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Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting bogged down

Malamud works in a way that is rigorous and scrupulous, and determined and so on, but actually produces wonderful releases and liberations and astounding sentences. I want to believe, and do believe, in inspiration – the thought that we don't know where the astounding things come from. What Malamud represents for me, whether or not it's true about him, is a kind of doggedness that I fear doesn't necessarily issue in anything. In your [biography of] Malamud it clearly works and he is a great advertisement for the virtues of letting yourself be bogged down and seeing what comes of it. [...] It's not that I want the big themes in there right from the beginning, but I do want the possibility of them and my money is on unconscious work. That doesn't mean sitting around waiting to be inspired, but it does mean there's a limit to what you can consciously contrive.
Adam Phillips in conversation with Philip Davis in a free PDF copy of The Reader magazine offered by The Reader Online.

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