Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Amy Tan snippet

Today, Reuters has an interview with Amy Tan.

At the end of the interview, she says, "I never talk about what a new book is about as it will leave me. There is a story in Chinese where a man goes to a magical place and is overwhelmed by the beauty and the peace. He has to leave and they tell him that if he tells anyone where this place is he will never find it again. That is the metaphor for writing. You are in a secret place and discovering it but once you tell people it is gone."

I write about this very thing in Pen on Fire, how talking about a work can cause it to evaporate. I used to talk about my works-in-progress so very much. Dangerous stuff.

Hence, shhhhhh........

5 comments:

sweetness said...

So that's been the trouble with my stuff all along!

FemGurl said...

I cannot tell anyone anything I am *planning* on doing or I lose my burning desire. Most people that I am close to do not know that I write! Further, I cannot tell anyone that I am planning to go on a diet, or planning to redecorate the house, etc. If I tell them before I take action, the flame is snuffed.

What you have described is more the way I experience dreams. I can capture some of them if I focus on them immediately upon awakening (especially by writing them down) otherwise they are hopelessly lost.

Btw, I was wondering if you have ever taken a poll on your listener's favorite "Writers on Writing" interview.

bjk said...

I believe this. I also believe if you want something bad enough and visualize it happening, it will. Ok, so I have a slight time delay.......

Catherine said...

I agree with the fact that your work seems to somehow evaporate. How do you address the question when people ask you things like "what is your novel about?" and when you give a synopsis, that only leads to more questions. So many people who aren't writers seem intrigued by us. I tend to try and move the discussion to the writing process or research I do versus the actual writing I'm doing. Of course with people closer to me I tell them I'd rather not discuss my work and then they get offended...

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

Femgurl...I should do a survey...good idea....!

and Catherine....I used to tell people what I could and now I just hem and haw and say things like, "Ah, well, you know...." or "It's about grief and redemption." Or I say, "It's difficult discussing works in progress. If I do, I won't be able to write it." They can understand this, and we move on to other things, usually along the lines of how they wish they could write, and then we talk about them, which takes the focus off me.