Skip to Content

Frantzen on Writing

25 November 2002

'I feel ambivalent about things. I feel caught between narratives everywhere I turn. Am I a Midwesterner? Am I an Easterner? My parents were totally different people in my life. Am I like my mom? Am I like my dad? Am I a social novelist, or am I sort of an old-fashioned domestic novelist? Do I feel comfortable being an isolated individual or do I crave acceptance? Do I want the comforts of being cool or the comforts of being part of the mass? ... In my initial relations with the media last fall, that gave rise to this tremendous confusion. Because, I think, although I'm not sure, that people want you to be one thing or another...'

'I have a very thick sheaf of notes. The writing goes very, very fast and is so fun and is over so quickly. It's sort of tragically short compared to the difficulty of finding the tone and the right story to tell. That's a matter of a kind of Socratic dialogue with oneself. You know right away if it doesn't work. You can tell the next morning. And I'm at the stage where nothing works. But that's how it is. In some ways it's gratifying to find that I'm not happy with most things I write.'

Jonathan Frantzen, author of The Corrections, quoted in the Washington Post