Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Need to know basis

Last night I found myself battling the hair gel mocking winds at Trafalgar Square en route to a talk at the ICA by Zadie Smith and Philip Gourevitch, as you do. Or rather, as you do when at week 3 into your cultural detox, you start to dream yourself a born-again scholar. That is, until you get into a room of 200 Kafka lovers to celebrate the book launch of the Paris Review Interviews (a collection of interviews with the world's great contemporary authors) and realise that your writings are tragically closer to this than that.

And without getting into any feverish displays of jealousy and pseudo-academic posturings, I will say the most interesting part of the evening was hearing about all the writer's little obsessions and jokes, rather than their more prescriptive or portentous moments. Like how Dorothy Parker writes two-fingered on a typewriter. Capote writes prone on a sofa or bed, smoking and drinking coffee, mint tea, then sherry and martinis. Joan Didion goes back to page one and re-types everything ("It gets me into a rhythm"). Hemingway, pompous and fetishistic, writes in the bedroom of his Havana house standing "on the worn skin of the lesser kudu", on onion-skin paper, noting his daily progress on charts.

Thankfully sanity is restored by Bellow, who refuses to discuss his work habits because "for the artist to give such loving attention to his own shoelaces [is] dangerous, even immoral". Which is precisely why you don't need to know exactly how much wine I am drinking right now, or ever. That would be dangerous, even immoral.

Paris Review Interviews, 1.
£9.89 on Amazon



26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love Zadie Smith, Love Paris Review, Love CS--find a link!

12:50 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. Never thought of Hemingway as writing that way. Stay real CS!

1:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - what an amazing insight about Joan Didion. :-)

1:27 am  
Anonymous hels said...

Zadie Smith is the most over-rated media product to come out of London's literary world in years. Don't believe the hype. On Beauty was only superceded in arrogance by Autograph Man.

9:53 am  
Anonymous honkman said...

I read On Beauty by Zadie Smith a couple weeks ago, and I found it enormously overrated. the characters were all one-dimensional stereotypes spouting shallow charicatures of political ideas. the plot was so melodramatic and contrived that it failed to wrap up ANY of the threads it supported, and barely even developed any of its multiple, multiple sub-plotlets. Every phrase, it frequently seemed, was so hyper-aware and self-conscious, it attempted to impede real development at any chance. It's basically a totally UN-modern story trying so hard to be "post-modern" (I intentionally use quote marks to imply that it is merely a sense of fashion and style, as opposed to actually addressing the concept of literature or prose), it steps on its own feet. The worst thing is that it's a great rough draft. There's some great writing hidden in there at various points. It's completely masturbatory. The Guardian can take their house-wife novels and stuff them up my puckered ass!

9:59 am  
Anonymous Kendra said...

Re; Paris Review Interviews - fascinating reading for anyone interested in writing. Good tip CS!

But why do we read author interviews? Isn't it enough that a writer has told a story well, moving us or making us laugh? Must we also go snooping into his private life, interrogating him, picking over his "stuff," as Julian Barnes once put it? A great many writers, though they enjoy the interview attention, deplore the inquiry into their routines and habits, the reduction (as they see it) of their work to a mere corollary of their personal story.

10:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post as ever CS. But the insanity that is that link to Posh's 'blog.' How low can we go?

10:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi


tramadol

7:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


cialis

phentermine

viagra

xanax

3:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


fioricet
fioricet online
buy fioricet
cheap fioricet
fioricet order
buy fioricet online
butalbital fioricet
buy cheap fioricet
addiction fioricet
codeine fioricet

8:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vey nice site! If you wanna get money please visit my site:

soma

buy soma online

If you want unsubscribe your site from my list plz write me fash10n_b0y@yahoo.com
Beforehand thanks!

1:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vey nice site! If you wanna get money please visit my site:

xanax

xanax online


If you want unsubscribe your site from my list plz write me fash10n_b0y@yahoo.com
Beforehand thanks!

8:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want unsubscribe your site from my list plz write me fash10n_b0y@yahoo.com
Dont forget write your URL! Beforehand thanks!

xanax
xanax
buy xanax
picture of xanax
buy xanax online
xanax online
xanax side effects
cheap xanax
order tramadol

8:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want unsubscribe your site from my list plz write me fash10n_b0y@yahoo.com
Dont forget write your URL! Beforehand thanks!

levitrabuy levitracialis levitracheap levitralevitra onlinebuy levitra onlineorder levitrageneric levitra

4:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want unsubscribe your site from my list plz write me fash10n_b0y@yahoo.com
Dont forget write your URL! Beforehand thanks!

tramadol
tramadol
buy tramadol
tramadol online
order tramadol
tramadol prescription
buy tramadol online
purchase tramadol
tramadol ultram
tramadol overdose

7:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tramadol
tramadol
buy tramadol
tramadol online
order tramadol
tramadol prescription
buy tramadol online
purchase tramadol
tramadol ultram
tramadol overdose

4:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



buy tramadol


buy tramadol

3:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tramadol

buy tramadol online

7:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

xanax
xanax
levitra
levitra
tramadol
tramadol

9:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buy Cheap Tramadol
Buy Cheap Tramadol
Viagra
Viagra
Levitra
Levitra

4:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tramadolbuy tramadoltramadol online
order tramadoltramadol prescriptionbuy tramadol onlinepurchase tramadol
tramadoltramadolbuy tramadoltramadol online
order tramadoltramadol prescriptionbuy tramadol onlinepurchase tramadol

10:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy xanaxcheap xanax
xanaxbuy xanaxcheap xanax

7:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[url=http://comp.uark.edu/~comm2/d/tramadol/new.html]tramadol[/url]
tramadol
http://comp.uark.edu/~comm2/d/tramadol/new.html tramadol

9:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/viagra.html]viagra[/URL][URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/buy-viagra.html]buy viagra[/URL][URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/order-viagra.html]order viagra[/URL][URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/cheap-viagra.html]cheap viagra[/URL]
[URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/viagra-online.html]viagra online[/URL][URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/generic-viagra.html]generic viagra[/URL][URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/buy-viagra-online.html]buy viagra online[/URL][URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/order-viagra-online.html]order viagra online[/URL]
[URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/vi/herbal-viagra.html]herbal viagra[/URL]viagrabuy viagraorder viagra
cheap viagraviagra onlinegeneric viagrabuy viagra online
order viagra onlineherbal viagra

9:08 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/ci/]cialis[/URL][URL=http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~billeci/d/ci/buy-cialis.html]buy cialis[/URL]cialis
buy cialis

2:14 am  
Blogger Dientudong said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:59 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home