Τρίτη, 3 Απριλίου 2018

Richard Ford , Paris Review The Art of Fiction No. 147

NTERVIEWER
What is the exhilaration of writing, if any?
FORD
Primarily, the chance to make something new, which might be good and beautiful, and which somebody else could use. For me, that’s come to be the most important thing. Put most succinctly, to write for readers. I’ve never thought of writing as principally a way of learning about myself, or even as self-expression. Anybody who writes books learns a lot about himself just by seeing what his preoccupations are, what generosities he has or lacks, what his abilities are to invent something out of nothing. I never think about being a writer as being in any interesting way self-psychologizing. That just doesn’t interest me.
INTERVIEWER
So you think of the reader when you are writing.
FORD
I wouldn’t be a writer just for myself. If I were going to do something for myself, I’d do something else, something more practical and pleasurable, and probably easier.
INTERVIEWER
That’s quite rare, I think.
FORD
I want to write, partly at least, for the kind of reader I was when I was nineteen years old. I want to address that person because he or she is young enough that life is just beginning to seem a mystery which literature can address in surprising and pleasurable ways. When I was nineteen I began to read Absalom, Absalom! slowly, slowly, page by patient page, since I was slightly dyslexic. I was working on the railroad, the Missouri-Pacific in Little Rock. I hadn’t been doing well in school, but I started reading. I don’t mean to say that reading altogether changed my life, but it certainly brought something into my life—possibility—that had not been there before.
INTERVIEWER
What was it about Absalom, Absalom!?
FORD
The language—a huge suffusing sea of wonderful words, made into beautiful, long paragraphs and put to the service of some great human conundrum it meant to console me about if not completely resolve. When I was old enough to think about myself as trying to be a writer, I always thought I would like to write a book and have it do that for someone else.
INTERVIEWER
An Absalom, Absalom! for some nineteen-year-old kid in Georgia.
FORD
Or Ohio. Or France. I heard someone say the other day, You have to write for yourself. What shit, I thought. Write for yourself—why? (Though I guess if that produces wonderful work, who am I to argue over conceits?) But I once said that to an audience in France and several people got up and left the room. They said, Hummmph. You’re letting down your vocation if you’re willing to admit that you write for other people. But that’s just not my view. To me, it’s the thought that you can make something out of words, which organizes experience in the way Faulkner is talking about when he says that “literature stops life for the purpose of examining it.” To be able to do that for another person is a good use of your life.

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