Časopis „Pariska revija“

The Paris Review jedan je od mojih omiljenih književnih časopisa od koga sam više puta pozajmljivala sadržaje, naročito one koji su se ticali intervjua sa umetnicima, a oni su samo još jedan od brojnih dokaza da je razgovor sa umetnikom u toj formi, zapravo, punopravni književni žanr.

Sve intervjue, tokom svih dekada, možete pregledati ovde.

Sam časopis je od početka svog osnivanja, početkom pedesetih godina 20. veka, podjednaku pažnju kao i sadržaju pridavao i formi pa je, shodno tome, dizajn naslovnih strana oduvek je bio bitan urednicima, među kojima je najpoznatiji bio Džordž Plimpton, jedan od njegovih osnivača.

 

 

 

Dizajn naslovnih strana ovog časopisa tokom decenija radilo je mnogo umetnika čija su dela bivala i predstavljana u datom broju. Trebalo bi obratiti pažnju na imena koja su se našla na mnogobrojnim naslovnicama. Neiscrpan izvor informacija, udžbenik iz teorije, kritike i istorije knjievnosti druge polovine 20. veka.

O Džordžu Plimptonu, osnivaču časopisa i jednoj od bitnih figura na posleratnoj američkoj umetničkoj sceni, snimljen je i dokumentarni film Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself a priloženi video njegov je trejler. Celokupnu vizuelnu arhivu časopisa kroz decenije možete pogledati ovde.

The Paris Review na blogu A . A . A

Intervju za „Parisku reviju“: Maja Angelou

U nastavku slede neki od najzanimljivijih odlomaka iz intervjua koji je američka književnica Maja Angelou dala za časopis The Paris Review. Autor intervjua bio je Džordž Plimton, osnivač i dugo godina glavni i odgovorni urednik tog lista. Intervju je dobro polazište za otkivanje biografskih detalja i stvaralačkih rituala ove umetnice. Boca šerija, Biblija i hotelska soba neki su od neophodnih detalja pre početka rada na jeziku.

INTERVIEWER

You once told me that you write lying on a made-up bed with a bottle of sherry, a dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus, yellow pads, an ashtray, and a Bible. What’s the function of the Bible?

MAYA ANGELOU

The language of all the interpretations, the translations, of the Judaic Bible and the Christian Bible, is musical, just wonderful. I read the Bible to myself; I’ll take any translation, any edition, and read it aloud, just to hear the language, hear the rhythm, and remind myself how beautiful English is. Though I do manage to mumble around in about seven or eight languages, English remains the most beautiful of languages. It will do anything.

INTERVIEWER

When you are refreshed by the Bible and the sherry, how do you start a day’s work?

ANGELOU

I have kept a hotel room in every town I’ve ever lived in. I rent a hotel room for a few months, leave my home at six, and try to be at work by six-thirty. To write, I lie across the bed, so that this elbow is absolutely encrusted at the end, just so rough with callouses. I never allow the hotel people to change the bed, because I never sleep there. I stay until twelve-thirty or one-thirty in the afternoon, and then I go home and try to breathe; I look at the work around five; I have an orderly dinner—proper, quiet, lovely dinner; and then I go back to work the next morning. Sometimes in hotels I’ll go into the room and there’ll be a note on the floor which says, Dear Miss Angelou, let us change the sheets. We think they are moldy. But I only allow them to come in and empty wastebaskets. I insist that all things are taken off the walls. I don’t want anything in there. I go into the room and I feel as if all my beliefs are suspended. Nothing holds me to anything. No milkmaids, no flowers, nothing. I just want to feel and then when I start to work I’ll remember. I’ll read something, maybe the Psalms, maybe, again, something from Mr. Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson. And I’ll remember how beautiful, how pliable the language is, how it will lend itself. If you pull it, it says, OK.” I remember that and I start to write. Nathaniel Hawthorne says, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” I try to pull the language in to such a sharpness that it jumps off the page. It must look easy, but it takes me forever to get it to look so easy. Of course, there are those critics—New York critics as a rule—who say, Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer. Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing. I work at the language. On an evening like this, looking out at the auditorium, if I had to write this evening from my point of view, I’d see the rust-red used worn velvet seats and the lightness where people’s backs have rubbed against the back of the seat so that it’s a light orange, then the beautiful colors of the people’s faces, the white, pink-white, beige-white, light beige and brown and tan—I would have to look at all that, at all those faces and the way they sit on top of their necks. When I would end up writing after four hours or five hours in my room, it might sound like, It was a rat that sat on a mat. That’s that. Not a cat. But I would continue to play with it and pull at it and say, I love you. Come to me. I love you. It might take me two or three weeks just to describe what I’m seeing now.

INTERVIEWER

How much revising is involved?

ANGELOU

I write in the morning and then go home about midday and take a shower, because writing, as you know, is very hard work, so you have to do a double ablution. Then I go out and shop—I’m a serious cook—and pretend to be normal. I play sane—Good morning! Fine, thank you. And you? And I go home. I prepare dinner for myself and if I have houseguests, I do the candles and the pretty music and all that. Then after all the dishes are moved away I read what I wrote that morning. And more often than not if I’ve done nine pages I may be able to save two and a half or three. That’s the cruelest time you know, to really admit that it doesn’t work. And to blue pencil it. When I finish maybe fifty pages and read them—fifty acceptable pages—it’s not too bad. I’ve had the same editor since 1967. Many times he has said to me over the years or asked me, Why would you use a semicolon instead of a colon? And many times over the years I have said to him things like: I will never speak to you again. Forever. Goodbye. That is it. Thank you very much. And I leave. Then I read the piece and I think of his suggestions. I send him a telegram that says, OK, so you’re right. So what? Don’t ever mention this to me again. If you do, I will never speak to you again. About two years ago I was visiting him and his wife in the Hamptons. I was at the end of a dining room table with a sit-down dinner of about fourteen people. Way at the end I said to someone, I sent him telegrams over the years. From the other end of the table he said, And I’ve kept every one! Brute! But the editing, one’s own editing, before the editor sees it, is the most important.

INTERVIEWER

So you don’t keep a particular reader in mind when you sit down in that hotel room and begin to compose or write. It’s yourself.

ANGELOU

It’s myself . . . and my reader. I would be a liar, a hypocrite, or a fool—and I’m not any of those—to say that I don’t write for the reader. I do. But for the reader who hears, who really will work at it, going behind what I seem to say. So I write for myself and that reader who will pay the dues. There’s a phrase in West Africa, in Ghana; it’s called “deep talk.” For instance, there’s a saying: “The trouble for the thief is not how to steal the chief’s bugle but where to blow it.” Now, on the face of it, one understands that. But when you really think about it, it takes you deeper. In West Africa they call that “deep talk.” I’d like to think I write “deep talk.” When you read me, you should be able to say, Gosh, that’s pretty. That’s lovely. That’s nice. Maybe there’s something else? Better read it again. Years ago I read a man named Machado de Assis who wrote a book called Dom Casmurro. Machado de Assis is a South American writer—black father, Portuguese mother—writing in 1865, say. I thought the book was very nice. Then I went back and read the book and said, Hmm. I didn’t realize all that was in that book. Then I read it again, and again, and I came to the conclusion that what Machado de Assis had done for me was almost a trick: he had beckoned me onto the beach to watch a sunset. And I had watched the sunset with pleasure. When I turned around to come back in I found that the tide had come in over my head. That’s when I decided to write. I would write so that the reader says, That’s so nice. Oh boy, that’s pretty. Let me read that again. I think that’s why Caged Bird is in its twenty-first printing in hardcover and its twenty-ninth in paper. All my books are still in print, in hardback as well as paper, because people go back and say, Let me read that. Did she really say that?

Full Interview

T. S. Eliot o Ezri Paundu

Intervju sa umetnikom je relevantan književni žanr. On nam može poetički i biografski, stvaralački i na nivou dnevnih rituala približiti pisca. U nastavku sledi odlomak iz intervjua koji je T. S. Eliot dao za magazin The Paris Review. Iz njega sam izdvojila deo koji se odnosi na intervenciju Ezre Paunda nad Eliotovom poemom Pusta zemlja.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember the circumstances of your first meeting with Pound?

ELIOT

I think I went to call on him first. I think I made a good impression, in his little triangular sitting room in Kensington. He said, “Send me your poems.” And he wrote back, “This is as good as anything I’ve seen. Come around and have a talk about them.” Then he pushed them on Harriet Monroe, which took a little time.

INTERVIEWER

You have mentioned in print that Pound cut The Waste Land from a much larger poem into its present form. Were you benefited by his criticism of your poems in general? Did he cut other poems?

ELIOT

Yes. At that period, yes. He was a marvelous critic because he didn’t try to turn you into an imitation of himself. He tried to see what you were trying to do.

INTERVIEWER

Does the manuscript of the original, uncut Waste Land exist?

ELIOT

Don’t ask me. That’s one of the things I don’t know. It’s an unsolved mystery. I sold it to John Quinn. I also gave him a notebook of unpublished poems, because he had been kind to me in various affairs. That’s the last I heard of them. Then he died and they didn’t turn up at the sale.

INTERVIEWER

What sort of thing did Pound cut from The Waste Land? Did he cut whole sections?

ELIOT

Whole sections, yes. There was a long section about a shipwreck. I don’t know what that had to do with anything else, but it was rather inspired by the Ulysses canto in The Inferno, I think. Then there was another section which was an imitation Rape of the Lock. Pound said, “It’s no use trying to do something that somebody else has done as well as it can be done. Do something different.”

INTERVIEWER

Did the excisions change the intellectual structure of the poem?

ELIOT

No. I think it was just as structureless, only in a more futile way, in the longer version.

Full Interview

Intervju za „Parisku reviju“: Simon de Bovoar

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir

U nastavku sledi intervju sa francuskom književnicom Simon de Bovoar čiji su priloženi delovi preuzeti iz američkog književnog časopisa Pariska revija (The Paris Review) u kome ona govori o svom univerzitetskom iskustvu, o radnim navikama, o tome da li je dobro rano objaviti knjigu, o svom doživljaju vremena i osećaju da je oduvek bila stara, o ženama kakve jesu (u njenim romanima) i ženama kakve bi trebalo da budu (Drugi pol).

Više puta sam pominjala i insistirala na činjenici da je intervju sa umetnikom veoma značajna književna forma. Ona može teorijski i kritički biti pogodna za dalju analizu umetnika i njegovog rada, ali može po sebi imati odlike umetničkog kvaliteta. Takvi su Ekermanovi razgovori sa Geteom, kao prvi u ovom žanru, a takvi su i mnogi drugi čiji je sadržaj moguće naći u brojevima pomenutog časopisa, ali i, svakako, van njega.

INTERVIEWER

What do you think about college and university education for a writer? You yourself were a brilliant student at the Sorbonne and people expected you to have a brilliant career as a teacher.

DE BEAUVOIR

My studies gave me only a very superficial knowledge of philosophy but sharpened my interest in it. I benefited greatly from being a teacher—that is, from being able to spend a great deal of time reading, writing and educating myself. In those days, teachers didn’t have a very heavy program. My studies gave me a solid foundation because in order to pass the state exams you have to explore areas that you wouldn’t bother about if you were concerned only with general culture. They provided me with a certain academic method that was useful when I wrote The Second Sex and that has been useful, in general, for all my studies. I mean a way of going through books very quickly, of seeing which works are important, of classifying them, of being able to reject those which are unimportant, of being able to summarize, to browse.

INTERVIEWER

Were you a good teacher?

DE BEAUVOIR

I don’t think so, because I was interested only in the bright students and not at all in the others, whereas a good teacher should be interested in everyone. But if you teach philosophy you can’t help it. There were always four or five students who did all the talking, and the others didn’t care to do anything. I didn’t bother about them very much.

INTERVIEWER

You had been writing for ten years before you were published, at the age of thirty-five. Weren’t you discouraged?

DE BEAUVOIR

No, because in my time it was unusual to be published when you were very young. Of course, there were one or two examples, such as Radiguet, who was a prodigy. Sartre himself wasn’t published until he was about thirty-five, when Nausea and The Wall were brought out. When my first more or less publishable book was rejected, I was a bit discouraged. And when the first version of She Came to Stay was rejected, it was very unpleasant. Then I thought that I ought to take my time. I knew many examples of writers who were slow in getting started. And people always spoke of the case of Stendhal, who didn’t begin to write until he was forty.

INTERVIEWER

People say that you have great self-discipline and that you never let a day go by without working. At what time do you start?

DE BEAUVOIR

I’m always in a hurry to get going, though in general I dislike starting the day. I first have tea and then, at about ten o’clock, I get under way and work until one. Then I see my friends and after that, at five o’clock, I go back to work and continue until nine. I have no difficulty in picking up the thread in the afternoon. When you leave, I’ll read the paper or perhaps go shopping. Most often it’s a pleasure to work.

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir

INTERVIEWER

Do your writer friends have the same habits as you?

DE BEAUVOIR

No, it’s quite a personal matter. Genet, for example, works quite differently. He puts in about twelve hours a day for six months when he’s working on something and when he has finished he can let six months go by without doing anything. As I said, I work every day except for two or three months of vacation when I travel and generally don’t work at all. I read very little during the year, and when I go away I take a big valise full of books, books that I didn’t have time to read. But if the trip lasts a month or six weeks, I do feel uncomfortable, particularly if I’m between two books. I get bored if I don’t work.

INTERVIEWER

In The Blood of Others and All Men Are Mortal you deal with the problem of time. Were you influenced, in this respect, by Joyce or Faulkner?

DE BEAUVOIR

No, it was a personal preoccupation. I’ve always been keenly aware of the passing of time. I’ve always thought that I was old. Even when I was twelve, I thought it was awful to be thirty. I felt that something was lost. At the same time, I was aware of what I could gain, and certain periods of my life have taught me a great deal. But, in spite of everything, I’ve always been haunted by the passing of time and by the fact that death keeps closing in on us. For me, the problem of time is linked up with that of death, with the thought that we inevitably draw closer and closer to it, with the horror of decay. It’s that, rather than the fact that things disintegrate, that love peters out. That’s horrible too, though I personally have never been troubled by it. There’s always been great continuity in my life. I’ve always lived in Paris, more or less in the same neighborhoods. My relationship with Sartre has lasted a very long time. I have very old friends whom I continue to see. So it’s not that I’ve felt that time breaks things up, but rather the fact that I always take my bearings. I mean the fact that I have so many years behind me, so many ahead of me. I count them.

INTERVIEWER

In every one of your novels we find a female character who is misled by false notions and who is threatened by madness.

DE BEAUVOIR

Lots of modern women are like that. Women are obliged to play at being what they aren’t, to play, for example, at being great courtesans, to fake their personalities. They’re on the brink of neurosis. I feel very sympathetic toward women of that type. They interest me more than the well-balanced housewife and mother. There are, of course, women who interest me even more, those who are both true and independent, who work and create.

INTERVIEWER

None of your female characters are immune from love. You like the romantic element.

DE BEAUVOIR

Love is a great privilege. Real love, which is very rare, enriches the lives of the men and women who experience it.

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir

INTERVIEWER

You’ve never created an independent and really free female character who illustrates in one way or other the thesis of The Second Sex. Why?

DE BEAUVOIR

I’ve shown women as they are, as divided human beings, and not as they ought to be.

INTERVIEWER

Some people think that a longing for God underlies your works.

DE BEAUVOIR

No. Sartre and I have always said that it’s not because there’s a desire to be that this desire corresponds to any reality. It’s exactly what Kant said on the intellectual level. The fact that one believes in causalities is no reason to believe that there is a supreme cause. The fact that man has a desire to be does not mean that he can ever attain being or even that being is a possible notion, at any rate the being that is a reflection and at the same time an existence. There is a synthesis of existence and being that is impossible. Sartre and I have always rejected it, and this rejection underlies our thinking. There is an emptiness in man, and even his achievements have this emptiness. That’s all. I don’t mean that I haven’t achieved what I wanted to achieve but rather that the achievement is never what people think it is. Furthermore, there is a naïve or snobbish aspect, because people imagine that if you have succeeded on a social level you must be perfectly satisfied with the human condition in general. But that’s not the case.

“I’m swindled” also implies something else—namely, that life has made me discover the world as it is, that is, a world of suffering and oppression, of undernourishment for the majority of people, things that I didn’t know when I was young and when I imagined that to discover the world was to discover something beautiful. In that respect, too, I was swindled by bourgeois culture, and that’s why I don’t want to contribute to the swindling of others and why I say that I was swindled, in short, so that others aren’t swindled. It’s really also a problem of a social kind. In short, I discovered the unhappiness of the world little by little, then more and more, and finally, above all, I felt it in connection with the Algerian war and when I traveled.

Full Interview 

Intervju za „Parisku reviju“: Toni Morison

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

U intervjuu koji je američka nobelovka Toni Morison neposredno po dobijanju Nobelove nagrade dala za Parisku reviju (The Paris Review) možemo čitati o njenim ritualima pred pripremu za pisanje, od kakvog je značaja uloga urednika u životu pisca, zašto je teško pisati o seksu, zašto je oduvek želela da bude čitalac pre nego pisac i zašto je najčešće pisala pre svitanja.

INTERVIEWER

You have said that you begin to write before dawn. Did this habit begin for practical reasons, or was the early morning an especially fruitful time for you?

TONI MORRISON

Writing before dawn began as a necessity—I had small children when I first began to write and I needed to use the time before they said, Mama—and that was always around five in the morning. Many years later, after I stopped working at Random House, I just stayed at home for a couple of years. I discovered things about myself I had never thought about before. At first I didn’t know when I wanted to eat, because I had always eaten when it was lunchtime or dinnertime or breakfast time. Work and the children had driven all of my habits . . . I didn’t know the weekday sounds of my own house; it all made me feel a little giddy.

I was involved in writing Beloved at that time—this was in 1983—and eventually I realized that I was clearer-headed, more confident and generally more intelligent in the morning. The habit of getting up early, which I had formed when the children were young, now became my choice. I am not very bright or very witty or very inventive after the sun goes down.

Recently I was talking to a writer who described something she did whenever she moved to her writing table. I don’t remember exactly what the gesture was—there is something on her desk that she touches before she hits the computer keyboard—but we began to talk about little rituals that one goes through before beginning to write. I, at first, thought I didn’t have a ritual, but then I remembered that I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark—it must be dark—and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come. And she said, Well, that’s a ritual. And I realized that for me this ritual comprises my preparation to enter a space that I can only call nonsecular . . . Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It’s not beingin the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense.

I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are their best, creatively. They need to ask themselves, What does the ideal room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos outside or is there serenity outside? What do I need in order to release my imagination?

INTERVIEWER

Who was the most instrumental editor you’ve ever worked with?

MORRISON

I had a very good editor, superlative for me—Bob Gottlieb. What made him good for me was a number of things—knowing what not to touch; asking all the questions you probably would have asked yourself had there been the time. Good editors are really the third eye. Cool. Dispassionate. They don’t love you or your work; for me that is what is valuable—not compliments. Sometimes it’s uncanny; the editor puts his or her finger on exactly the place the writer knows is weak but just couldn’t do any better at the time. Or perhaps the writer thought it might fly, but wasn’t sure. Good editors identify that place and sometimes make suggestions. Some suggestions are not useful because you can’t explain everything to an editor about what you are trying to do. I couldn’t possibly explain all of those things to an editor, because what I do has to work on so many levels. But within the relationship if there is some trust, some willingness to listen, remarkable things can happen. I read books all the time that I know would have profited from not a copy editor but somebody just talking through it. And it is important to get a great editor at a certain time, because if you don’t have one in the beginning, you almost can’t have one later. If you work well without an editor, and your books are well received for five or ten years, and then you write another one—which is successful but not very good—why should you then listen to an editor?

INTERVIEWER

Did you know as a child you wanted to be a writer?

MORRISON

No. I wanted to be a reader. I thought everything that needed to be written had already been written or would be. I only wrote the first book because I thought it wasn’t there, and I wanted to read it when I got through. I am a pretty good reader. I love it. It is what I do, really. So, if I can read it, that is the highest compliment I can think of. People say, I write for myself, and it sounds so awful and so narcissistic, but in a sense if you know how to read your own work— that is, with the necessary critical distance—it makes you a better writer and editor. When I teach creative writing, I always speak about how you have to learn how to read your work; I don’t mean enjoy it because you wrote it. I mean, go away from it, and read it as though it is the first time you’ve ever seen it. Critique it that way. Don’t get all involved in your thrilling sentences and all that . . .

INTERVIEWER

You mentioned getting permission to write. Who gave it to you?

MORRISON

No one. What I needed permission to do was to succeed at it. I never signed a contract until the book was finished because I didn’t want it to be homework. A contract meant somebody was waiting for it, that I had to do it, and they could ask me about it. They could get up in my face and I don’t like that. By not signing a contract, I do it, and if I want you to see it, I’ll let you see it. It has to do with self-esteem. I am sure for years you have heard writers constructing illusions of freedom, anything in order to have the illusion that it is all mine and only I can do it. I remember introducing Eudora Welty and saying that nobody could have written those stories but her, meaning that I have a feeling about most books that at some point somebody would have written them anyway. But then there are some writers without whom certain stories would never have been written. I don’t mean the subject matter or the narrative but just the way in which they did it—their slant on it is truly unique.

INTERVIEWER

Why do writers have such a hard time writing about sex?

MORRISON

Sex is difficult to write about because it’s just not sexy enough. The only way to write about it is not to write much. Let the reader bring his own sexuality into the text. A writer I usually admire has written about sex in the most off-putting way. There is just too much information. If you start saying “the curve of . . .” you soon sound like a gynecologist. Only Joyce could get away with that. He said all those forbidden words. He said cunt, and that was shocking. The forbidden word can be provocative. But after a while it becomes monotonous rather than arousing. Less is always better. Some writers think that if they use dirty words they’ve done it. It can work for a short period and for a very young imagination, but after a while it doesn’t deliver. When Sethe and Paul D. first see each other, in about half a page they get the sex out of the way, which isn’t any good anyway—it’s fast and they’re embarrassed about it—and then they’re lying there trying to pretend they’re not in that bed, that they haven’t met, and then they begin to think different thoughts, which begin to merge so you can’t tell who’s thinking what. That merging to me is more tactically sensual than if I had tried to describe body parts.

Full Interview

Интервју за „Париску ревију“: Вилијам Фокнер

William Faulkner

Вилијам Фокнер

У наставку следи одломак из интервјуа који је амерички нобеловац Вилијам Фокнер дао за књижевни часопис Париска ревија (The Paris Review) у пролеће 1956. године. Пишчеви одговори могу бити корисни онима којима је књижевност фасцинација, било да је у питању реципирање или стварање исте. Такође, они су значајни и са поетичког становишта јер су одговарајуће полазиште за приступ његовом делу док су, истовремено, бритки, духовити и налик афоризмима.

Теорија књижевности не мора нужно бити изложена пред читаоце својим специфичним лексичким и синтаксичким језичким апаратом већ може бити дата у одговорима који, попут романтичарских афоризама и фрагмената, имају стваралачки и креативни потенцијал. Фокнер одговара на питања која су у вези са одговорношћу писца, са садржајима његових романа који су утемељени у личном искуству, са његовим односом према сопственим делима.

INTERVIEWER 

Is there any possible formula to follow in order to be a good novelist?

FAULKNER

Ninety-nine percent talent, ninety-nine percent discipline, ninety-nine percent work. He must never be satisfied with what he does. It never is as good as it can be done. Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. An artist is a creature driven by demons. He don’t know why they choose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why. He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.

INTERVIEWER

Do you mean the writer should be completely ruthless?

FAULKNER

The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.

INTERVIEWER

Some people say they can’t understand your writing, even after they read it two or three times. What approach would you suggest for them?

FAULKNER

Read it four times.

INTERVIEWER

How much of your writing is based on personal experience?

FAULKNER

I can’t say. I never counted up. Because „how much“ is not important. A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination—any two of which, at times any one of which—can supply the lack of the others. With me, a story usually begins with a single idea or memory or mental picture. The writing of thestory is simply a matter of working up to that moment, to explain why it happened or what it caused to follow. A writer is trying to create believable people in credible moving situations in the most moving way he can. Obviously he must use as one of his tools the environment which he knows. I would say that music is the easiest means in which to express, since it came first in man’s experience and history. But since words are my talent, I must try to express clumsily in words what the pure music would have done better. That is, music would express better and simpler, but I prefer to use words, as I prefer to read rather than listen. I prefer silence to sound, and the image produced by words occurs in silence. That is, the thunder and the music of the prose take place in silence.

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