Collaborations and Separations

on October 15, 2008 with 0 comments » |

Two excerpts today, which, apropos of nothing, somehow seem to fit together today.

First, something from the poet Jesse Ball, whose intriguing and creative novel, Samedi the Deafness (NYT review), I started reading today. As is my wont, I googled him to find out more about him and ran into this interview with him and his wife, the Irish writer Þórdís Björnsdóttir, who together have written a book of short stories "concerning the love of Vera and Linus." Here, in an interview, Ball explains what the collaborative aspects of the creative process entails.

In general, great artists are individuals, to be an artist is to gather an aesthetic that’s going to be the whole about yourself. It is a very complicated process and it can brook no admission of another person. It is a single process concerning an individual who’s often excluded from society at that point in their genesis. To find another person, especially in literature, whom you can work with is incredibly rare. In our case, it works really well, especially in the context of this book, since the object of it is to render a certain life. One of the goals when you live together is the creation of a combined life, so you could say that our book is in a way the revisiting of that in a literary sense. You should read the book as if it’s a product of one person’s imagination. Going back and forth and wondering who wrote what is not a pleasurable act.
And the second excerpt is from Hanif Kureishi's novel Intimacy (NYT review) from 1999.

I have been trying to convince myself that leaving someone isn't the worst thing you can do to them. Sombre it may be, but it doesn't have to be a tragedy. If you never left anything or anyone there would be no room for the new. Naturally, to move on is an infidelity -- to others, to the past, to old notions of oneself. Perhaps every day should contain at least one essential infidelity or necessary betrayal. It would be an optimistic, hopeful act, guaranteeing belief in the future -- a declaration that things can be not only different but better.