Well, absolutely. Different people take different messages from any kind of writing that we create, and most people are frankly indifferent to what we create. But every once and a while, somebody will really hate it or really love it. I’m always writing for the person who will really love it, and will feel touched, or altered, or amused, or whatever it is.
So I just think, “Reese, I trust you. I trust for you to have a vision about this story.” Because I really want the movie to be good. I think that’s how good art is made. It’s not about keeping in mind what the market wants, but you have to block other considerations. Anything else factors into it, you’re screwed.
I read something about you writing Dear Sugar late at night, everybody asleep. It was anonymous for a long time. I guess maybe I’m projecting or guessing, but does it feel like a spiritual endeavor?
I think that a lot of writing is laborious. You sit down and you’re like “Ok, I’ve got to work on this, or figure out where to begin or write this scene,” but then ultimately, if you work long enough, you do reach that place where your sense of time fades, and you become just fully engaged in what you’re doing.That’s such a pleasurable part of writing, and I don’t think I’ve ever written anything that that didn’t happen at some point, and if that doesn’t happen it usually means that I haven’t hit upon the things I’m really supposed to be writing.
I don’t want to make it sound like I start writing and then I go into a trance, but I do go into a trance of sorts eventually when I am just completely and utterly absorbed. It’s a huge part of my writing, and it has to do to with connecting to the intuitive. I’m always surprised by what comes from it. I have some ideas, I have some images, I sit down with something in my head, but it’s the writing that shows me what I have to write, and I trust my intuition a lot. To get to the intuitive place you do have to pull back from the regular hum of this world and go into that deep place.
So did the anonymity and space being Sugar gave you have any impact on Wild?
You know, the space never felt anonymous for me. The readers experience it as anonymous, I know that. But I always knew that my name would be on it someday, I always knew I would reveal my identity. So it never felt like “I’m writing this anonymously!” It was more like a short term, kind of like they don’t know who I am yet.
I finished the first draft of Wild and then I was literally the next week asked to be Sugar, and then I started writing the column while I was doing all these revisions on Wild. And so the two are kind of connected in that I was writing them at the same time.