Sunday, May 09, 2010

Rising Out of the Sea

Marilynne Robinson, winner of the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, talks about writing as a struggle to explore memory, to recreate a certain way of feeling in a certain place, and how, out of nothing, images arise that she could never have anticipated.

It’s a question of trusting that you know deep inside the things that you need to write and giving yourself the time to let these things emerge.

Robinson says:
I wrote a lot of Housekeeping in France. I wrote in a little dark room at the back of the house while trying to hide from the neighborhood children fascinated by this American family living in their midst. I was trying to remember when I was in Idaho. I hadn’t spent any time there for years, except for brief visits home. I was trying to remember the water and the air and the vegetation and so on. And at first it seemed undoable and then I began to realize that if I gave my mind time it would discover things. It knew things that I would never anticipate it knowing and so there was this whole rising out of the sea of this remembered landscape, which was a strange experience in itself because it was a discovery of mind about my mind that I would never have otherwise made.
Robinson shares these thoughts on writing in an interview that appears in The World Within, a collection of conversations with writers about their writing process.

Other writers included in the collection are Francine Prose, Sherman Alexie, Anita Desai, Roddy Doyle, Deborah Eisenberg, Ken Kesey, Tracy Kidder, George Saunders, Jim Shepard, Mark Strand, and more.

For more information on Marilynne Robinson, visit:

And to find out more about The World Within, take a look at:

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