaps we don’t. We never know. We just make stuff up.
To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.
Wasn’t writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?
Digestion of words as well; I often read aloud to myself in my writing corner in the library, where no one can hear me, for the sake of better savouring the text, so as to make it all the more mine.
If the reader understands the details you have left out of your story, then you’ve done your job well. You’ve written a good work.
I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.
Prose can be what keeps you wanting to read. Strong prose contains conflict, even at the level of the sentence. If a sentence is pushing against itself, or if each sentence is contradicting what just came before it and you’re wondering how you can hold all these contradictory statements in your mind at once, that’s interesting to me. What you’re getting then is a complex psychology or philosophy as a result of the very sentences that you’re reading. That’s a Lishian way of looking at prose. I subscribe to it. I admire work and I strive to in my own work have that kind of pressure on the individual sentence, so that each sentence is in conflict with what’s around it in some way.
I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.