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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jennifer Egan Talks Awful Temp Jobs, Writing from the Subconscious and Her Pulitzer Prize, Abby Schreiber, Papermag

This blog is a question and answer report on an interview with Egan, the Brooklyn-based author who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for A Visit From the Goon Squad. I haven't read that book or any of her other novels, but now I'm tempted to check her out.

During the intereview with Schreiber, Egan talked about "writing from the subconscious," among other things, and advice she would give her twentysomething self.

About her writing process, Egan said:
I find that my good ideas seem to happen without my thinking too hard. My whole writing process is geared toward harnessing the subconscious -- the part that I'm not in control of. ... What I'm trying to do is write in a fairly meditative, automatic state in which I'm not really sure what I'm writing as I write it. The ideas that I have if I just sit down and think are the ideas anyone would have. There's nothing exciting about them. ...
About putting herself into her stories:
Absolutely never. I really don't use anyone I know. For me, the fun and thrill of writing is the feeling of escape and of being lifted out of my own world. If I start having reference in reality, the whole process breaks down. I'm no longer escaping anything -- I'm just revisiting. ...
As for advice to new writers, 20somethings:
I think that the number one thing that I didn't understand when I was younger was that everything would change constantly. I think there was this misconception that the moment is forever and therefore when things weren't going well, I was just in a state of active despair, and I feel like I suffered more than I needed to .... 
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