My Paris Review Interviews: Vol. I

352 0

Repurposing Orhan Pamuk’s Introduction to Vol. II:

When I first read Faulkner Rushdie (in Languages of Truth: Essays 2003-2020) write about The Paris Review Interviews, in Istanbul Pittsburgh, in 1977 2021, I felt as elated as if I had stumbled on a sacred text. I read devoured these interviews because I wished to understand how they created their fictive worlds.

Here is my first montage of six interviews.

Interviewer

Do you write for friends?

Welty

At the time of writing, I don’t write for my friends or for myself, either; I write for it, for the pleasure of it. I used to laugh out loud sometimes when I wrote – the way P.G. Wodehouse is said to do. I write about what I know – it’s the same case for any writer.

Interviewer

What do you think makes a story funny?

Wodehouse

I think the character mostly. I don’t think a man can deliberately sit down to write a funny story unless he has got a sort of slant on life that leads to funny stories. If you take life fairly easily, then you take a humorus view of things. It’s probably because you were born that way. Lord Emsworth and his pig – I know they are funny.

Interviewer

Have you thought of writing anything more serious?

Wodehouse

No. I don’t think I’m capable writing anything but the sort of thing I do write. I couldn’t write a serious book.

Interviewer

Who are your own favorite humorists?

Wodehouse

The ones I like most are already dead – James Thurber

Interviewer

Is the act of writing easy for you?

Thurber

For me it’s mostly a question of rewriting. I write because it is so much fun.

Interviewer

Henry James was a strong influence?

Thurber

I have the reputation for having read all of Henry James. Which would argue for a misspent youth and middle age.

Interviewer

How about Mark Twain?

Thurber

Actually, I’ve never read much of him. I did buy Tom Sawyer, but dammit, I’m sorry, I’ve not got around to reading it all the way through.

Interviewer

Do you ever need the stimulus of drink to write?

Greene

No, on the contrary, I can only write when I am absolutely sober.

Interviewer

Do you find collaborations easy, in particular with directors and producers?

Greene

I like film work, even the impersonality of it. I have managed to retain a certain amount of control over my own stories. All the same, filmmaking can be distressing business for, when all is said and done, a writer’s part in making a film is relatively small.

Interviewer

Which actors do you like to work with most?

Faulkner

Humphrey Bogart is the one I’ve worked with the best. He and I worked together in To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep.

Interviewer

What happened to you between Soldier’s Pay and Sartoris– that is, what caused you to begin the Yoknapatawpha saga?

Faulkner

By temperament I’m a vagabond and a tramp. I don’t want money badly enough to work for it. With Soldier’s Pay I found out writing was fun. But I found afterward not only that each book had to have a design but the whole output or sum of an artist’s work had to have a design. Beginning with Sartoris I discovered that my little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about. I created a cosmos of my own.

Interviewer

How did you start writing?

Garcia Marquez

I used to do movie reviews. One night my friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. The first line almost knocked me off my bed. I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago.

Interviewer

Had you read Joyce at that time?

Garcia Marquez

I had never read Joyce, so I started reading Ulysses. I did learn something that was to be very useful to me in my future writing – the technique of the interior monologue. I later found this in Virginia Woolf, and I like the way she uses it better than Joyce. Although I later realized that the person who invented this interior monologue was the anonymous writer of Lazarillo de Tormes.

Interviewer

What do you read today?

Garcia Marquez

 I reread my favorites. I will read anything. I try to keep up to date, so I read fashion magazines. I learn many things that I could learn only from reading them.

Interviewer

Have you thought about making films?

Garcia Marquez

There was a time I wanted to be a film director. I studied directing in Rome. I felt that cinema was a medium that had no limitations and in which everything was possible. I came to Mexico because I wanted to work in film, not as a director but as a screenwriter. But there is a big limitation in that it’s an industrial art, a whole industry. It’s very difficult to express in cinema what you really want to say. I still think of it…

 

More to come in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply