Saturday, June 18, 2005

Two kinds of writers

There is this interestingly unusual interview with author Jonathan Safran Foer in The Morning News. Here are some words of wisdom from this famous young writer:

"It’s like there are two kinds of writers, those that want for there to be more writers and those who want there to fewer writers. I feel like you could almost divide the world up like that. All those cases we just talked about Miller, Sontag, and Thompson—they all wanted more writers. They felt like the world would be better if there were more people writing books."

(Which category do you belong to? The first or the second?)

"When you write a book, you are able to concentrate on very, very specific things. Individuals doing very specific acts. Orhan Pamuk once said that every book, at the end of the day, is about showing how similar people are to one another. And how different they are from one another. And you do that by showing how somebody pours coffee and drinks it. It’s not by speaking about diplomacy. It’s not by troop movements."

(This is such a nice observation...)

"In New York if a first author gets a $100,000 advance, that’s news. But a $100,000 advance for a book that took four years to write, you are talking about wages that a receptionist makes."

(We agree but even that's not bad! Poor single-income writers, without a rich father or a rich uncle leaving behind any windfall for them, have to put up with many things. So sad!)

"If it takes a hundred thousand bad books to make a good one, do we cry for the trees? What is so upsetting? Have children died because a novel was a failure? It’s just not that big a deal."

(True. No big deal. We are free to damage our eyes with e-books).


bibliobibuli said...

I'm firmly in the first category, Zafar. If everyone was writing novels, there would be no wars.

(Looking forward to November and the Nanowrimo.)

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks. Agree.

Grant Marsden said...

I really appreciate people like you who take their chance in such an excellent way to give an impression on certain topics. Thanks for having me here.