Latest post over at Harriet. I find myself constantly wanting to apologize for not writing a big important boy novel about ideas, or a funny novel about a whimsical girl. Why is that? Everyone seems to have an idea about what a novel should and more emphatically, should not be.
Novels, to my mind, are a way to enter into the minds of people. They are a way of condensing worlds. Not necessarily replications of reality, but versions, slices, illuminations. And they are an opportunity to see the surface and also to tunnel under it. I want to see people in action, yes, but I also very much want to know what they are thinking. I want to see what gets in their way and how they handle it. And as Gertrude Stein points out in Wars I Have Seen, I want to hear about what they are eating, where they are walking, how they are sustaining themselves, what random thoughts appear in a flash, to aid or make more difficult, their journey.