Engaging in a creative process is difficult. One has to bear the pressure of being original and constantly fight the fear of being repetitive or being ‘over-inspired’ by somebody else. Ann Beattie, has been one of the few gifted stalwarts who managed this tension effectively. I came across this very interesting interview of her in the Paris Review (TPR). Generally it’s difficult to appreciate the interviews from TPR unless you know almost entire body of work of the author (Which . However, there are some interesting insights about the process of writing which I personally find quite stimulating.
What Ann describes is an almost improvised process of creation. She says that she doesn’t start writing with a definite outline in mind. That makes her writing more challenging and interesting.
Because I don’t work with an outline, writing a story is like crossing a stream, now I’m on this rock, now I’m on this rock, now I’m on this rock. In the context of a story, a fairly boring thought in a character’s head can work better than a brilliant one, and a brilliantly laid out structure can be so much worse for a story than one that is more haphazard.
A fascinating imagery. It’s interesting how she thinks of rocks in a stream. : Different and distant rocks, of characters, events, images, words and underneath a constant stream of emotions – inspiration! It also reads like a beautiful description of improvisation in any form of art. Combining different elements, jumping from one onto the other, as a part of one journey, in a constantly flowing stream of emotions, weaving a story!