Tuesday, June 16, 2015

David Grossman on his Writing Process

If you have loved David Grossman's fiction, as I have (see here on To the End of the Land), then you will appreciate this 2007 Paris Review interview with him on Arabs and Israelis, his writing process, and his life.
 In recent years, I feel I’m less and less influenced by writers. I do not see this as a good sign, by the way. I want to be influenced by writers. I think it is a sign of being open...
...the books that really matter, the books that I cannot imagine my life without having written, are the more demanding ones, like The Book of Intimate Grammar, Be My Knife, See Under: Love, and the book I’m writing now. I may occasionally like to write an entertaining book, but I take literature seriously. You’re dealing with explosives. You can change a reader’s life, and you can change—you should change, I think—your own life.

Usually a lighter book will serve as a kind of recovery for me. I devastate myself when I write a certain kind of book—there is a process of dismantling my personality. All my defense mechanisms, everything settled and functioning, all the things concealed in life break into pieces, because I need to go to the place within me that is cracked, that is fragile, that is not taken for granted. I come out of these books devastated. I don’t complain, of course. This is how books should be written. But my way to recover from this sense of total solitude is to write books that will bring me into close contact with other people. I wrote The Zigzag Kid because I had to recover from The Book of Intimate Grammar and Sleeping on a Wire.