20 February 2013

pretty mixed feelings

Q. Is being demanding a function, or a necessary result, of writing artistically? If the actual ability to read and decipher a sentence is diminishing, does that concern you as a writer? And do you have a particular relationship, at least in theory, to readers?

BM: This is a very interesting question. If you were a painter living on the island of X, where the people were blind to the color blue, would you use it anyway because blue is so beautiful? Maybe you’re not painting for the people of the island? Or maybe you believe that if only these people could see your version of blue, then their blindness would lift? You’d like to fix your audience, correct them. If, upon encountering your relentless use of blue, the people of X chastised you and called you an elitist, would you strengthen your resolve and add more blue, or would you apologize and try to determine what colors might please them more? I think about these issues with pretty mixed feelings, but some writers I love, Lydia Davis and David Markson, for instance, use highly transparent language that is deceptively simple. The obstacles and conflicts and complications in their work don’t tend to appear on the surface, in the access to their language. I have more recently become interested in this approach.

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