Happy Birthday, Curtis Sittenfeld, born 23 August 1975
- What is a narrative arc if not the imposition of order on disparate events? And perhaps it is my avid reading that has been my faith all along.
- When I was writing my first two books I was also freelancing and teaching and doing other odd jobs.
- Probably I, like a lot of people, became a writer in imitation of or in homage to the books I enjoyed. When you’re so captivated by something, you think, could I do that? Hmm, let me try.
- Anyone who’s really interested in anything spends time alone.
- Fiction can be this place where we dramatise more common daily emotions or experiences because fiction should be a little more interesting than normal life. One hopes.
- I don’t really have special rituals, but I don’t try to write fiction unless I have a minimum of a few hours. For me, it takes a while to settle into a mode where I’m truly concentrating.
- My goal is to write from 10 to 1 every day. This usually means I get started around 11:15, after checking email and various web sites. But I often write long past 1, eating lunch at 2 or 3. I try not to check email or answer the phone during this time, though I don’t always succeed, as this very email shows.
- That’s the point of reading fiction — so someone else can say in a way you never would have something you recognise immediately.
- There are times I’m not in the mood to write, but I’m wary of romanticizing that. If I’m moderately not in the mood, I’ll reread what I’ve recently written to try to enter the fictional world, and I’ll give myself a manageable, very specific assignment, like writing a particular scene. If I’m really not in the mood, I’ll edit earlier work. If I’m really, really not in the mood, I’ll go read fiction by someone else. I don’t think it’s shameful to admit that some days your time can be better spent reading than writing.
- The fact is that in this day and age I don’t think any novelist can assume that a book will get attention.
Curtis Sittenfeld is an American writer. She is the best-selling author of Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, and Sisterland. Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and Glamour. Follow her on Twitter: @csittenfeld
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