Honesty, Rick, I’m really glad I was writing fiction a lot of years before I started to turn the camera onto myself. It makes me think of Louis Pasteur injecting his whole body with germs. He had enough faith that he would actually survive and in fact, perhaps, triumph with the right attitude, which I think is truth seeking. There is a beautiful line from the ancient Chinese, “We poets. . .” (I’m not saying I’m a poet, but this is what the Chinese said) “We poets knock upon the silence for an answering music.” Isn’t that lovely?
RR: I think that is absolutely right for a writer to have those kinds of doubts, especially in memoir. The paradox is that you have to be aware of, you have to summon, you have to be accepting of this black doubt, but if this black doubt wins, you’re lost. You’re in the paradoxical situation of having to accept the black doubt as part of the process, but you have to also have this incredible chutzpa that keeps you going day after day. It’s so easy to get them out of balance.
AD: Richard Yates, the great novelist, said, “Whenever a writer writes autobiographically, which is literally of course what you’re doing with the memoir, you’re walking that fine line between self-pity and self-aggrandizement.” And that’s just one of the hazards. Oh lord, let’s just get a drink, Rick, for god’s sake!
"ONE CITY, ONE STORY" FEATURING RICHARD RUSSO
Reading from "The Whore's Child" | Boston Book Festival, Rabb Auditorium at Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St, Boston | October 15 @ 4 pm
"WHAT'S UP WITH MEN?" FEATURING ANDRE DUBUS III
Old South Church Sanctuary, 645 Boylston St, Boston | October 15 @ 4:30 pm
Boston Book Festival |bostonbookfest.org