Friday, March 04, 2011

Performing fleas

The Rochester visit went very well, I think, but I am now so tired that I am contemplating going to bed at eight and cannot imagine what I will do in the meantime except finish reading Patrick Rothfuss's new book on my Kindle! But it is good to be home.

I thought Hanif Kureishi's essay about writing was very good:
I must give at least one interview a week, and I don't mind it much, unless the journalist calls me irritable, or diminutive. It does mean that the questions and the answers will always seem pre-packaged, although they may appear to be new to someone somewhere. If you are asked the same question repeatedly, you either sulkily refuse to answer it, or you are forced to find ways to make it appear interesting – mostly to yourself. Over a period of time, in interviews, you work up an account of yourself, then you develop it and one day you find you even believe it; finally it has become the story of your life.

The problem with being interviewed is that, on the whole, the two people are at cross-purposes. One wants to flog a few copies of their new book at full-price and escape without personal injury, while the other wants to find out something new, and perhaps shocking, about the subject, which they will then inform the world about under a lurid headline.

Fortunately both are usually disappointed. At the end, you always ask yourself, how many people are there who can only sell their product by also selling a part of themselves?

These days you can't put a cigarette paper between a writer and a performing flea.

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