Thursday, November 10, 2011
Joseph McElroy (author of Night Soul and Other Stories) has written a short piece on why he refuses to answer questions about where he gets his ideas from; it's a wonderful antidote to most writers's thoughts on this topic, and not only does he (correctly, in my opinion) argue that authors don't understand were there work comes from, but also offers a fairly interesting conception of what a good story should do:
"What can happen? my stories ask, as I ask of my life and yours. Not only what did happen, but mainly: What can happen? A story about a boomerang thrower in Paris, or a story about a father and his infant son in his crib in the dark making sounds that the father begins to make sense of during three successive desert nights. What can happen? Sometimes I’ll read just the beginning of a story to an audience and ask where it could go from there. But the writer is mainly invisible, and the story stands on its own between the reader and the writer and would have to be about both if we could only know, but stands on its own and belongs to the reader and in the great differences among the stories in my book Night Soul might even sometimes suggest to you the reader how to read it."
Read more here.
Posted by Emmett Stinson at 4:52 AM