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Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

today. But, have got to stick to the challenge, a blog a day. So, since I haven’t much to say, I’ll leave it to someone else.

Went to sit in a bookshop this afternoon (Feltrinelli’s on Via Mazzini), which, while the rest of Trieste slumbers even more than usual, is gloriously open until 7.30 on a rainy Sunday evening! I went hoping to find an English version of The Iliad (14 year old is reading it in Italian at school – which seems like a challenge too far) but instead saw a new (for me) title by Jonathan Franzen, Farther Away. Turns out to be a collection of essays, and I went straight to the one ‘On Autobiographical Fiction’.

Writing good fiction is almost never easy. The point at which fiction seems to become easy for a writer is usually the point at which it’s no longer necessary to read that writer […] Unless the book has been, in some way, for the writer, an adventure into the unknown; unless the writer has set himself or herself a personal problem not easily solved; unless the finished book represents the surmounting of some great resistance – it’s not worth reading. Or, for the writer, in my opinion, worth writing.

He says a lot more stuff, about his own struggle to write The Corrections, “much of the struggle consisted – as I think it always will for writers fully engaged with the problem of the novel – in overcoming shame, guilt, and depression.”

There you go, it’s official: writing is painful, personal, shameful. I knew it!

Why do it then?

The rewards, I have recently discovered, are so much bigger than those three small words.

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