Sunday, November 15, 2009

From an Established Writer!

John Irving wrote one of my favorite books, “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” For some reason he reminds me of one of my favorite classic novelists, William Faulkner. I bought his new book, “Last Night in Twisted River,” which I haven’t read yet and came across this interview on Big Think. Below I picked out a few highlights from the interview.

An Interview with John Irving

Question: “How often do you rewrite your books?” Mr. Irving responded saying more of his years are spent rewriting then writing the first draft. *wipes brow* Now I don’t feel so bad about my revisions taking so long. What I find interesting, and what I did with my first novel, is he writes his first drafts in long hand because it helps him slow it down—keep the pace.

Question: “What your thoughts on the future of the book?” Mr. Irving responded with if he was young and trying to publish a book today he’d probably want to shoot himself. He feels it’s much harder today to start out as a writer then back when he published his first book in the late 60s. I’ve heard this from several published writers that publishing today isn’t what it used to be years ago. I think we can safely say nothing is anymore. John Irving also said he worries about what will happen with young, good writers, but the book will survive. Hmm… does this mean I’m safe because I’m older? *smiles*

Question: “As a writer, what is your relation to America?” He responded, I’m paraphrasing, “If he is going to pick on his country, he better be here first hand instead of as an ex-patriot.” He completely won me over with that comment, since I’ve pretty much had it with hearing from foreigners about the negatives of America. Yes, we do have our faults, I’m not going to deny it, but we’ve also done plenty of great things.

Question: “What keeps you up at night?” John Irving said being a young father, from 22 to 67 he has had one of his children living with him. His principle anxieties are parental. A natural worrier. I don’t have children, but I agree that my principle anxieties are loss of family. And Mr. Irving and I have something in common, because I’m a natural worrier too.

Thank you, Mr. Irving for your storytelling and your thoughts as a writer.

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