Monday, September 27, 2010

Writing as revelation

INTERVIEWER: "So [writing]’s quite unlike preaching?"
BALDWIN: "Entirely. The two roles are completely unattached. When you are standing in the pulpit, you must sound as though you know what you’re talking about. When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway."
BALDWIN: "I don’t know, I doubt whether anyone—myself at least—knows how to talk about writing. Perhaps I’m afraid to."
INTERVIEWER: "Do you see it as conception, gestation, accouchement?"
BALDWIN: "I don’t think about it that way, no. The whole process of conception—one talks about it after the fact, if one discusses it at all. But you really don’t understand it."

Paris Review: The Art of Fiction No. 78 (Interview with James Baldwin)

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