Lydia Davis interviewing Lynne Tillman

What more do I need to say? Well, plus questions by QC contributor Rone Shavers.

Right here.

LD: I’d like to go on talking about American Genius, but first I want to pursue this question: do you think there’s any correlation between work that goes well or easily, and how it turns out? I mean, does work that goes well and is enjoyable to write turn out better than work that is difficult almost all the way through? What has been your experience of this?

LT: I’m not sure about that correlation in my work. A reader might feel it, which would bother me, because I want to make the writing seem effortless, at least not labored. I don’t want readers to get bogged down in unnecessary language or linguistic frills. If they need to go back to the beginning of a sentence, I don’t want it to be because it’s cluttered with verbiage that doesn’t ultimately augment and elaborate clearly even contradictory or irrational sets of thoughts. As a reader, and writer, I dislike overwrought sentences.

Tillmann’s new book, Someday This Will Be Funny, published by Richard Nash’s new publishing venture, Red Lemonade, is quite good.



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[…] Lynne Tillman, whose new short-story collection, Someday This Will Be Funny, I’m enjoying, chats with Lydia Davis. The interview is focused on her 2006 novel, American Genius, but much of what she says about the use of autobiographical material applies to the new book: “By the time I use something autobiographical, it’s not about me and my life. I see it as material, stuff I can work with and make into forms. Here are some analogies that might be corny. I look at a lot of visual work. I see how artists take what might be considered junk or banal images, but which have deep relevance to them. They use material that’s freighted for them and transform it. Painters use color differently, each color has meanings to them, aesthetic and personal associations. The important thing is, those meanings exist not only for them. Artists use material aware of its importance beyond them.” (via) […]

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