I mean in my experience anyway, every story — or actually in my case every novel, or every chapter of every novel, or every passage I write, that’s just something that gets negotiated almost every day. And so, it’s a movable feast, it’s a variable amount because some days I’m thinking, oh my God, this is just the most watered down pop junk I’ve ever written, and then other days I think oh, this is so gnarly.1 How is anybody ever going to understand this?2

 

And then half the time people think — when you think it’s as clear as day, is the naughtiest stuff you’ve ever written — so it’s just that you actually have to — it’s this kind of weird fallback, but there is something to the truism of having faith in process.3 And so I actually talk with students a lot about process, and that gets into to me, one of my kind of — my very few aphorisms is just that the best style is precision.4 Precision is the best style, because if you write with the greatest clarity and the greatest precision and nuance and exactitude about subjects that really, truly are inexhaustible, and mysterious, and have to do with the essentials of human existence and all that sort of stuff, people will be able to follow you down the rabbit hole.5 Or you give yourself the best chance of that happening.

  1. Like Everywhere []
  2. Deliberately Ambiguous, Historic Residue []
  3. Lover Of Your Process []
  4. History Is A Construct []
  5. Imagined Or Not Imagined []
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