Saturday, August 10, 2013
THE PARIS REVIEW: Did you find it easier or harder to write what you know?
RICK MOODY: I’m resistant to any kind of traditional wisdom with respect to craft, so I always resist the old saw about writing about what you know. Any time I’m told there’s a rule, I want to prove the opposite. Therefore, I wrote about a lot of stuff on which I was completely uninformed when I was younger. It took me a long time to see that it’s wasteful not to use material close to home. Now I’m happy to spill all of my secret knowledge on the page. This spillage confers on me the language of authority, if not outright authority. In the meantime, I think that as you get older and more sympathetic about other people, you get better at imagining. So the paradox is that I can now write pretty well about things I know nothing about (nuclear power, contemporary psychiatry, Hawthorne criticism), even as I better understand the wisdom of writing about what I know.
[Rick Moody, The Art of Fiction No. 166]

THE PARIS REVIEW: Did you find it easier or harder to write what you know?

RICK MOODY: I’m resistant to any kind of traditional wisdom with respect to craft, so I always resist the old saw about writing about what you know. Any time I’m told there’s a rule, I want to prove the opposite. Therefore, I wrote about a lot of stuff on which I was completely uninformed when I was younger. It took me a long time to see that it’s wasteful not to use material close to home. Now I’m happy to spill all of my secret knowledge on the page. This spillage confers on me the language of authority, if not outright authority. In the meantime, I think that as you get older and more sympathetic about other people, you get better at imagining. So the paradox is that I can now write pretty well about things I know nothing about (nuclear power, contemporary psychiatry, Hawthorne criticism), even as I better understand the wisdom of writing about what I know.

[Rick Moody, The Art of Fiction No. 166]

Notes

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