How do you write? Is it hard work for you? Do you get up in the morning and …?
It’s a habit.
It’s a habit.
Hemingway used to say, “The hardest thing to do is pick up a pencil.” He’s absolutely right. But he said the only hope is for him to have a habit, and he’s absolutely right [on that], too. So I treat it like it is a bodily function. I get up about 6 in the morning and I have my shower, read the paper and have the coffee. And by 7:30 or 8, I’m in front of the computer, without a thought.
But I don’t want it to be a drag, so I do allow myself a degree of freedom. I have four or five things I’m doing at once, and I’m allowed to pick which one I want to do—what I feel like. If you involve your feelings in your writing, you’re lost.
You mean if your feelings aren’t there?
No. If they are there.
If they are there?
Look at Thomas Wolfe, he’s unreadable.
Oh, I see, I see. So it’s a question of not being overwhelmed by your feelings?
Not even to acknowledge it. I don’t believe feelings. Feelings are only ideas whose time has not come yet. No, just throw away the feelings.
But in the end, the description leads to others feeling.
Oh, if it’s any good, sure.
If it’s any good, that’s what it’s supposed to do.
Okay. So you’re really clinical in the act of doing?
But the impact on the reader is different.
Yes, it’s supposed to be different. What you’re doing is communicating the kind of feelings you know well that you have, but you’re trying to communicate them in a very cool kind of way, through your writing, through a description which is so precise that the reader will have no recourse but to say, “Yes, that’s the way it is.”
From this conversation with Donald Richie.