edna o’brien

some delightful bits from an interview with the paris review available here:

But any book that is any good must be, to some extent, autobiographical, because one cannot and should not fabricate emotions; and although style and narrative are crucial, the bulwark, emotion, is what finally matters. With luck, talent, and studiousness, one manages to make a little pearl, or egg, or something . . . But what gives birth to it is what happens inside the soul and the mind, and that has almost always to do with conflict. And loss—an innate sense of tragedy.

When a writer, or an artist, has the feeling that he can’t do it anymore, he descends into hell.

Of course I would like women to have a better time but I don’t see it happening, and for a very simple and primal reason: people are pretty savage towards each other, be they men or women.

The reason why I resent being lectured at is that my psyche is so weighed down with its own paraphernalia! No man or woman from outside could prescribe to me what to do. I have enough trouble keeping madness at bay.

…fuck the plot! That is for precocious schoolboys. What matters is the imaginative truth, and the perfection and care with which it has been rendered.

Rilke said, “Loneliness is a very good practice for eternity.” Loneliness is not intolerable— depression is.

The film world is inhabited by gangsters.

What would be wonderful—what we need just now— is some astonishing fairy tale. I read somewhere the other day that the cavemen did not paint what they saw, but what they wished they had seen. We need that, in these lonely, lunatic times.

We just need to care more for the imagination than for the trivia and the commerce of life.


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