Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Calm and Private Joy

"The joy is in the surprise. It can be as small as a felicitous coupling of noun and adjective. Or a whole new scene, or the sudden emergence of an unplanned character who simply grows out of a phrase. Literary criticism, which is bound to pursue meaning, can never really encompass the fact that some things are on the page because they gave the writer pleasure. A writer whose morning is going well, whose sentences are forming well, is experiencing a calm and private joy. This joy itself then liberates a richness of thought that can prompt new surprises. Writers crave these moments, these sessions. If I may quote the second page of Atonement, this is the project's highest point of fulfillment. Nothing else -- cheerful launch party, packed readings, positive reviews -- will come near it for satisfaction."

Ian McEwan

7 comments:

Ethel Rohan said...

Yes!

Andrew Roe said...

The quote really resonated w/ me too, Ethel. Surprise is such an important part of the writing process for me. Just don't hear it talked about all that much.

(The quote, by the way, comes from a Paris Review interview.)

Carol said...

Beautifully true. You find such gems, Andy. Thanks for sharing them. I used some of PEN exchange between Lethem and Gates for next week's P-post. You posted it awhile back and I never thanked you. Love the kids' quotes, too. Your father's day post made me misty.

Andrew Roe said...

Carol! Thank you. I've really been enjoying your posts (though I can't keep up).

盈廖生家秀蔡 said...
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ju吳phe宇te佳ns said...

好棒的地方 我一定要常來~~~^^~..................................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

人生中最重要的是要自尊、自愛、自立、自強、自信。..................................................