Monday, June 16, 2014

The Madwoman in the Attic

The Paris Review Interviews are a great resource if you love reading about other writers, which I do. I'm reading  'Women Writers At Work - The Paris Review Interviews' at the moment and was struck by Joyce Carol Oate's interview - here's an extract...

Interviewer: Do you find emotional stability is necessary in order to write? Or can you get to work whatever your state of mind? Is your mood reflected in what you write? How do you describe that perfect state in which you can write from early morning into the afternoon?

Oates: One must be pitiless about this matter of “mood.” In a sense, the writing will create the mood. If art is, as I believe it to be, a genuinely transcendental function—a means by which we rise out of limited, parochial states of mind—then it should not matter very much what states of mind or emotion we are in. Generally I've found this to be true: I have forced myself to begin writing when I've been utterly exhausted, when I've felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes . . . and somehow the activity of writing changes everything. Or appears to do so. Joyce said of the underlying structure of Ulysses—the Odyssean parallel and parody—that he really didn't care whether it was plausible so long as it served as a bridge to get his “soldiers” across. Once they were across, what does it matter if the bridge collapses? One might say the same thing about the use of one's self as a means for the writing to get written. Once the soldiers are across the stream . . .

You can read the interview, and others online at The Paris Review 

I'm over at Lisa Redmond's Blog - The Madwoman in the Attic - today 
chatting about the writing process, my favorite writers and books. 
Thanks to Lisa for inviting me over and letting me ramble :)
You can read the post Here


Jan Morrison said...

Ah! the Paris Review, such a gem. And this interview piece is also a gem - I totally agree with Oates. Just what we'd tell people who are meditation students. Not only do you get your soldiers over the bridge - you get over yourself via the same bridge! Ola! Here I am without that pesky constant ego making me nuts!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I am such a fan of Joyce Carol Oates. Rushing off right now to read the interview!