Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Junot Diaz: No Sudden Miracles

This article by Junot Diaz is amazing. You must read it, especially if you’ve ever gone through periods of doubt about your writing (isn’t that all of us?). At one point, he seriously planned to give up writing. !!

Excerpt:

“One night in August, unable to sleep, sickened that I was giving up, but even more frightened by the thought of having to return to the writing, I dug out the manuscript. I figured if I could find one good thing in the pages I would go back to it. Just one good thing. Like flipping a coin, I'd let the pages decide. Spent the whole night reading everything I had written, and guess what? It was still terrible. In fact with the new distance the lameness was even worse than I'd thought. That's when I should have put everything in the box. When I should have turned my back and trudged into my new life. I didn't have the heart to go on. But I guess I did. While my fiancée slept, I separated the 75 pages that were worthy from the mountain of loss, sat at my desk, and despite every part of me shrieking no no no no, I jumped back down the rabbit hole again. There were no sudden miracles. It took two more years of heartbreak, of being utterly, dismayingly lost before the novel I had dreamed about for all those years finally started revealing itself. And another three years after that before I could look up from my desk and say the word I'd wanted to say for more than a decade: done.”

The book that came from all this struggle is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which is a vast, stunning, inventive book…and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction.

Read the whole article here. Really. You absolutely can’t skip this one.

(Here’s my report on seeing Junot Diaz give a reading from this book.)

Work-in-Progress

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