Friday, December 08, 2006

Hoping For a Sudden Floater

When I first started to write in earnest, about 1967, I came under the sway of Viktor Shklovsky, of his novel A Sentimental Journey, and of his formalist writings. Instead of starting off as a sensible person would have, with a traditional novel, I devised complicated forms and schemes. I was not interested in publishing, in fact the possibility terrified me, so I was not constrained by having to write a publishable, a popular novel. My husband was the bread-winner, so I didn’t need a financial reward. What interested me was whether writing could help me make sense of my world, help me make order out of chaos. In A Palpable God, Reynolds Price articulated the reason I wanted to write novels back then and why I continue to write: “the chance that in the very attempt at narrative transaction something new will surface or be revealed, some sudden floater from the dark unconscious, some message from a god which can only arrive or be told as a tale.”


Zhoen said...

Joseph Duemer said...

I keep trying to convince my writing students of the value of formal play in their writing, setting up games to distract the conscious mind while waiting for the insight or phrase to rise from the unconscious; but mostly they just want to "express themselves." I try to convince them that self-expression as they are understanding it is mostly superficial & that the actual self always plays hide & seek with the writer. It's very hard for beginners to understand until they--usually accidentally--discover the process for themselves.