isn't this what you were looking for?

a sort of repsonse

so there is this interesting talk about how we use surrealism over at gulf coast.

earlier this year i was supposed to do an interview for the novella, and it didn't work out, but i thought since it didn't work out, that i would paste it here for all of you to see.

Your novel is a surrealist one. Surrealism is said to free the imagination by producing a creative process free of conscious control. In short, allowing the ego free reign. Do you agree with this assessment, and what techniques have you embraced in your writing? Was the writing, for you, an enjoyable experience?

I would say that I was a surreal writer as opposed to a surrealist. And I still don’t know that I’m all that comfortable with the term. There was a really great discussion on this over at Gulf Coast.

I’m not certain that I really like the idea of allowing anything to have free reign. And on a basic level I’d have to agree with Russell Edson when he says, “Why should we have to be surrealists? Breton didn't invent our imaginations.” I also want to say that I write about and within very controlled situations. I edit and rewrite rigorously, and the goal of all of this is for very specific things to happen in a very specific way to evoke some sort of an emotional response. I also want to say that when we break it down, surrealism means something that is over above or more than realism. Which requires us to not forget that this is a thing grounded in something. That to be above or over or more than a thing we must be aware at all times where it stands.

I have absolutely no interest in relinquishing conscious control. We’ve been talking in one of my classes about the notion of felt sense. The idea that there is this thing, this gut feeling, that sort of guides our work. In sports it’s referred to as being on fire or in the zone or on point or things like that. On the ball. What I am trying to say is that the techniques I employ to write involve sitting down at a desk and trying very hard to feel something that seems real and important.

Process is very important to me. Rewriting is, for me, a very generative process. The book was pieced together at first from three short pieces [all of which are available online] that I had to rewrite to fit together, and then I went from there.

I paid close attention to each page and to the ideas and images that were at work and made sure to allow them all the space they needed to breathe and exist without crowding things out or detracting.

I write the way I do because I find that it allows me to indirectly address the things I am really concerned with. Things that I find very difficult to explain in any meaningful way while speaking about them directly. Primarily: 1) the idea of a sadness that is not sad, 2) surrealism as supra-realism as realism, and 3) the idea of a sort of quiet desperation that manages to give a sort of sense of triumph.

So. 1) That no one should really be sad that they are sad. 2) That nothing should be treated differently than anything else. That the act of cooking bacon and the act of filling someone’s chest with birds so that they can be lifted up by something moving, that these are both pretty much the same action, or at least equally important ones. 3) That having a purpose and moving towards it is quite often founded on the principles of a sort of blind faith, and that more often than not this faith is born out of a desperate need for something greater. Like when one says of a relationship, “Being with them forced me to become a better person than I knew how to be.” Which might maybe have something to do with a later question.

As to the second part of your question, the writing was a very enjoyable process. I had just quit my job and moved in with my parents for six weeks before moving to Brooklyn. For those six weeks I read a lot of books, played tennis three times a week with my dad, and worked on the book every single day. I don’t know that I could work that hard every day for the rest of my life, but those six weeks were pretty incredible.


Stacey Tran said...

i enjoyed this

Jackson Nieuwland said...

why did this interview not work out? are there going to be any other interviews for the novella?

sasha fletcher said...


and yes. one on html giant and one on pank so far.

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