I always knew that I could only write out of direct experience — no abstract intellectual I — and that my way into that experience was through the strength of feeling translated into clarified thought. Clarity became my signature word, and the lucid sentence my passion. – Vivian Gornick

Ze vraagt naar mijn poëtica. Ik houd van één zin die alles zegt, een essentie uitdrukt (gevoel, gedachte, waarheid), van woorden die op zich staan. Maar het is geweldig als die ene zin onderdeel is van iets groters. Ze inspireert me als ze in een smal bed, op een zwarte stoel, in het Vondelpark, op een klein scherm, in een skilift met geblindeerde ramen iets zegt, haar zelf ontsluit.

Mensen lijken meer op een boek dan op een los atoom, dat maakt ze boeiend of saai, ze is meer dan de ene zin die ze in mijn oor fluistert. Ik ervaar een eenheid, al zegt ze morgen iets anders dan vandaag. Haar zinnen interesseren me omdat zij me interesseert. Ze geeft me haar ervaring, vergaarde wijsheid, esthetica, moraliteit. Ze stapt verbolgen in bed, windt zich op over een verhaal over een man die nare dingen met jongetjes doet.

Ik betreed haar universum.

Eén zin wil, mits het boek prikkelt, vanzelf een volgende.

Geen molecuul in mij is geïnteresseerd in het verhaal over de man die iets met jongetjes doet.

There is power in the long form.

The universe is made of stories, mensen dus.

[Kevin Kelly: Might the unit of the universal library be the sentence, paragraph, or chapter article instead of a book? It might. But there is power in the long form. A self-contained story, unified narrative, and closed argument has a strong attraction for us. There is a natural resonance that draws a network around it. We’ll unbundle books into their constituent bits and pieces and knit those into the web, but the higher-level organization of the book will be the focus of our attention – that remaining scarcity in our economy. A book is an attention unit. A fact is interesting, an idea is important, but only a story, a good argument, a well-crafted narrative is amazing, never to be forgotten. As Muriel Rukeyser said, ‘The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.’ – The inevitable, Kevin Kelly (screening)

[flardje, idee: ouder worden = werken aan je long form]

[ 29 maart 2018 – vivian gornick on writing Yes. With Fierce Attachments I felt that my writing life as an adult had ­begun. It was with this book that I learned what sort of writer I was. I always knew that I could only write out of direct experience—no abstract intellectual, I—and that my way into that experience was through the strength of feeling translated into clarified thought. Clarity became my signature word, and the lucid sentence my passion. I used to think, rather melodramatically, that Natalia Ginzburg was a great mentor to me in that way. In her essay “My Vocation,” she wrote that when she was young she thought she would be an operatic writer—extravagant, lush, full of emotional flourishes. And slowly she discovered, no, it was the exact opposite, that she, too, was writing out of direct experience, and she, too, had become devoted to the simplicity of writing in which there was no room for even a single operatic sentence. With all that, writing has been a torture for me. A pleasure, never. Now it’s not so painful — I’m used to the process, and I don’t suffer as much as I used to. But for years and years I’d feel the world filling up with mist, fog—death—seeping in through the windows, under the doorsills, the kitchen vent whenever I had the chutzpah to sit down and try to write. ]