Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"A Vague Possibility of Something Decent"

There's an excellent interview with author David Leavitt at one of my favorite literary blogs, The Elegant Variation. I was especially interested in Leavitt’s views on point of view…and his struggles with the writing process (sound familiar?):

"Generally speaking, I hate starting things. Writing a passage for the first time, I shrink from the ugly disorder of what lands on the page. I'm not one of those writers from whose pens prose flows effortlessly, and who rarely change a word. Instead I hurl something down, print it out, look at it, wince, try to clean it up, print it out again, look at it, see a vague possibility of something decent, work on it some more, print it out again, smile in pleasure, take a break to have a coffee, come back, read it again, cry out in horror that I could think something so hideous was any good, work on it some more, print it out yet again…and so on, until…well, until it's as good as I think I can get it. And even then I'm usually not satisfied. Often I'll pick up one of my earlier books, open it to a page at random, and start rewriting what I'm reading in my head. It's an endless process and it's an essential process. Again, what one is doing, whether one knows it or not, is layering: first you paint the walls, then you put up the curtains, then you lay the carpet, then you arrange the furniture, then you put up the paintings…and lo and behold, you have a room."


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.